Do I ask for a raise?
March 4, 2014 8:31 PM   Subscribe

Do I ask for a raise? My long-term contract is being renewed for the second time, and for the second time on the "same terms", i.e. no increase in my hourly rate. I'm torn between asking for a raise because "I should" - my role and responsibilities have expanded greatly over time - and accepting the offer because, well, I'm not going to leave over this and based on my cursory knowledge of similar positions elsewhere I'm still paid competitively. And I don't want to make a fuss.

More details:
-A full-time employee in a position equivalent to mine would make what works out to a lower annual salary, because my hourly puts me above the position's pay grade. Then again I have no benefits, although I'm in Canada so essential healthcare is covered (but not things like prescription drugs, disability, dental, etc.).

-I've talked to my team lead about this, who's indicated that at my current rate I make more than anyone else on the team (who are mostly full-time employees), a claim I necessarily take with a grain of salt. Team Lead also indicated that this rankles Senior Team Lead, who doesn't like how much I make.

-Overall, the work environment is pretty good.

Am I just giving in if I accept the offer? I feel kind of like I don't want to create stress/confrontation. Should I just accept and start looking for my next move?
posted by scribbler to Work & Money (16 answers total)
"I'm still paid competitively"

I would consider this the answer... if you don't accept the offer, you're not going to find something that pays MORE.
posted by HuronBob at 8:34 PM on March 4, 2014 [4 favorites]

You can ask for a raise without giving an ultimatum. You calmly and assertively outline why you think you deserve a raise (increase in responsibilities, did x for organization, saved y money, whatever) and how much you'd like.
posted by radioamy at 8:35 PM on March 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I would not. I would wait until you need/want one. For example, you have a competing offer and want them to up their bid. It sells a lot better asking for a raise the longer you go without. I get that you have had several long term contracts, but you are still being paid competitively.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:41 PM on March 4, 2014

I would if I were you. Your justification is, you have much more experience now, you do the job better and more efficiently, you are more productive. You deserve a raise which reflects the increased value you bring to the role.

Even if they say no (and I bet they won't), you'll still feel better for at least having asked.
posted by mono blanco at 8:54 PM on March 4, 2014

Three questions or so ago, you asked the following:

Not a doormat
How can I, a quiet, late-20's woman, be more assertive at work?

This is how.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 9:00 PM on March 4, 2014 [13 favorites]

You can ask for a raise without giving an ultimatum.

Except you really can't. The contract is up for renewal, right? Since this is Canada I'm assuming it's at least somewhat binding.

Suppose you say, "You offered me X. But I want X+10."

What if they "No, it's X or nothing?" At that point you can either meekly take X, or quit with no new job lined up. There's also the outside possibility they get so offended they rescind the offer altogether. That shouldn't happen, but you mentioned one person is already (allegedly) aware of and upset about how much you're paid.

I wouldn't think of it in terms of "giving in;" you don't want it to turn into some kind of personal test where you find yourself unable to back down because of pride. I understand the feeling, but it's just business, and it's best to keep your emotions as divorced as possible. Unfortunately the best way to get more money tends to be to get a better offer, and either have your current employer match it, or walk and take the offer if they won't. I'm not sure how that works in re: to contracts or if they can even be amended once you sign them.

You shouldn't ever be adverse to "making a fuss" to get what you deserve, but it's hard to enter into a serious negotiation unless you're prepared to exercise your only leverage, which in this case is quitting. I won't say "don't do it," but tread carefully and think about what you'll do if they call your bluff.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:15 PM on March 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

If nothing else, there is the inflation rate for the canadian dollar to consider. In effect they are paying you less now.

Your pay is your compensation for the work you. You do more now then you did, your work is of greater value, they should compensate you appropriately.
posted by gryftir at 1:14 AM on March 5, 2014

Do I ask for a raise? Yes. The answer is always yes.
posted by devnull at 4:13 AM on March 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

-A full-time employee in a position equivalent to mine would make what works out to a lower annual salary, because my hourly puts me above the position's pay grade. Then again I have no benefits, although I'm in Canada so essential healthcare is covered (but not things like prescription drugs, disability, dental, etc.).

