In the majority of cases, asking for a raise every year is totally reasonable. Of course the way you ask, how you justify it, your level of expectations, and the health of the business should be carefully considered. Setting and achieving specific goals gives you a powerful argument, as can making a financial case for your worth, as well as having an understanding of how much people in similar positions earn. We hope our Salary Survey can be one potential tool to measure your income against your peers.
This year in our survey, we asked about increase in salary over the year before. It is worth noting that there seems to be a real discrepancy with regards to gender. The percentage of respondents who made less and same is virtually identical, but look how much difference there is between people reporting a 1-4% increase and 10% plus!
Many studies over the years have suggested that men are significantly more likely to ask for a raise than women, and that could be one element in the wage gap. Carnegie Mellon University economics professor and co-author of Women Don’t Ask Linda Babcock claims that "Men are four times more likely than women to ask for a raise." Several media outlets such as The New York Post published articles about a recent study from Australia that came to a different conclusion, although that conclusion has been criticized as misleading. While debating these studies and the complex nature of these topics is probably beyond the scope of GuildSomm, I would make the suggestion that all of us act as advocates for ourselves. In short... if you haven't had a raise in the last year, it's probably time to ask.
Remember, folks, inflation is approximately 2-2.5% a year!
I have so many thoughts here! First, I’m producing the Batonnage Forum specifically to address issues like this. Second, I’m a small business owner and employer of an all-female team save for my business partner. Third, said business is wine retail (silly slim margins), and we are in one of—if not THE—highest rent and labor cost markets in the country where the reality is that giving a raise may often be well warranted but not financially feasible for the business. In my experience with all of this, I would recommend the following to anyone (any gender) believing they are deserving of a raise:
1) Know your worth for this specific business. Can they easily hire someone else to do what you do? Basically, are you replaceable? Advocate for yourself and the unique skills or qualities you bring this specific business.
2) When asking for a raise, bring a printed copy of how you contributed to the company in the last period or what additional tasks you’ve taken on that specifically brought the company more sales. If you did not directly contribute to more sales (which is the $ they need to pay you your raise), how did you help someone else free up their time or energy to bring in more sales? Just because you took on a project you enjoyed doesn’t necessarily compute to more money for the company to pay you. Help the owners or managers see how you did increase the bottom line.
3) Just because it’s been a year doesn’t mean you should ask for a raise “just because.” Inflation? Well, every cost for my business increases every year as well... see above and help me see where the money I should pay you is coming from. More sales does NOT always mean more profit if more sales also means more expenses!
4) Be confident. With the above outlined, you will see you have every right to be. Don’t be timid. Don’t be cocky.
5) If you’re denied a raise... Weigh out what else this business offers you that may be considered of value besides strict salary. In wine jobs: Do they let you taste wines frequently? Do they offer unique learning opportunities? Do you receive mentorship? Do you enjoy your work? Is it stressful? Do you take work home or are you asked to work/respond off the clock? Do you work an excessive amount of hours or do you feel like you have work/life balance? Do you enjoy your colleagues and get along with your entire team? Do they offer any benefits or insurance? If the company is unable to offer more cash perhaps these things could be considered beneficial to you, or perhaps not and you decide to look elsewhere.
I would love to hear from everyone how they have gone about successfully asking for a raise or what challenges they have faced in doing so! It’s a pretty fascination topic and worth ample discussion!
Stevie, you make great points. And without getting political, gender and market make have a huge impact.My last negotiation was well researched and documented, and I was called "aggressive" for asking to be where my peers and my skill set is valued on the "open market." It is very important to be prepared, humble, and assertive.
I agree with all of the above. I asked for a raise a few times at my last employer and was denied repeatedly with the GM always saying, "I will take care of you." It unfortunately took an offer on the table for them to know how serious I was when I put in my notice. Be humble, but get what you are worth. Unfortunately, you may have to find somewhere else.
Like Adam, it is important to remember that even though you may be replaceable, so too may the employer. If you feel you are not valued, or are not being compensated fairly, be willing and be prepared to move on. Of course, the smaller the market the more your options may be limited. Be professional and be realistic about your expectations and those of your employer. When your expectations diverge, it's time to explore your options.
I agree with everything here except number 3. As a business owner, you have no obligation of give raises to your employees; but like your costs, their rent and expenses are also increasing. As an employee if you do not get at least a cost of living increase every year, you should view it as a cut in pay (because it is). The business has no obligation to keep up with inflation and you may choose to accept that based on any number of factors economic or personal, but don't be tricked into thinking that it doesn't represent a pay cut.
Geoff Kruth said:As an employee if you do not get at least a cost of living increase every year, you should view it as a cut in pay (because it is).
That's mostly what I was getting at.
I 100% agree. I'm shocked by how many businesses don't put this practice in, or try to defend not doing it. And sometimes we wonder why people leave jobs so quickly. Take care of your people!