Questions to Ask When You Don’t Get Your Pay Raise
It’s our belief that pay should be made more transparent. People should know what others in similar spots make so that they can clearly articulate what they’re worth and what they’re willing to give up to work someplace. For instance, let’s say you’re a lawyer fresh out of law school. You could potentially make a LOT of money at a big 4 firm. The tradeoff to that is that you’ll work 80-hour weeks and you’ll have the potential to do work that you don’t believe in. Alternatively, you could take a LOT LESS money to work as a lawyer at a non-profit that you believe in. The hours would be more manageable and you’ll believe in your work. Either choice is fine, but it’s important to know all of the variables in advance. That’s why you need to know, first, what your work is worth, and second, what you’re willing to do for a company.
After finally landing that first job, many people are put into a tight spot. Their employer may have promised a pay raise within six months or so, and now that those six months are up, the raise is nowhere in sight. What should this person do? There are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, having a conversation about salary can be delicate. Second, the time to take action on that promised pay raise is before the agreed-upon date flies by. Lastly, it’s critical to have an understanding of your worth, now and in the future, prior to accepting a first job offer. So, how can you figure out what you’re worth?
What Performance is Expected?
Pay raises are often based on specific performance indicators. For example, it may be that you have to meet sales goal or make a particular number of calls each day. If you haven’t met all the performance goals, realize that the employer is not obligated to give you a pay raise. It may be a miscommunication between yourself and your manager in regards to clear metrics and goals that you can measure and benchmark your performance against. In cases like this, it is critical that you clearly discuss with your employer what objectives you may have missed or how to improve your performance. Once you start hitting those numbers, you will have solid data to back up your request for increased and well-deserved remuneration.
What Is the Policy for Pay Raises?
Outside of a standard probationary period, most companies offer pay raises on a set schedule, usually once per year along with a performance review. This means that once you start working, it may be a while until you can bring up the issue of your pay again. Keep in mind that if you’ve missed your performance goals for this first probationary period, you may not be considered for a pay raise until the normal round of pay raises come along once again. This means that it is critical to believe in yourself prior to taking a job. It’s on you to negotiate aggressively on your own behalf as well as set clear benchmark goals that, if hit, will trigger either a raise or a positive performance review.
If after you’ve taken these steps and spoken with your employer regarding a raise but still aren’t seeing any results, you may want to start seeking your second job at FirstJob.com. This way you can find a job that pays better from the start, and has attainable and clear performance goals built into the company’s pay structure.
Amy Liu is a Digital Marketing Associate at FirstJob and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley. In her free time, she loves exploring San Francisco and trying out tasty new restaurants.