A client told me he was considering asking for a raise. My concern was that his company was struggling and his position was not secure. These are difficult economic times, but not all sectors are suffering equally and not all businesses, even in downtrodden industries, are doing badly. If you are thinking that it is time for a raise, consider some guidelines.
• Know your employer: Research your company’s financial situation so that you know what is possible in light of fiscal realities and whether the time is right.
• Know your industry: Evaluate your own situation in light of industry norms. If you are underpaid compared to people who do the same job for different employers, that fact can be part of your case for higher pay. Remember, though, that pay sometimes differs by location, so keep your data as local as possible.
• Know yourself: Take time to answer the question that is fundamental to your rate of pay: Why am I more valuable to the company than the rewards I now receive? Remember that this is not about your needs or wants. Focus on the ways in which increased compensation is in your company's interest.
• Know your coworkers: In addition to considering your pay within your industry, look at your pay within your company.
• Know the details: The best case you can make will be founded on specific examples of your value. Increased sales, efficiency or customer satisfaction will help your case, especially if those factors can be quantified.
• Know when the time is right: In addition to investigating your company’s current financial condition, your decision may hinge on timing. If you have just accomplished something notable, consider asking while the accomplishment is fresh in everyone’s minds. If you have not been on the job for long or if company morale is suffering, consider waiting for a more auspicious moment.