Asking for a large raise shortly after receiving a large raise
January 5, 2015 4:20 PM   Subscribe

I've been working for a company for two years. About four months ago, I was offered a very large pay increase. I was told it would be between 25-40%. At the time, I was being paid much below market and the company was having lots of trouble hiring people for my position. Unfortunately, after some internal politics, the company ended up only giving me 20%.

The company is still having trouble hiring people, and in fact lost the great majority of the key employees who worked on my project. I'm now by far the most knowledgeable person and more of the project has come under my direct responsibility.

Also, since my last raise, I've had a very positive performance review, and my new boss has mentioned several times that he likes my work.

Is it off-putting or inappropriate to ask for another large raise, possibly 20%+? The company is definitely desperate for people, and I don't want to take advantage of that. At the same time, I feel my value to them is much higher than what they're paying me, which is still below market.
posted by adgl to Work & Money (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sure ask for a raise. And look for another job, too.

If they don't have money to attract or retain quality employees, why are you staying there? Your question doesn't quite make sense. If you are worth more than this company can or wants to pay you, leave.
posted by jbenben at 4:29 PM on January 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


They will do nothing unless you ask.

If you are below market & they need you now is the best possible time to ask.

Never expect them to realize they "owe you something" and give you a large raise proactively...
posted by NoDef at 4:30 PM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Depends, are you willing to find a new job if you don't get a raise? If so, then yes, definitely ask.

If not, then I'd try to time it a little farther out - asking for another raise so soon seems somewhat crass. Perhaps wait six months from the time that your new salary kicked in?
posted by arnicae at 4:31 PM on January 5, 2015


I would definitely look for another job; these people clearly don't value you and/or can't budget for crap. If you REALLY REALLY want to still work there, you let them know you've had a competing offer at xx% more; would they like to meet it? (Trick is, you need to actually have that offer or else they may decide that no, they can't and then they let you go.)
posted by smirkette at 4:35 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't know if it's inappropriate, but why would you think they'd give you another raise after they just gave you one? Especially since a raise on the lower end implies that they either don't really think that much of you, or they simply can't afford to pay you more.

If you don't want to work there anymore, go find a new job where they pay you market rate. But that's kind of a different question from whether you should ask for another raise.
posted by Sara C. at 4:38 PM on January 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I spent several years having to go through salary negotiations with a company I worked for until one day they gave me a number and a title. The title was good, the number wasn't. I asked for it to be negotiated again. It wasn't possible. Two months later I came to them with my letter of resignation and my other job offer. I was asked how much money it would take, and I had an honest discussion about this not being the way I wanted to go through every year, that advancement was limited because of my specialties, and that this was as good a time as any to move on. They counter offered anyway, I shrugged but exit interviewed with a lot of the brass because they really wanted to keep me. Every exit interview was another pitch.

Think about this way: why can't they fill a position they need? Answer: because qualified people like you can find the work for better pay elsewhere.
posted by Nanukthedog at 4:38 PM on January 5, 2015 [26 favorites]


Nthing find another job. The reason they can't attract people is because they're not paying enough. That's always the reason. That means there are jobs out there that DO pay enough, so go find one of those and leave these nickel and dime chumps to their tiddlywinks.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:54 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Employers pay a below market rate because they are betting that more people will stay put of intertia than leave for better pay. Any extra costs they have to pay hiring new people (probably at higher salaries) they figure will be more than made up by the money they save on the employees that stick around.

Clearly, your company is losing that bet, but like a gambling addict, they will keep wagering the company on their underpaying strategy. The answer is to leave for a company that doesn't have a destructive gambling problem.
posted by deanc at 4:59 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Lotta doomsday in this thread. I wouldn't have any problem asking, politely, for another raise. The fact that they already gave you a 20% raise means they have no problem giving giant jumps in pay. Go for it!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:00 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Is it off-putting or inappropriate to ask for another large raise, possibly 20%+? The company is definitely desperate for people, and I don't want to take advantage of that.

It's 'off-putting' for any employer to have an employee ask for a raise. Is it inappropriate? Nope. Look, they are taking advantage of you (giving you less than they promised, paying below market rates), don't feel guilty for 'taking advantage' of them.

