IT Salary: 10 Ways To Get A Raise - InformationWeek

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6/30/2014
09:26 AM
Kristin Burnham
Kristin Burnham
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IT Salary: 10 Ways To Get A Raise

Do you deserve a bigger IT paycheck? Here's how to negotiate with bosses, navigate counteroffers, and avoid mistakes.
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Asking your manager for a raise and negotiating a higher salary probably rank right up there with a trip to the dentist's office on your list of fun things to do. The good news: The number of IT professionals who received a salary increase in the last year is up -- and with a bit of preparation, you too can walk away with more money.

According to InformationWeek's 17th annual US IT Salary Survey, IT staffers and managers cite pay as their No. 1 (48%) and No. 2 (46%) workplace motivators. In the last year, 41% of professionals reported a raise of up to 5%; 15% said they received a raise of between 5% and 10%; and 1 in 10 of professionals reported a raise of more than 10%, according to our data.

"IT pros have stayed remarkably consistent in their satisfaction with pay and their jobs overall in recent years: Around two-thirds say they're satisfied or very satisfied, a bit less than one-fourth are neutral, and a bit more than 10% are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied," the report states.

But that's no reason to get complacent: Money is also the No. 1 reason that IT professionals look for a new job, according to 72% of IT staffers and 70% of managers. As the economy and overall satisfaction with the industry improve, more IT pros are considering their options.

Another data point: In our recent flash poll on IT salaries, more than half of respondents said they do not feel fairly compensated. See IT Salaries: Looking For Love.

This year, 42% of our salary survey respondents indicated that they are somewhat or actively looking for a new job, up from 39% in 2012. Higher compensation, more interesting work, and increased personal fulfillment top the list of reasons for both staffers and managers.

Mark Berger, senior technical recruiter at Steven Douglas Associates, says that while you may be tempted to jump ship if you're underpaid, you should consider asking for a raise first.

"Have a conversation with your manager before you make a change. Employees sometimes don't see the value in their own work and think the only way to get an increase in pay is to look elsewhere," he points out. While sometimes a move may be the right choice, it's not your only option.

When a new job is on your horizon, prepare yourself for the inevitable negotiation -- and counteroffer. "Counteroffers happen more and more these days as employers really do value the talent they have," Berger notes. "They don't want to lose a good employee for a few thousand dollars."

Obtaining the salary you deserve -- whether it's through a raise or negotiations at a new employer -- requires that you prepare and research accordingly, then follow smart tactics. These 10 tips from industry experts will help you succeed. What's your salary negotiation advice? Share with your peers in the comments section.

Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
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6/30/2014 | 11:31:10 AM
Big Bump
It wasn't an IT position, but when I discovered a non-management colleague had been making more than me, I was really hurt, angry, and upset. I was management, with a ton of responsibilities, heading high-profile projects, and he was a reporter who made a sizable amount more than me. Instead of immediately seeking another position (which was, I have to admit, my first reaction), I spoke to my immediate manager -- who happens to have been a great boss -- about the disparity. I spoke calmly and laid out the comparative responsibilities; my years of experience; the tasks i had taken on without guidance or request, etc. (there was no LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc., back then). Ultimately, I got a very big raise that brought me up to par with others in the position I held, despite the ongoing freeze on raises at the time. Sure, I was still hurt and felt used for the years of under-payment, but that was not this particular manager's fault and they earned my undying loyalty. I guess my honesty with the manager could have backfired but since i was not prepared to stay at the company after learning how underpaid I was, I had nothing to lose.
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
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6/30/2014 | 12:56:40 PM
Re: One of the best things I did was
Progman, thanks for sharing your experience. Having those bullet points on paper can help when you enter the conversation with the boss as well. Depends on the person's management style.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
6/30/2014 | 2:29:26 PM
Other advice?
Alison and Progman2000 shared two good examples of what can happen if you just ask. Who else has had that conversation with a manager? Why do you think you were successful -- or not? Would you have done anything differently in hindsight?
Charlie Babcock
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Charlie Babcock,
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6/30/2014 | 9:12:08 PM
A rising tide lifts IT's boat
The economy must be getting better. Here's good advice on how to ask for a raise.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
7/1/2014 | 9:07:04 AM
Re: Getting creativewhen a raise is not an option
@mejiac Exactly. Asking for something like a more flexible schedule still puts more money in your pocket, but in a more indirect way. Less time spent commuting = less money spent on gas and an increase in productivity, which ultimately benefits the business, too. 

What other creative benefits have you negotiated in lieu of a pay raise?
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 11:48:29 AM
Re: Big Bump
In this case, my manager was new to the position and was not responsible for my pay so i didn't hold it against them! I am not sure how much attention they'd paid to individuals' salaries before my situation occurred -- or whether this manager reviewed others' salaries to see if there were similar situations. 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 11:51:07 AM
Re: Getting creativewhen a raise is not an option
Training is a terrific benefit, @mejiac, especially because it benefits both your employer and you if you choose to move on to a different organization. I'd add attending trade shows is another plus, too. You can see panel discussions, keynotes, and product demonstrations and also network among peers to make new connections, find potential new positions (if you want to leave your current job), and see how other organizations are addressing the challenges you're facing.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 11:55:04 AM
Re: Other advice?
@tjgkg: Sorry about your experience but delighted you found a position at another organization that DID recognize your abilities and accomplishments. I'd imagine writing the paper at your prior employer was helpful as you interviewed for new positions, since you'd established ROI and other benchmarks for the tasks you'd done at the prior company. Bringing up a disparity in pay or proactively pursuing a promotion is dangerous. It can backfire and you must be prepared to leave if it does.

Those organizations that have a policy of never/always promoting from within blow my mind. It is so short-sighted to never/only consider candidates from a certain pool of individuals. Who knows the capabilities of the people within/outside your organization if you only look outside/within? Silly.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 11:56:41 AM
Re: Getting creativewhen a raise is not an option
Yes, that's a great perk that doesn't cost organizations a penny but has a terrific, beneficial effect on employee morale and loyalty. I know several people who have stayed at their current positions, in large part because they can work from home one to three days per week and/or have flexible hours instead of the typical 9-5 or 8-4.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 12:01:48 PM
Re: A rising tide lifts IT's boat
I'm with you, @SaneIT. Salary is important, of course, but it's not necessarily the critical issue. Autonomy; a career path; opportunities for growth; interesting work; supportive management and peers, and an organization who I believe in all play a role. There's also the comfort level that comes with knowing your organization. Sometimes it's time for a new challenge, to learn a new organization (or even industry), and sometimes it's not. I think, though, if you plan to move jobs that's definitely the time to get more money. It is probably the sole time you can request a more sizable salary increase!

 
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