Negotiating at a promotion?
March 8, 2015 7:05 AM   Subscribe

I've been told unofficially that I will be getting a bump up the ladder at work. Basically, the guy who reviews my work is leaving, and so I will be moving up to take his position. I have never received a promotion in my working life and so I want to know how to proceed.

My company has a strange reporting structure, so I'll try to explain as best I can: I report to Manager A, but Manager B reviews a significant amount of my work. Manager A has told me that Manager B will be leaving the company on a certain date; this is a definite thing that will happen, but right now it is only known to a small number of people. When Manager B does leave, I'm going to be moving up in the company to take over some of his duties.

Here's what I am wondering:

1) Can I negotiate what kind of a raise will come with this promotion? I have been doing some research and currently I receive about the median salary for somebody with my job. I actually think I am underpaid, because of the other duties I've added on to my role as well as my educational background and specific experience. I was also recently offered a job that's about the same level of responsibility I have now with a salary range that was $10 - $20K higher than what I'm making. (I didn't take it for a few reasons, one being that I felt like I there would be more opportunity for advancement where I am now. I don't necessarily want to bring that up, though, because I don't want to introduce any concern on my current employer's part that I am thinking of leaving. I applied for this other job partially because I suspected I was worth more than I am getting now and wanted to confirm it.)

2) If I can negotiate a raise, should I bring it up now, or wait until I get some kind of official notice? (I suspect my promotion will be announced among a number of others in about a month's time.)

3) This is a small company and, as I said, a lot of what I do is new to them. Would it be appropriate to ask to have some say in what my new title would be? (Right now, I'm associate widget maker and would become widget maker, but I do much more than make widgets.)

4) What's realistic to shoot for here? I think I'm underpaid by about $10,000, based on my research. That seems like a massive bump, though (as nice as it would be). I want to be fair; I like the people I work for and while I think I am a bit indispensable in the office, it isn't as though I have another offer in hand anymore. That said, I also want to be fair to myself.

Thanks for any advice. I used to be an adjunct so I've never actually been in a position where I have been really eligible for a promotion.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (2 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
1 -- Yes. Talk to Manager A about it immediately, but couch it in wanting more overall details of the position:
"Hey, over the weekend I did some thinking about that promotion you told me about, and I'd like to know what it entails. Is there a formal job description? Who would I report to? What's the salary?" etc.

2 -- Do it now. If you wait for the formal announcement, someone might think you were trying to hold them hostage; if you do it now, no one will hold it against you.

3 -- Absolutely. That's a great thing to include in your "what it entails..." questions from above.

4 -- "Realistic" varies wildly at small companies. Present your research about what other people in your position and field are making, then ask for the $10K bump. If they balk, ask what Manager B made. Then consider that and what more you add above what Manager B did, and make a counter-counteroffer. But there's no way they'll fire you or take away the promotion for asking.
posted by Etrigan at 7:47 AM on March 8, 2015

Congratulations on the upcoming promotion! You should absolutely make an effort to negotiate a new salary with your new title.

If Manager A indicated you two will have a follow-up meeting to discuss particulars of this promotion, that would be the ideal place to bring up salary questions. If not, you should suggest such a meeting before an announcement is made to the rest of the company. As Etrigan says, frame your request as wanting to know more about the position in general (which is a good idea anyway, salary concerns aside).

$10K doesn't sound like a ridiculous pay bump to me, if you're moving up to a management position. Is that the minimum amount you'd feel is fair? If so, I'd suggest requesting a pay bump of $12-15K and let them walk you back to $10K. (Or not, in which case, more money for you!) Give specific examples of the responsibilities you feel are beyond the typical duties for your title--and if you volunteered to take on those duties, mention that as well.

Alison Green, who runs Ask a Manager, has written some great articles on this subject that may help you out here:

What Your Manager Is Thinking When You Ask for a Raise

What to Say When You Ask for a Raise

What Not to Say When Asking for a Raise

Good luck!
posted by Owlcat at 8:32 AM on March 8, 2015 [6 favorites]

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