The fact that more of the project has come under your responsibility means that you are worth more to the company when they offered you 25%-40% raise. I'd ask for another 20%, and look for another job if they don't give it to you. It was inappropriate of them to promise you X and then deliver Y, and they shouldn't be rewarded for that.
posted by el io at 5:14 PM on January 5, 2015


Yes, ask for the raise. They need you and they must know they aren't paying you enough.

The company is still having trouble hiring people, and in fact lost the great majority of the key employees who worked on my project. I'm now by far the most knowledgeable person and more of the project has come under my direct responsibility.

So they haven't rehired the people they lost, then? This sounds like you are now doing your previous work + part or all of the work of the people who left. Maybe if you can quantify that it will help you frame it in a way that will be easier for them to justify. Since internal politics were at play in your last raise, there must be someone(s) who wants to give you more and some people who don't. Can you help make the case for whoever is your advocate? Show that they are getting 1.5 employees' worth of value out of you (or whatever the case may be).

I understand the advice to get another job instead, but who knows, maybe you like this job and want to stay if they can pay you more appropriately.
posted by aka burlap at 6:00 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ask for a raise, AND start looking around. They don't value their people, and that is not going to change even if they throw some more money your way.
posted by GeeEmm at 6:30 PM on January 5, 2015


It doesn't have to be doomsday-level drama, but really, the day that they decided to give you less than you were promised they were giving you a reason to hand in your resignation at any time. They may not admit it, but they definitely knew this. Either they rationally chose a number that they thought they could afford that would still keep you -- or the earlier promises were hooey and they knew that, and simply by jerking you around they deserve to have you leave.

Timing can now be of your choosing. I would start the job search first. It can be very helpful to have a negotiation when you have a competing offer in hand, as I'm sure you realize. Just as important, you can determine whether your valuation of yourself is realistic. But basically you can also interview companies with an eye to whether they will treat you fairly (because yes, when you interview the process is two-way). Ultimately, I think that looking for another job can help you break out of the psychological box you've locked yourself in with your employer, because really, it isn't just you and them, it's you and them and everyone else who might hire you.
posted by dhartung at 6:52 PM on January 5, 2015


Depending on the personalities involved, whenever someone praises you for your work in the meantime of all these other strategies, chide them about being underpaid, the number of peoples' work you're doing, and/or that they last gave you a raise at the bottom end of what they estimated you would get. Gallows/locker-room humor that signals the you're aware of the bigger picture and aren't going to fall for them playing boss games like, "it's all I'm approved for" piggy-in-the-middle.
posted by rhizome at 7:21 PM on January 5, 2015


If they were willing to give your a 40% raise, they wouldn't have given you a 20% raise. Go ahead and ask if you want, but also be looking for other jobs. When they say no, you'll be a position where you deal with it or look for what you think you deserve. I think you can say you feel you've shown you deserved that initial 40% raise that had been discussed and you're looking for that. Have clear reasons, point to benchmarks, and be firm.
posted by AppleTurnover at 8:42 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to comment that, given the circumstances you describe, if I were your employer, and you asked for another raise? I would take that as a sign that you were looking for a new job. Maybe you don't care, and maybe it doesn't even matter - but it is something to consider.
posted by doctor tough love at 10:19 PM on January 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


They either should already know it, or already do know it and are testing him to see if he's OK getting shorted on the raise. They should at least have mentioned the discrepancy (if in fact they didn't).
posted by rhizome at 11:34 PM on January 5, 2015


The company is definitely desperate for people, and I don't want to take advantage of that.

No, in these circumstances, that's exactly what you want to do! Especially when "I feel my value to them is much higher than what they're paying me, which is still below market."

But from the sound of it I'd also second the advice to try and get a potential new job in your back pocket just in case you need it. It sounds like it should be do-able for someone in your position.
posted by Drexen at 5:10 AM on January 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Tell them you are ready for the second instalment of that raise they promised you back then, and that getting it, especially now that you have proven your value, is the price of sticking around.

But definitely start looking at your options.
posted by rpfields at 7:16 AM on January 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


The "market rate" isn't worth anything if you don't test the market. Start looking.
posted by msittig at 2:37 PM on January 6, 2015


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