The IT professional’s guide to negotiating a raise

Your first few years on the job are all about the struggles and the tribulations. But once a professional carves out a successful career in the IT industry, he or she will have a tough time settling for being paid peanuts. At that point, you’ll either seek out greener pastures or ask for a raise. Now, persuading your employers to hike your salary sounds easier on paper. The key to successfully negotiating a raise lies in asking the right questions and gathering the relevant information. Blatant demands are never a good approach. Increase your chances of receiving a well-deserved raise by following the tips below:

Monitor your performance closely

negotiating a raise

At the end of the day, a raise is all about showing the company what a valuable asset you are to the IT team. And that means presenting your accomplishments throughout the year in a well-documented, organized fashion. No matter how small or insignificant you think a particular task or project is, be sure to include it in your portfolio. Also, it might be a good idea to maintain a file of all the praises or positive feedback you get from your IT peers or bosses, either verbally or in writing. They will serve as tangible examples you can present when requesting more money.

For informal achievements, maintain a journal of all the major IT success and projects you’ve been a part of. If necessary, you can even create and update a formal itemized calendar or spreadsheet on a regular basis. At the start or the close of every week, take a look at all the projects, meetings, and appointments that require your involvement, and summarize the same in a few concise bullet points. Save the document as “Accomplishments” and don’t forget to include the month and the year. These documents will come in handy while reviewing your annual goals and help push your agenda in the right direction.

The more specific you are, the better. Because by the end of the year, you might have a tough time recapitulating a particular development project. Over time, these documents display your value to the firm based on the impact and metrics that the company holds dear.

Know yourself better

negotiating a raise

Put yourself in a better negotiation spot by assessing your personal skills, mission, purpose, features, educational qualifications, and strengths. Also, think about how your talents will help your employer. It’s necessary to take stock of what you deliver and what you will be capable of delivering later. Be sure to present yourself as a hard worker, and the benefits and values you bring to the IT team and the organization as a whole during the negotiation stages.

Identify any issues you wish to address while you will be negotiating a raise and present it carefully to your employer. Develop your script by writing down every insight, so the employer sees the value in keeping you on at an increased rate.

Understand your value to the company

Quantify any economic benefits, including new business, cost-efficiency, and greater revenue, you provide to your organization. When you have this information ready, you have enough evidence to support your case. Express confidence at the economic advantage you offer to the firm and don’t hesitate to use it as leverage.

Also, it’s a good idea to research the kind of compensation received by other IT employees in your current position and market. The negotiation process will go a whole lot smoother if you’re sure of where you’re placed in the compensation scale. Just so you know, the average IT salary is expected to increase in 2018.

Make sure you collect all the necessary information

negotiating a raise

Information is power. The more you know about the company’s quantitative and qualitative criteria for raises and promotions, they better you can strive to meet them. Increase your awareness of the power structure in the firm. Recognize the major power players and the different department operations, but don’t ignore the oldest employees, security staff, cleaning attendants, and support staff.

Maintain a friendly demeanor, remember their names, and do something nice for them around the holidays. This sort of networking will help you forge your own early-warning system, as these individuals often know things before an official announcement.

Leverage your connections to find out more about the challenges faced by the organization and your IT manager. Then think about what you can do in your power to fix them. Remember, the more you allay their fears, the more you will be rewarded financially.

Perfecting ‘The Ask’

You can’t just approach IT leaders and inundate them with insights on how you deserve a raise. No, negotiating a raise means you need to adopt a more delicate approach. Questions are an easier way to gauge your manager’s opinion regarding your performance as well as their openness to reviewing your current salary for a potential increment. So frame the questions carefully. They should not sound like statements. Even if you have to present a specific statement, end it with a question like “What’s your opinion?” or “Don’t you think so?” Remember, it’s all about initiating a conversation, not a debate.

Find out whom to approach

It all boils down to the person who will sign off on your raise. Your direct IT manager might not be that individual, but you should still go through them. Otherwise, going over their head might not go down well in the long run. Usually, HR is considered a spoilsport, but think of it this way — they are aware of every intangible offered by the company, including training grants and education grants. So, finding out that knowledge will provide more ammunition for your cause.

Minimize the possibility of confrontation

Make sure your IT manager has the opportunity to say no at the beginning of the negotiation to diffuse any chance of confrontation. Plus, it puts him or her in a more receptive mindset. Have respect and empathy for your manager as a decision-maker in the company. Never choose false deadlines, ultimatums, and take-it-or-leave-it threats. Keep in mind that negotiating a raise might need more than one conversation.

Negotiating a raise is a subtle art

Negotiating a raise is a subtle art that not every IT employee possesses. It requires careful timing and preparation, which means you need to start early if you want to ask the company for a raise. Thankfully, we’ve highlighted all the essentials above for your benefit.

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