Just Ask! Raises & Salary Negotiations

Negotiating is consistently one of the topics my business graduate students put at the top of their list of what they want to learn.  The mystery of how to navigate the sticky question about money is one that can unnerve even the most confident professional.

This piece from the Today Show quotes a statistic that 56% of employees have never asked for a raise and 49% of candidates accept what is offered.  My anecdotal experience is that well prepared professionals—whether they are asking for a raise or negotiating based on their value for a new job—most often get what they ask for.  The tenet “ask and you will receive” does apply here most often.


Key points in `preparing for negotiating include:

  • Know your worth.  Do your research to know what the salary norms are for professionals at your level in your industry.  Sites like Glassdoor, Salary.com, PayScale, and job search sites like Indeed and SimplyHired all have salary data.  The US Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics and GuideStar’s Non-Profit Compensation reports are also places to find relevant data.

  • Always start with your value.  List your accomplishments/contributions including the value to the business so that you are clear about your value proposition.  This is always the place to begin.  Know who you are talking to and start with them in mind and what you will add, or have added to their business or team.

  • Be prepared to negotiate for other things like working from home and adjusted schedules if you believe that higher compensation may not be an option in your company or situation.

  • Compare apples to apples when you look at total packages as the salary number is only part of the total compensation.

  • The time to negotiate an offer typically is between the time the offer is given and the time it is accepted.  Sometimes compensation conversations will happen before an offer is written to ensure the terms are acceptable on both sides.  Be prepared for these types of conversations.

  • DO ask and DO Negotiate!  If you have questions or concerns, get help from a professional or trusted colleague.