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Negotiate a Pay Raise in a Shaky Economy

Negotiate a Pay Raise in a Shaky Economy

Dona DeZube, Monster Finance Careers Expert

The economy may be sluggish, but that shouldn’t stop you from seeking a raise, salary negotiation experts say.

“Even in a down economy, getting the salary you want is still a function of relative power,” says Maryanne Wegerbauer, author of Next-Day Salary Negotiation: Prepare Tonight to Get Your Best Pay Tomorrow. “But it becomes more critical for people to document what they’ve contributed to the organization’s success.”

How do you tie what you do in your job to the big corporate picture? Start with any planning and review documents that list your goals and objectives, and then make a list of how you achieved each one and furthered company goals despite market challenges.

Next, share plaudits such as thank-you notes from peers, acknowledgements from clients and praise from other managers.

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Finally, arm yourself with salary data. Find out what others in your job earn locally and then see if your industry’s trade association publishes salary data to gauge current compensation levels. “It’s important to get information together about current compensation, so you can make your case based on facts,” says Ian Ide, partner and manager of Winter, Wyman & Co.’s New York Technology Group.

If you’re moving to a new job and negotiating salary with future employers, consider the total value of the benefits packages you’re offered. “There can be substantial differences in vacation, health insurance contributions and bonuses,” Ide says. A company unwilling to increase salaries in a down market may still consider additional benefits such as a one-time sign-on bonus, he adds.

In a tough economy, the biggest advantage you can have when negotiating salary is another offer. “Make your job search as active as possible as quickly as possible,” Ide says. “If you have another offer coming in, the prospective employer is more likely to be as competitive as possible.”


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