This is the year Lisa (last name withheld) will ask for a raise. Two people in the marketing department where she works in Union, NJ, quit last month and she doesn’t think her employer can afford to lose her.
“Besides, they owe me a big one,” she said, explaining that her raises have been at or below 3 percent for each of the six years that she has worked there. “Last year I even got promoted, but my increase was only 2 percent. They said it would have been more, but for COVID. If they really think I’m doing such a great job, they should pay me a great salary. It’s only fair,” said the 33-year-old.
The consensus among compensation experts is that this is the time to speak up.
“I don’t know if there’s ever been a time when employees have felt so empowered to use their voices,” said David Turetsky, vice president of consulting at Salary.com.
Amber Ferrari, marketing manager, communications and sales support at Jobvite, a company that helps employers attract and retain talent, agreed. “The time is ripe to negotiate your salary,” she said. “Companies want to sustain their culture, which is harder to do when many workers leave.”
Experts also said that the market for both employees and job-seekers is unusually competitive. “I’ve never seen businesses advertise for employees on television saying things like, ‘Come work for us, we offer competitive pay and great benefits,'” said Turetsky.
Fast food chains like Chipotle and McDonald’s have been vocal about providing higher pay or better perks, aiming to retain employees and lure potential hires. Bank of America raised analyst pay by $10,000, and salaries of associates and vice presidents by $20,000.
It’s likely that management at these companies knew what some other employers have yet to learn. “If one company isn’t offering [workers] what they want, another firm may be willing to,” said Rich Deosingh, district president for Robert Half New York.
And for employers who plan to offer 3 or 4 percent increases in 2022, that’s not enough, according to Ben Cook, CEO of Riva, a Midtown-based salary negotiation consultancy.
“Any employee who gets less than a 6.8 percent raise this year is essentially receiving a pay cut,” he said, referring to the current rate of inflation.
Cook also said that the difference in earnings between employees who ask for pay increases compared to those who don’t is about $1 million during the course of a career.
So if you don’t get a big raise in 2022, ask for it. Here’s how to do it, according to experts.
Throw fear out the window
“Some workers worry that they’ll look like money grubbers when they ask for fair pay,” said Cook. But, compensation negotiations aren’t about you or your character — they are business conversations during which you ask your employer to pay you according to the value you bring to the company. “There’s nothing wrong with asking for more,” said Brian Cristiano, CEO of Bold Worldwide, an ad agency and business solutions firm based in the Financial District.
Make a brag list
“List your accomplishments, especially where you went beyond your job description and exceeded expectations,” said Cristiano. “Did you help the company make more money, or save more money than expected?” he asked. “If you accomplish more than your job requires, you deserve a promotion or to be paid more.”
Do your homework
Use a Web site like Salary.com to research what others earn who are doing a job like yours, relative to the cost of living in or near your location. This can be used to calculate your value based on your work experience and skill set. “The educated consumer is in the best position to negotiate,” said Turetsky.
Discover the decision maker
Identify the individual who will decide whether you will get a raise or not. “If it’s your boss’s boss, you will want to prepare to get your manager onboard as an ally,” said Cook.
Get a meeting in the books
“Schedule time for an open, honest discussion with your boss,” Deosingh said. You’ll want to allow at least 30 minutes for the conversation, be the one who sends the calendar invite and let your manager know why you are meeting so they have time to prepare.
Make sure the timing is right
“The first thing you should ask your manager is whether they are in a good mood,” said Turetsky. If they say no, reschedule. You don’t want your manager to be more interested in getting you out the door than listening to you.
Don’t make it personal
This is a business meeting. “Don’t start the conversation with the family or the Mets,” said Turetsky. “Get straight to the reason you’re there.”
Have your answers ready
“I need more money” is not a reason for a raise. “Ask to be paid for what you do,” said Turetsky. Deliver your raise request as a win-win for you and your employer, so it makes sense and feels good to give you a raise. Have a number for the raise you’re looking for, too, so that you’ll have a well-considered answer when asked.
Chances are good that you won’t be given a “yes” or told what a raise might look like right away, as it takes time to get approval. Cook estimates it takes an average of three weeks for a raise to be delivered.
Deal with rejection professionally
Don’t threaten to quit if you are immediately turned down due to tight budgets, or the company’s finances. Instead, “ask what you need to do to get paid more,” said Turetsky. Set goals with your manager and keep track of your accomplishments. That way, when it’s time to negotiate a pay raise again, you’ll be ready.