-I've talked to my team lead about this, who's indicated that at my current rate I make more than anyone else on the team

I'm not sure how income taxation works in Canada, but in the U.S. there's necessarily a big difference between the hourly rates paid to employees and contractors because contractors have to pay significant taxes that employees do not. Not to mention benefits, of course. How does your rate compare after you adjust for any additional taxes and for the cost of benefits (including vacation / paid time off) given to employees? If the team leads are comparing your hourly rate directly to employees' salaries, they are talking about this honestly.
posted by jon1270 at 4:46 AM on March 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Dang, missed the edit window.

...they are NOT talking about this honestly.
posted by jon1270 at 4:53 AM on March 5, 2014

I'd feel better able to answer the question if I knew the period of the contract involved, but the fact is that you're committing to a raise while signing away your potential to ask for a raise at a later date. If this is the second renewal, you've been getting paid the same for twice the period already, and your expenses (and value to the company, since you've been with them gaining experience) has gone up. Even if you're lukewarm about asking for a raise, now do you feel about the fact that you can't ask for another one until another period passes, if they offer you the job again.

Direct comparisons to your coworkers isn't really accurate. They're getting salary + non-salary benefits. You're getting salary. You may be able to estimate the pay-equivalent value of those benefits with the help of HR, or some public resource. On an even playing field, it's well possible you're in the middle of the pack or below them in terms of compensation. Compensation is more than just a salary number, especially, as noted above, after taxes.

Everyone enjoys the ease of complete inertia, here, but only the company is benefitting from inertia in real terms.
posted by Sunburnt at 4:57 AM on March 5, 2014

I think you should ask for a raise- your role and responsibilities have increased, so it makes sense that your pay would as well. At minimum a small increase to reflect inflation/cost of living is warranted. You'll never get a raise without asking for one.
posted by emd3737 at 8:40 AM on March 5, 2014

Try something like this out for size:

Hello [boss], I'm very glad to be offered this contract position again, as I enjoy both the job, as well as continuing to contribute and expand my responsibilities. I want you to know that I plan on accepting, as firm has provided me with the work and atmosphere I enjoy. At the same time, I believe a raise--as well as a system for providing me incentives in the future--would benefit us both. This way I can continue to focus my efforts on working at firm, and in exchange we will be able to tighten our business relationship into one that can continue to grow in the long-run.

Okay, stepping back for a second, these things always sound so formal. And I know when walking into a bosses office a rehearsed spiel suddenly feels fake. But I would actually encourage you to stick to the script. Because in the end this is an audition. I'm sure some sales-experts could start by talking about football and the family, and smooth-talk into a raise. But that doesn't sound like it matches your personality. And ultimately, your goal here is to explain why this is good for both of you, not to come across as suave. Also notice how I worded it in a way that even if he declines, he won't think you're leaving. But that if he accepts, he strengthens your relationship. That's a good way to frame it, I believe.

PS: Are you happy working on a contract? If you would rather be a true full-time employee, you could ask for that as well. Say something like "While I feel I"m getting along great here, there is always a concern that I won't be resigned, or that I could be let go easily. I want to continue to invest my efforts into succeeding in this position, and I worry sometimes that my hard work might fizzle out if internal issues result in cutting back contractors."

Good luck!

Remember, there is nothing wrong with asking. We all work for money. Men tend to have an easier time with this concept, whereas women--on average--feel guilty or rude if they 'ask for more.' But so long as you are professional and don't set ultimatums (that you aren't willing to follow up on), no one will blame you.
posted by jjmoney at 9:30 AM on March 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

You shouldn't feel weird or have any shame about negotitating for more money.

"Over all, I'm happy with the contract and I believe that an increase in my compensation is in order. This would cover my increased responsibilities, X, Y and Z, as well as a cost of living adjustment."

They may whinge and whine about it, and you can say, "I believe that this is a fair request, would you prefer to bring me on full-time with benefits?"

There is probably a reason they want to keep you as a contractor, and not an employee. They also don't want to go through the hassle of back filling your job, or training someone new, or any of that hoo-ha.

So this is a win-win for both of you.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:00 AM on March 5, 2014

Let them say 'no'; don't do it for them.
posted by flimflam at 10:16 AM on March 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

What is the relationship of team lead (who you already asked) to the person deciding the raises? If team lead is almost a manager and he was negative on the idea (and said that Senior Team Lead is even more negative), then I would either not ask or just ask one time with convincing facts & numbers and very polite tone of voice. If team lead is more of a peer and just leading the project but not the people side, then forget what he said, and ask with facts / numbers and medium forcefulness.
posted by cheesecake at 11:09 AM on March 5, 2014

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