Can I ask for a raise?
June 9, 2014 7:27 PM   Subscribe

I've worked at my current job for 12 months. I think I've had a great year and have become more valuable to the company. I would like to ask for a raise but I don't know whether this is a reasonable request or how to ask if it is. Career specific details below.

I work as a licensed veterinary technologist at a premiere veterinary speciality hospital. I have about 1 years experience as a licensed tech and about 9 months as an unlicensed tech. I have received many verbal compliments from my supervisors this year as well as a written praise that one of the lead veterinarians sent to out hospital manager about my performance. My starting salary was/is currently $20.00. I would like to ask for $2/hr raise. I don't have very much information on how much money other technologists at my hospital make and would feel uncomfortable asking them. I do have the following information:

- The median wage of veterinary techs in the United Sates was $34,750/yr and $14.56/hr in 2012.
- The average median yearly wage for techs in my regional area is higher, coming in at $44,680/yr.
- My gross pay over the last twelve months has been about $34,500 (I netted about $24,000).
- When I was searching for jobs last year I received four offers with wages ranging from $19/hr - $
- I think the company is doing pretty well. We are hiring lots of new staff. The company is traded on the stock market but I don't really know how to interpret that information and apply it to my situation.

Can I ask for raise? If I can how should I go about doing so?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Of course you should ask for a raise. What is the worst thing that can happen? They say no.

Since you've been there for a year you should go to your supervisor and say you would like to have an annual review. During the annual review you should be prepared to discuss how well you thought this year went, some of your core accomplishments or contributions to the hospital, and where you hope to improve in the coming year. Then say that you think a raise of $x would be reasonable in light of these accomplishments. Then sit back and let them reply.

Don't ask if it's possible, and don't apologize for bringing it up. Just tell them what you feel that you deserve.
posted by joan_holloway at 7:33 PM on June 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

Asking for raises is horribly stressful and basically terrifying, especially if you haven't done it before. It's also your right as an employee, it will impact your earning power for the rest of your life, and it is an absolutely necessary life skill to have. Take it from somebody who sweated and shook and almost threw up after delivering her first rehearsed-for-weeks can-I-have-a-raise speech: it is SO WORTH DOING. And no one will EVER react by saying "how dare you ask that," seriously.

Also: they say that one reason for the wage gap is because women are socialized to be uncomfortable asking for things they deserve. Obviously you're anon, so you might not be a woman, but it's still something to think about. You're only fucking yourself by not asking.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:53 PM on June 9, 2014 [6 favorites]

A 10% raise after 1 year of good performance doesn't sound unreasonable to me.
posted by radioamy at 8:04 PM on June 9, 2014

Ask. Present your best case for yourself. I am a Human Resources professional.

Protip: While it may extend the nervous-making period, you can negotiate during a raise discussion just the same as you can during a hiring discussion. If they come back to you with a 25-cent offer, you can ask for more.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:24 PM on June 9, 2014

- The median wage of veterinary techs in the United Sates was $34,750/yr and $14.56/hr in 2012.

This is irrelevant - you are paid according to the value you bring to your employer. If you think you are a median employee, a median salary is reasonable. However, your description of yourself is above median, so you bring above-median value to your employer. As a result, you expect a higher salary.

- I think the company is doing pretty well. We are hiring lots of new staff. The company is traded on the stock market but I don't really know how to interpret that information and apply it to my situation.

This is also irrelevant - your value to your company does not depend on whether the company is doing well or not. For instance, your company doesn't pay vendors proportional to the company's earnings. Your salary is not a fringe benefit, it is compensation for value provided to the company.

- When I was searching for jobs last year I received four offers with wages ranging from $19/hr - $

This is all that's really matters. It sounds like you are over-thinking the salary negotiation process. From an employer's perspective, the ideal wage for an employee is the lower of the following two numbers:
  1. The cost it would take to hire an equivalent employee, including all training and recruiting costs.
  2. The cost it takes to keep you employed.
You have some evidence of what cost #1 is - it sounds like you are already close to the top of what equivalent employees make (although I have no idea about your job or locale). You can alter the cost of #2 by telling your employer what you need to make to stay working at their company, but they have the option of pursuing cost #1 instead.

You need to make an as objective as possible determination of your value as an employee. If you feel that value couldn't be provided by anyone else for less than $22/hour, you have a good reason to pursue a raise from your employer. Note, I didn't say "ask." If you ask for a raise, you have no leverage and your employer has no incentive to provide the raise. You need leverage to get a raise, and that means putting your job on the line. You need to be prepared for your employer to decline the request and starting to look for someone to replace you, since by approaching your employer for a raise, you are indicating you are betting that there are other employers that will pay more for your services. I'd suggest finding that other employer before you expect a raise, but I'm more cynical in my views of compensation than other people.

Finally, a small negotiation tip: make your reasoning with your employer as short and concise as possible. Ideally, make it a simple, "to continue working at XYZ Corp, I need to be paid $22/hour. Could you tell me when that will occur?" It's quite obvious when someone is nervous about making demands like that - they spend too much time justifying their demand. Good managers pick up on that and use that nervousness to decline the request.
posted by saeculorum at 8:40 PM on June 9, 2014

A couple things about raises:

1. Average salaries don't matter. Your employer doesn't care about what you deserve, they care about what you are worth to them.
2. Other offers don't matter unless you are ready to leave and take them up on those other offers. If you bring up how much you could make elsewhere, you have to be willing to follow through with leaving. They already know what the going rates are in the area, you are not going to surprise them.
3. The best way to get a raise is to demonstrate how much revenue you are bringing to the table or how much expense you are saving. For a vet tech this could be taking technician appointments like nail trims and anal gland expressions, or emphasize how quickly you are able to perform your duties, saving time and money. You could also look at how successful you are at bringing in referred clients or encouraging clients to have additional elective procedures performed (dentistries, for example). I'm not saying be a used car salesman about it, but if you can provide a solid medical case to clients when their pets could benefit from these procedures, that's a big deal for your facility. If you can point out to them that you are adding $X to their bottom line a year, it is easy to ask for some percentage of $X as a raise.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:48 PM on June 9, 2014

Asking for a raise is pretty standard and I disagree with saeculorum that asking for a raise indicates you are betting there are other employers that will pay more for your services. Most people get annual raises unless there is some kind of economic or industry downturn.

You've done your research so you know what the going rate is for your profession in your area. This is good to know but doesn't really matter to your employer because they need to evaluate your value to them. You need think about and be able to articulate your accomplishments to date and your plans for development in the coming year, that might mean learning new skills, getting a certification, doing continuing education hours, etc. You want demonstrate that you're invested in your career and in the success of the company. (This will help you negotiate next year's raise.) For this year, talk about how your skills add value and how you contribute to the company's success.
posted by shoesietart at 8:58 PM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Agree with the above, but also: if you want a $2/hr raise, request a $5/hr raise.
posted by boots at 5:28 AM on June 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

You'd probably find the book Negotiating Your Salary: How To Make $1000 a Minute helpful.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:08 AM on June 10, 2014

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