NEW YORK (MainStreet) — More workers are growing in confidence on the job and asking employers for promotions and raises.
Accountemps, a Menlo Park, Calif. job placement service, says "an improving economy and higher demand for skilled workers" is leading career professionals to shed shyness about professional and financial status in the workplace. An Accountemps survey of chief financial officers has 43% saying they're seeing more requests for raises and promotions has risen since 2012.
The workplace dynamic has favored employers since the Great Recession, when good jobs were more difficult to come by and the vast majority of workers seemed reluctant to push for more money and power. But things seem to be turning, and good employees are less shy about asking for a bump in pay and responsibility — a shift company decision makers ignore at their own peril.
"Employers must be proactive and closely scrutinize compensation levels to stay competitive and keep good staff," said Bill Driscoll, a district president with Accountemps. "It's better to be prepared than surprised by an employee's request for a raise or promotion. Now's the time to proactively connect with key team members to identify advancement opportunities and discuss viable career paths."
Driscoll offers workers seeking advancement the following tips:
Do your research. Driscoll advocates a good amount of preparation before asking for money. "Prepare for the discussion by doing your homework and understanding what someone in your position should be earning," he says. "Determine the average pay range for your position by consulting resources like the 2015 Salary Guides from Robert Half."
Be realistic. Know your limits, and that there's a good and bad time to ask for a raise. "If your firm has undergone recent budget cuts or layoffs, it's not the best time to ask for a raise," he says. "Instead, you might begin building a case for increased compensation. Then, when your company is on firmer financial ground, you'll be prepared to present a compelling argument."
Time it right for yourself. You'll want to strike while the iron is hot and ask for a raise after you've had a major success. "Perhaps you just finished a major project or kicked off a new initiative," Driscoll says. "Whatever the case may be, you want your success to be fresh in your manager's mind."
Time it right for your manager and company. This could be when the business lands a certain deal or sees an upswing in quarterly revenue, but whatever you do, don't catch your manager off guard or make your request at a hectic time. Be diplomatic and have some patience. "Schedule an appointment for a typically quiet time that is free of distractions and let your manager know you'd like to discuss your compensation," he advises. If a raise isn't available, ask for other incentives:
Be flexible. "If your manager is unable to offer you a raise, ask for other incentives that can make a difference, such as more vacation time, a flexible schedule, the ability to telecommute, professional development opportunities or even stock in the company," Driscoll says.
— By Brian O'Connell for MainStreet