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Help me figure out how to ask for dough
December 2, 2011 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Salary (re)negotiation 101: How can I figure out what to ask for, and what to avoid?

I'm a pretty good web professional (not a programmer). I've been at my company for a few years now and in the last 12 months or so, I've been asked to take on the management of a new department of our company. I'm considerably less good at the management part, but getting better.

It's salary negotiation time and my boss has asked me what salary number he should bring to his boss.

What tools or tactics can I use to help me come up with a number (or other compensation) for him? Also useful, what could I use to support this number? Data would be great, but even What Color Is Your Parachute-type ways to enumerate strengths would be useful.

I'd also love personal anecdotes from people who have been in a similar position.

Frankly, if what I got back was a whole thread full of comments like this one, that would be a fantastic thread.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
I would start with looking at where my compensation falls according to the national averages. For example, here's what the Bureau of Labor and Statistics maintain. If you know the general compensation range inside your company for the level you'll be at in the new position, that would obviously help. You would want to factor in your location (because that drives your cost of living), your responsibilities, and your impact to the company.

You should also try to find out what you be offered if you went to work for a local competitor in the same position - check out the job sites or talk with friends in the industry to try and nail down at least a general range. Then, when you have the discussion you can stress that the new salary would put you solidly in the range of both national and local competitors... which is what your company probably wants. They want to retain you, not lose you (and the investment they have made in you).

I have done this two different times, and both were succesful. Good luck!
posted by machinecraig at 8:28 AM on December 2, 2011


If you're in the tech sector, GlassDoor has some numbers on compensation for various roles (though I can't say anything about the reliability of those numbers).

Another idea is to get in touch with a headhunter who specializes in placing people in your role, tell them your situation up front (you're not leaving but are thinking about renegotiating your salary), and see what they have to say. I did this a while back; the guy was super nice, refused to take my money--we agreed instead that if and when I do move I'll call him first--and helped me identify a target that I totally hit.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 8:41 AM on December 2, 2011


If you're in the graphic design profession, AIGA puts out an annual salary guide.
posted by lockstitch at 9:06 AM on December 2, 2011


Frankly, if what I got back was a whole thread full of comments like this one, that would be a fantastic thread.

Which thread? And if you're going to be Anonymous you could at least give some more detail as to numbers, responsibilities other than "not programmer," region of the world, etc.
posted by rhizome at 10:40 AM on December 2, 2011


: "I'm considerably less good at the management part, but getting better.

It's salary negotiation time and my boss has asked me what salary number he should bring to his boss.
"

People frame negotiation in terms of BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) but what this leaves out is credibility and proof. Assuming your negotiation partner can lie, you need to consider which claims are more credible than others, typically because they're hard to fake. Largish companies have a written policy of finding at least two candidates for every job opening, and often at least four. That alone is a weak source of credibility, but if you meet each other in the waiting room, you'd have to assume they have other candidates on hand. It sounds like they want to skip the whole process of finding alternatives.

The fact that you're the only person they're considering can be good, but consider that they can always actually do the search if you ask for too much. And really, unless you have credible alternatives of your own in the form of written job offers, you're in no position for hard bargaining. So if were to come up with a written job offer, that'd be a great negotiating point in your favor.

That's a lot of work and hard on short notice though. What I'd recommend is finding out what other people in that position typically make in your region. Glass Door is pretty good, especially if you can find out what other managers in your firm make. Then add in a little bit extra because:
1) you have an existing job you're good at and this new position you're not as good at. Accepting / continuing in management is a career risk
2) starting and running a new departments is riskier -- your firm could reorganize you out of a job, or cut the dept entirely
3) managing a new department is harder than an established one; there's no culture or book of procedures to fall back on, so whoever runs the dept sets the culture for a long time.
4) they haven't done a serious candidate search. don't mention this one, but make sure your offer includes some space to give up if they start talking about hiring from outside.
posted by pwnguin at 10:28 AM on December 3, 2011


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