One of the hot topics in the news right now is pay. It’s about time, right? There are many people who have been making the same pay for years. Employers believe we’re lucky to have a job at all. We’re told we should be happy to receive two percent each year. The good news is, times are changing – for now.
The Great Resignation has caused chaos in companies as employees have started to put in their notice in large numbers. The buzz around this topic has caused a number of employees to reach out to me with questions. What should they do? How should they make the case to their current employer to pay them the rates they see in the market?
There’s no easy answer to this question. First, how you deal with negotiations of any kind at work depends on your risk profile. If you have family members who depend on you financially, such as children, you may have to be more careful about your risk taking. And, let’s face it, chances are high that you need to keep your current job until you find a new one.
You can make a case to your existing employer. A good time to have salary conversations are during your annual performance review. This is a time when you discuss the progress you have made over the last year. You’re able to showcase your work, and discuss your future career path with the company.
If you do make a case, plan your approach carefully. Rarely will demanding more pay result in anything positive. This is the case even when you’re right. Think of it this way. Your boss is like your customer. The services you provide are similar to being a consultant. When you started working for your boss, you offered your consulting services for a certain rate. To suddenly expect to offer the same services for a much higher rate may feel negative to your boss, no matter what the going rate is on the market.
The small raises that companies offer leave employees with few choices. If you see other companies paying much more than you make today, your best bet is to start looking at those companies. Companies reward new employees in order to lure them to their organizations. This is traditionally where the higher salaries are.
If you have a hunch that you’re under paid, do your homework. There are websites that share salary data – and more companies are including salaries on job postings. You can look by company and role. When you’re researching, don’t be lured into thinking that cheaper parts of the country will always pay less. Salaries vary considerably by company. You may find a job in a cheaper area that actually pays more than you make today.
Best of luck on your salary journey, and start soon. The market will not remain in the job seeker favor forever.