Mo money. no problems.
January 27, 2010 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Asking for a raise. How do I backup my request with indisputable facts?

My last raise was in the Summer of 2008. I've made $11M in billings for my company since that point (my superior specified target of $6M). 2009 was the best year (both by total billings and profit margin) of any year in it's history. My last performance review was in the high 80th percentile. My demeanor and reception within the office are both very positive.

I have to be able to show (with solid facts and sources) the following:
- How cost of living is different today than it was in Summer 2008.
- Proof that employees at other companies with my same qualifications (reflected in my city, industry, and w/same responsibility) are paid more.

Things that will not work:
- A report from
- "Raise Calculators" littered across various s job websites.
- News articles, unless those article provide solid sources with hard facts.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total)
Why do you "have to show" those data that justify your need? Who pays employees base on the employee's needs, anyway?

Instead, why not show facts that lay out how much money you have made for the company, instead, versus an average employee? On paper, pay the average employee (one who hit $6M) your current salary, and show how you have actually worth almost twice that much to the firm. In real dollars. Hard numbers. To be safe, average your last two or three years, and don't just cherry-pick your best year.

Once you have shown that you are worth, for example, 1.8 average salespeople, suggest that the firm pay you, say, 1.5 the average salesperson's salary.

That shows an overall savings for the employer that is hard to argue away, while also increasing your salary substantially.

In lieu of that, if you are confident in your own abilities going forward, negotiate a commission structure instead that is based (again) on the average salesperson producing $6M equaling the average salary, and project out from there. That way, if you are average next year, it costs the firm the same. If you are exceptional, they pay more. If you tank completely, they pay less.

Either of those approaches make more business sense than using "cost of living" or "what other people make" as argument points.
posted by rokusan at 8:46 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Cost of living raises are something that companies determine and usually everyone gets the same one, right? That's the point of it. The company uses XYZ facts to come up with it and it's not negotiable.

It seems particularly silly to say, "I could get paid more for this work at this place," because the response may very well be, "OK, you can go work there then." Or, less glibly, that's only a valuable negotiating strategy if you have an offer in-hand from said company and are asking for incentive to stay.

This comment seems to be a very systematic way to think about demonstrating the value you bring to the company and using that as your leverage.
posted by juliplease at 9:00 AM on January 27, 2010

When confronted with "well this is what I could make elsewhere" many would say "well go work there then." Unless you have an offer in hand and are looking for a counter offer (which is another topic all together), don't go that route. Instead do as rokusan suggests and explain your value to the company now, your commitment to the company, and the number you would like to see. You may also talk about things you've done to address any negative feedback from your last performance review.

If you don't get what you want, then it's time to move on. And you can use cost of living and industry standards to negotiate your starting salary at a new company.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:01 AM on January 27, 2010

Your first paragraph alone should be all you need. Bring as much backup for it as you can.

The other items on your list are not relevant. COL has risen but so has unemployment and they could say, hey, at least you have a job. What other companies are paying is also not relevant unless your salary has no parity.

Things to focus on:
--value to the company.
--increasing value to the company.
--accomplishments of note
--commendations of note (emails from superiors or customers that point out your accomplishments or thank you for a job well done)

Dump the rest.
posted by micawber at 9:14 AM on January 27, 2010

Wait, are you saying that your boss (or whoever is responsible for your salary) told you that you need proof of the two things you mentioned? Because if so, I'd suggest looking at your local or state government for information about inflation in your area and looking for job listings in your field for salary data on your position.

However, if you're just assuming that those pieces of information will help, I agree with the other posters who say that you're looking at the wrong thing. Unless your boss has asked for that information, I can almost guarantee that s/he doesn't care how much money other people make or what your cost of living is. S/he cares how much they have to pay you to get you to keep performing at a high level and whether s/he could get someone else to do the same work for less money. That means showing either that no one else can perform as well as you or that you're going to leave if you don't get your desired raise.
posted by decathecting at 10:22 AM on January 27, 2010

When confronted with "well this is what I could make elsewhere" many would say "well go work there then."

That's a ridiculous statement. Yes, there is a wrong way to approach this subject and a confrontational manner that will get this response.

However a calm discussion about what comparable positions earn is perfectly reasonable and appropriate. Because while a confrontational approach might get the above confrontational response, your employer has to deal with the market reality of what it would take to put someone else in your position.

Unfortunately there's no such thing as an indisputable fact when it comes to a comparable salary unless you have an offer in hand from somewhere else. If there's no postings for your job type in the market that's a problem in and of itself: your employer might be able to find multiple qualified individuals willing to take your job at your compensation rate.

I'd say your best approach is going to revolve around those things you can show that demonstrate the money you've personally brought in for the company, particularly if those were above and beyond expectations.
posted by phearlez at 10:30 AM on January 27, 2010

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