How to maximize a salary raise at a giant F500 corporation?
November 14, 2015 5:23 PM   Subscribe

I was recently hired into an Associate XXXX position in the technology space and received a base salary of $80,000. This base salary is already around $10,000 higher than what the position typically pays in other cities. Now that I've been at the company for ~5 months and have been kicking ass, performance-wise, my boss told me that he'd like to get me promoted to full on XXXX position at my half-year mark because I'm outperforming my peers, and to a large extent, even Senior XXXX peers. But...

... getting promoted before a full year is highly atypical and my boss said it would be a stretch, despite my performance and recognition from senior leadership.

He's highly respected within the company (a mover and shaker, if you will) and advocates on my behalf very, very adamantly, which I find to be a huge blessing. It makes me want to work harder for him.

Anyway, he championed the idea to our Head Honcho (HH) and HH said he agreed with the idea, but that the title change would be difficult due to internal politics. That said, they agreed to give me a raise at my 6-month mark and then the full on promotion at my 1-year mark.

I don't know what this raise will entail, but I do know that the company is very hung up on "internal equity." Even when I was negotiating my base compensation, they did not budge at all at the original $80,000 offer and even said verbatim it was because of internal equity. To make up for that, they gave me a tidy signing bonus.

With that all said, I want to be making a six figure salary. My target salary is $110,000, which is a whopping 37.5% salary bump. My gut and research say this will be highly unlikely. If anything, I think they're going to offer me a $10k bump to get me to $90,000.

If I can't get to $110,000, I'd like to get to $100,000 at the very least. How do I maximize the chances of this happening?

Again, I work at a massive, public corporation, so I know that impacts things. I'm also fairly young compared to my peers, so I don't know if they'll balk at the idea of someone so young asking for compensation that people 10+ years older than me make.

I spoke to a colleague who said when he was in a much lower position, he was able to receive a 35% base salary bump due to exceptional performance, but he was coming from a much lower salary of around $35,000.

My goal is to position the large bump as stemming from my value add to the team. I don't really want to go down the path of saying, "well, the position pays around this much in our city, so I want to be there."

I want to come in strong, saying, "thank you for the recognition and bump. I understand the concept of internal equity, but to your own admission, I outperform peers two levels senior to me. I have much more responsibility than peers my equal and I want to be compensated according to the value I add to the team. Therefore, I would like to receive a base salary of $110,000."

Any tips / insight? How should I position myself? How many times can I go back and forth between offers?

Thanks!
posted by 6spd to Work & Money (14 answers total)
 
The obvious answer here is found in your own explanatory text: you don't *need* a salary of $110,000 if that messes up their idea of internal equity...you can make up the difference in bonuses (or stock, etc.).

Be sure not to come off too cocky when you ask for this raise. The attitude that comes out in your writing here is more arrogant than confident, is not very attractive, and if you come off that way in person you may not keep the strong support of your boss.
posted by mysterious_stranger at 5:34 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


"thank you for the recognition and bump. I understand the concept of internal equity, but to your own admission, I outperform peers two levels senior to me. I have much more responsibility than peers my equal and I want to be compensated according to the value I add to the team. Therefore, I would like to receive a base salary of $110,000."

This is gross and unnecessary. Say "I'm really glad to be here and I think I'm bringing a lot to the team. I know that's been recognized by you and others as well. I'm hoping to see my salary increased to $110k."
posted by 256 at 5:35 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


> I want to be making a six figure salary

Aim to be paid mid-range for your job title so you're not the obvious person to fire when the economy turns down.

Ask for a job title bump so your compensation stays mid-range for the title.

If your boss doesn't want to ask his bosses to pay you more, ask for training (in sales, speaking or management) and paid time off to do it.
posted by sninctown at 5:35 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The best way to get a current employer to raise your salary that much? Have a matching offer in hand and be willing to quit and jump ship.

Or depending on your risk-tolerance, be willing to bluff.
posted by paulcole at 5:39 PM on November 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


What is your rush? Six months is not so long, unless you have something else you'd rather be doing. Take what you get now and ask for more when you get the full promotion. Having a boss with power is a huge advantage. Don't waste the resource this early. Play the long game. You'll be running the place in no time.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:51 PM on November 14, 2015 [17 favorites]


I'm also fairly young compared to my peers, so I don't know if they'll balk at the idea of someone so young asking for compensation that people 10+ years older than me make.

Yes, they would balk, and it would be a headache for everyone, including you. "Internal equity" = morale.

I don't know what this raise will entail, but I do know that the company is very hung up on "internal equity." Even when I was negotiating my base compensation, they did not budge at all at the original $80,000 offer and even said verbatim it was because of internal equity. To make up for that, they gave me a tidy signing bonus.

