What’s a good salary or a raise to ask for? How to find your number
Big quit wage gains and record inflation have skewed the value of your work.
Workers who leave for new jobs tend to get larger pay increases than those who stay, and the gap has widened further over the past year. In the second quarter of 2022, job changers saw their wages increase by 9.5% year-over-year, while wages for job holders increased by 7.2%, according to ADP data – marking a high streak for job changers and incumbent wage growth.
But with inflation hitting 9.1% in June, those increases don’t go far.
If you’re in the market to negotiate a new salary or a raise, what amount should you aim for? Here are some frames of reference to remember.
Search online salary databases
Despite concerns about an impending recession, people are still quite confident in the job market. Some 63% of people think the big quit gives them leverage to negotiate their salary, according to a February Glassdoor Harris Poll.
And so far in 2022, job seekers expect to earn 34% more than their current salary in a new position, a salary increase of $9,253 on average.
Of course, the increase you can expect will depend on your job, experience, geography, and industry, among other factors.
There are many salary databases online, and while “there’s no perfect site,” combining them can give you an idea of your market value, says Tampa reverse recruiter Madelyn Machado. in Florida.
Among the most important are Glassdoor, Salary.com and Comparably. She also likes Levels.fyi, which “gets details about deals” made to tech workers.
You can also view open job offers. Employers in some markets, such as Colorado, are required to list the salary range on all job postings.
Be sure to use three types of salary data or surveys to give you a good idea of the market value of your role, says San Francisco-based Career Contessa coach Ginny Cheng. And because salaries rose so rapidly during the Great Resignation, try to prioritize salary data from the last quarter for an accurate reading.
Ask knowledgeable recruiters
Online salary databases can give you a good regional overview, but the best way to get localized, personalized and up-to-date data is to ask the knowledgeable people: recruiters.
In some states, such as California and Nevada, hiring managers are required to provide applicants with their salary ranges.
Deven Lall-Perry, director of talent acquisition and retention for a New York consulting firm, says it’s perfectly acceptable to raise pay as soon as briefing calls begin.
Always ask on the first call if the recruiter doesn’t mention it first, she says. “Every time I recruited someone, they knew the salary on the first call. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.”
“It’s not weird or awkward,” she adds for those worried. “It’s an equal trade: you pay for my skills. This is what hiring is supposed to look like, and if you feel like as a candidate it’s not happening, you can respectfully withdraw from the process.”
Take your number and add $20,000
When recruiters make an offer, they always leave room for negotiation, says Machado: “We’re never going to offer you the maximum in the first round.”
This means that it is up to the candidates to negotiate upwards according to their salary research. But that could mean that historically underpaid workers aren’t bargaining for that much money.
Machado says her clients, mostly professional women and women of color, often undersell significantly. Here’s what she tells them: “Whatever offer you think you want, add about $20,000. It’s probably closer to what companies are paying now compared to the last time you were in the market.
You might not get the full amount you ask for, so Machado recommends aiming high. She remembers a customer who asked for an additional $20,000, and the company responded with $10,000.
One thing is certain, she says: candidates are leaving money on the table if they accept the first offer.
Why you might want to ask for a raise now
There’s no good time to ask for a raise, and you might think market forecasts for a recession might mean it’s not the right time to ask.
That said, the job market remains tight, so companies are trying to retain their star employees, Cheng says.
Companies continue to respond to the big resignation to make annual raises and adjustments, she says: “With the pauses or slowdown in hiring, it is good for companies to consider reinvesting in existing employees and focus on retention knowing growth will pick up in the long run.”