Compensation - what is a good raise %?
January 21, 2014 4:21 PM   Subscribe

I am a young (>5 years out of college) female professional working at a tech company. We are a small company (>200 FTEs) and exist on funding and capital (not public or profitable yet). I am the best performer in my group and a very high performer (top 20% of employees, as told to me by HR and Executives). I just got a raise from $85,000 to $93,000 for a total of a 6% raise. I also got some equity as well. I am happy with my salary (and was happy already), but I honestly have no idea if I should negotiate or ask for more. One on hand I feel pressured to assert myself to exercise negotiation skills, especially as a woman; on the other hand, I am not a very material person, spend very little, and am very happy with my day to day quality of life. I don't really need the money. My question is - is 6% competitive? I know that I am already well paid for a young professional, especially for someone who has not had a lot of experience. I'm pretty happy. I just have no idea what the benchmarks are or what I should be asking for / expecting.
posted by pando11 to Work & Money (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I will let others with broader experience address your main question but I wanted to point out that a raise of $8,000 on a $85,000 salary comes to around 9.5%, not 6%.
posted by enn at 4:26 PM on January 21, 2014 [3 favorites]

I am also a woman in tech.

Have you already gotten an inflation-adjustment raise? Because most professionals get a de facto 2%-5% cost of living adjustment every year. If you did not get that, then 6% is not really a raise. (And if you have not been getting this for several years, you should have negotiated for it.)

Also, it depends on where you are and what a competitive salary is for your job at your location. Look on Glassdoor for a rough idea, if you don't know. If you're in Silicon Valley, for instance, $93k is not a lot for an experienced, "very high performer" for a public company. (Especially if that includes bonuses and stocks.) I don't know much about private companies.
posted by ethidda at 4:29 PM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

You mean less than 5 years out of college and fewer than 200 employees, or greater than 5 years and more than 200 employees?
I mean, honestly, it depends on your role and your title and the industry average for your position as much as anything else. Also, how much equity you got. There's no way to answer this question without that context. On the face of it it seems like a fine raise, almost 10% which is generally pretty good.
posted by ch1x0r at 4:29 PM on January 21, 2014

Thanks for the responses guys.

@enn - thanks for catching.

@ethidda - nope. This is my raise, all inclusive. I considered inflation adjustment. Given that it's more around 9.5% raise, I am getting around a 5% raise. I looked on GlassDoor and it seems below market average.

@ch1xor yes, under five years and under 200 employees. equity i'm not really paying attention to honestly because a liquidation event is not happening for a while.
posted by pando11 at 4:38 PM on January 21, 2014

Oh, I forgot to mention (and this is a big piece) - I got a bonus for the year. 8k - so that does definitely factor into it as well.
posted by pando11 at 4:39 PM on January 21, 2014

The amount of your *raise* is mostly irrelevant. The amount you are paid makes a lot more difference. I once received a 33% raise, from $75-100k, when $100k was still below average for my position at the time, so it was a big raise but still a low amount of compensation (in the silicon valley software industry).

Where are you located? What is your field? You will make more as a corporate lawyer than as a corporate HR person, even if both positions are "in a tech company". I know a fair amount about silicon valley engineering salaries, but neither of those might apply to you.

Regardless, the raise is mostly immaterial, the current level of compensation is what you should care about.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 4:42 PM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Kinda hard to judge without knowing what position you're in. There are lots of different jobs in tech. Are you a software engineer? A sales person? A marketer? Admin? Be helpful to know.
posted by clone boulevard at 4:43 PM on January 21, 2014

I am a Product Marketing Manager.
posted by pando11 at 4:44 PM on January 21, 2014

In Silicon Valley.
posted by pando11 at 4:44 PM on January 21, 2014

Things to think about: how does it stack up, percentage-wise, against your other years? Do you have anyone else at work that you can ask what their percentage was? Have you gotten promoted to a higher level or title recently? Keep in mind, if you're in the top 20%, that means at least 40 people at your company are at your performance or better. If you got an offer from another company for 5% more, would you leave your present job?

IMO, it's a good raise and bonus. If you're happy with it, why fuss? Negotiate when you change jobs or companies.
posted by clone boulevard at 4:52 PM on January 21, 2014

Check salary for similar jobs in your area on glassdoor or It sounds slightly low to me, though actually, depending on your bonus, you might be right in range. Bonus usually factors into the whole compensation package.

You may also be able to ask your HR where you are in the salary range for the position. This isn't confidential (or, doesn't have to be.)
posted by rosa at 5:12 PM on January 21, 2014

That seems to me to be a decent salary; I know mid-level developers in SF who are making $95,000, but someone in Product Marketing would be able to say whether that's at the industry standard. If you're at a startup and getting equity your salary might be a little lower than the industry standard, though; that's how the software lottery works.

If you are happy with the money, have you considered negotiating for something else that would improve your quality of life? Money isn't the only thing you can ask for. More vacation days, flexible work arrangements, the ability to work on a pet project--these are all things that you can negotiate for if you've demonstrated your value. I even had a friend negotiate with his company to get his insurance paid for 100%, which was like a tax-free raise.
posted by Colonel_Chappy at 6:05 PM on January 21, 2014

overall inflation has been relatively low the past few years, but silicon valley could have a much higher inflation.

i think asking for a higher raise just after getting one is not a good idea. you should start interviewing for other jobs. it's the best way to figure out what salary ranges are.
posted by cupcake1337 at 7:38 PM on January 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're happy with your job, I would suggest you sit down with your supervisor and ask him/her the same question you just asked us. I wish more people who reported to me did this...if you're not sure, just ask.

Think about it...what is the downside to "asking"? They won't fire you for asking a fact just the opposite; you'll score points for not playing "games". Looking up data at various websites...sitting at your desk with a calculator...looking for another job for possible leverage...waste of your time and your company's.

Start out with this: "I'm not very good at playing games, so I don't play. I just want you to be honest with me. Am I being taken advantage of? I know you're happy with my performance, so are there other people here not performing as well, but making more money?"
posted by MoJoPokeyBlue at 8:22 PM on January 21, 2014 [2 favorites]

I agree with tylerkaraszewski, if the end number is still below market value, the % of the raise does not matter, only after you hit the median does that come into play.

If you are the employee you state you are, most companies should have no problem being negotiated for market wage, they are at the disadvantage, you can go anywhere else and come out ahead (baring the equity stake...).

I've quit paying attention and had surprise raises because the market changed significantly and I had not thought to ask... smart manager, I could have looked up and seen myself being 'underpaid' and simply left.
posted by anthroprose at 9:45 PM on January 21, 2014

You'll know for sure if you could get a higher salary by interviewing with a competitor. You don't have to take the offer, of course.
posted by jewzilla at 10:03 PM on January 21, 2014

While I can only speak for software engineers in the same area, $101k total comp (plus equity, worth ... ?) isn't crazy low. However, especially since you guys are not in the bare-bones startup phase and Glassdoor had a higher average, you could probably get a bit more.

Your company will pay what you're worth to them, and it sounds like there's some wiggle room for a high performer.
posted by andrewconner at 7:41 AM on January 22, 2014

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