By Carrie Dagenhard (Tech Writer)
As an IT professional, you understand very well that asking for a raise can be nerve-wracking. On the one hand, you know you’re providing a lot of value to your employer and deserve commensurate compensation. But on the other hand, there’s always the chance you’ll be turned down, which can hurt your professional pride and zap your motivation.
Fortunately, IT professionals have a lot of leverage right now. Businesses are rapidly increasing their reliance on digital infrastructure, but many are struggling to find and retain the talent to manage it all. According to the Motion Recruitment 2022 Tech Salary Guide, remote IT jobs grew 357% in 2021, while salaries across major tech hubs increased 9.5%.
In other words, there’s never been a better time to ask for a pay increase. Here are some tips to help you determine the best time and strategy for your raise request:
Five Signs It’s Time To Ask For A Raise
Even if you feel confident your employer will give you a raise, timing your request can be tricky. After all, you want to make the best possible case to net the highest possible salary jump, so it’s crucial you plan the conversation for the right moment.
Here are five signs it’s the right time to ask for a raise:
Your Workload Has Increased
If you’ve recently taken on more responsibilities, you deserve compensation for those additional duties. Being assigned more complex tasks or a heavier workload is a vote of confidence from your manager and demonstrates their belief in your capabilities. And the best way to reward your additional contributions is with a larger paycheck.
The Cost Of Living Has Increased
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the average change in prices paid for consumer goods and services in urban areas. And monitoring the CPI for your region is a good way to gauge the change in the local cost of living. Even if nothing has changed about your job or performance, your employer should ensure your pay compensates for inflation and your city’s cost of living.
You Just Had A Big Win
Whether you brought a big project over the finish line early or under budget, spearheaded an important implementation initiative, closed a record number of help desk tickets, or solved a significant problem, you deserve a pay bump. Immediately after an impressive win is an excellent time to request a raise.
You’ve Grown Your Skillset
When you expand your technical proficiencies and expertise, you provide more value to the company. And with the growing tech skills gap, growing your talent saves the company from having to find it elsewhere. If you’ve recently earned a new certification or added another capability to your IT repertoire, you’re in a great position to ask for a salary increase.
Your Current Salary Is Lower Than The Average
Every professional should know their current market value. Be sure to track the average salary for your role and geographic location using tools like Glassdoor or Salary.com. If your salary drops below the average, it’s an excellent opportunity to ask for a bump.
Timing your request for one of these high-leverage moments will increase your chances of getting the number you want without too much back-and-forth.
How To Negotiate A Raise
In many ways, asking for a raise is like making a sale — and the product you’re selling is your value to the organization. Any successful salesperson will tell you that, when it comes to negotiations, a little preparation goes a long way.
Here are five things you should do when entering a salary negotiation:
Know Your Worth
Gather salary data from multiple sources and consider any unique talents or skills you bring to the table that might further increase your value.
Cite Facts And Figures
In addition to salary estimates and cost of living data, find ways to quantify your achievements. For example, how have you contributed to your team's or organizational goals like cutting operational expenses or increasing the average time to resolution on tickets? Or perhaps you implemented professional automation software that’s saved your company thousands.
Compile a list of your most outstanding achievements over the past six to twelve months and examples of when you went above and beyond the duties listed in your job description.
Consider Alternative Options
If you can’t get the salary increase you want due to budget constraints, take a moment to identify a few things you would take instead. For example, you might suggest quarterly bonuses, increased vacation time, company stock, or an investment in your continued education.
Keep A Cool Head
It’s easy to get heated when you’re passionate about something, but strive to keep your emotions in check. Remember that, no matter the outcome of this conversation, you still have options.
What To Do If You Don’t Get a Raise
Of course, there’s always a chance your employer will say “no.” And if that happens, you have a few choices:
Consider Their Reasons And Act Accordingly
What is your employer’s reason for turning down your request? For example, a company might refuse a raise because they don’t have the resources to afford pay increases, or you’re already paid above the market rate. If you’re not clear on the reason, ask them to explain.
Ask For A Roadmap And Follow It Closely
If your manager feels you haven’t yet earned an increase or need to work on your performance, ask them to help you put together a plan with clear milestones and goals. This way, you know exactly what you need to do to earn a raise, and you can track and report your progress.
Hit The Job Market And Find A Better Opportunity
The Great Resignation is still in full swing, and job seekers still have the upper hand. If your employer isn’t willing to give you the compensation you deserve, you’ll likely find several other companies that will. Take your time, do your research, and carefully evaluate all job opportunities. Remember that while the promise of a bigger salary can be a great incentive to jump ship, plenty of other factors will determine whether you’ll be happy in a job long-term.
If you’re accustomed to getting automatic pay increases after annual reviews, approaching your employer for a raise can be uncomfortable. However, by timing the conversation right and using these negotiation tips, you’ll be well on your way to earning the higher salary you deserve.