You should just trust your boss in this.
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:15 PM on November 14, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ask your boss what is appropriate. It seems like your workplace is unusually focused on having people paid at similar levels (I'm assuming this is what "internal equity" means). You were not able to negotiate for your original salary, so it may be out of step with your workplace to negotiate this time around, especially after only 6 months. This boss is your strong advocate, so I wouldn't worry too much about weakening your negotiating position by asking. My guess is that this raise will not be negotiable and that the "full promotion" at a year would be more likely to net you a larger raise.
posted by chickenmagazine at 7:33 PM on November 14, 2015


Be awesome at this company. Leave to make more money.

Huge corporations have internal HR rules they have to follow.
posted by LoveHam at 7:53 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


The large company I work for has pay bands associated with each position and raises have to fit within the pay band assigned to a position. If you're currently at or near the top of the pay band, then you won't see much of a raise until you get a promotion.

If your company uses pay bands, then you can find out your current band and possibly find the top salary in it. You could search your company's Intranet for that info, check with your boss, or with HR. With pay band info, you'll at least know if your target salary is even attainable.

You could also ask about a bonus or an award if the potential raise doesn't meet your expectations, but your bosses may be limited in how much compensation they can grant to you after only six months with the company. Try not to be discouraged at this early stage, as having bosses who will advocate for you is super valuable in the long run.
posted by hoppytoad at 7:54 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


I also read "internal equity" as pay bands. There are a few ways to ask about the parameters of the salary band:
- ask for lower and upper bounds
- ask for midpoints
- if they won't budge on this, ask for the ratio of your salary to the midpoint of your current salary band. For some reason the F500 I worked for only gave this number.

Understanding where you are relative to the midpoint or extrema of salary bands can help decode eligibility for raises.

Also for raises you should ask if there is a difference between merit increases (the typical annual increase) and promo increases (the one you should be having now). The latter should be larger, but there is usually an allowable percentage band for these increases moving between levels. Ask for a big promo, but realistically you will get 10-15% on a good day. Ours looked more like 8%.

Your managers might be quite limited in salary, but usually there is some bonus program where managers can nominate extraordinary employees for whatever reason and dump them some cash. See if any programs along these lines exist at your company. Perhaps you will get cash that way.

At a big company you don't get to walk in and ask for a dollar amount. You learn the system and work it. Play the long game, be patient, work with your manager. If you feel badly undercompensated go work elsewhere, this is the only way to get a 40% raise.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:27 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Response by poster: Thanks all. We do indeed have pay bands and while I know what pay band I'm in, I am not able to find any official documentation on the ranges within the bands from our intranet.

However, after speaking to a coworker in the same pay band, she mentioned what the median pay is for our band and it's exactly what I'm currently being paid for base.

She also said that the pay bands have wider ranges as you get to higher bands and that they begin to have overlap with adjacent ones. For example, the top end of our current band is much higher than the lower end of the pay band above ours. This makes sense to me.

I do recall her saying that the top of our pay band is slightly above six figures, so I know it's hypothetically obtainable.. but who can command such a premium?

What does it take for someone to get to the top of their band?
posted by 6spd at 9:03 PM on November 14, 2015


At the large companies I have known people at, getting to the top of the pay band entailed several years of exceptionally high yearly merit raises that far outclassed the base growth in the pay band that they do to keep up with inflation. Moreover, they like to keep people from getting too high within the band so that you don't top out and find yourself completely ineligible for anything beyond the cost of living increase. That is less of a concern if a promotion is in your immediate future, of course, assuming your manager and their boss don't see a risk of a freeze coming down from on high. The point is that being on the high side of the band does have some drawbacks.

They were also limited on bonuses except in extremely unusual situations where it was cleared two or three levels up the chain because bonus pools for a given team were fixed, so giving one employee a very high bonus directly reduced what was available for other team members. Getting around that required higher level managers to reallocate pool money away from other teams/departments to make room for the exception without putting the entire burden on your immediate manager.

There is a lot of politics involved here, so try to be understanding. Asking is OK, within reason, but be aware of the limitations your superiors are working within so that you don't alienate them. And don't be too disappointed if you don't get a 35% mid-cycle raise! Save the disappointment for the (hopefully unlikely) event of not getting the promotion or being stuck with an unexpectedly small raise from it.

Even 10% now increases the base on which future raises are calculated, so any extra now will compound as time goes on. Don't discount the value you are getting there.
posted by wierdo at 9:46 PM on November 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Top of the pay band is for two cases:
1. People that came in high when they joined initially
2. Long timers that are not promotable

Neither of these is your case. Getting to the next band should be higher priority than moving up in the current one.
posted by crazycanuck at 9:52 PM on November 14, 2015 [3 favorites]


Having a boss that's willing to go to bat for you is huge. I've had this and ended up with a 50% pay increase (over 2-3 years total).

That being said, if it's possible to negotiate more time off (which can be difficult), that will improve your quality of life significantly more than more money will.

Also it might help prevent burn-out over the long term, and possibly keep you at the company longer than a mere pay increase might (as companies may be willing to pay more, but often are less likely to give you more time off upon joining). These are the pitches I would make to try to secure more time.
posted by el io at 10:04 PM on November 14, 2015


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