This week, the Wall Street Journal published an article about the lack of science in salaries. Or as they put it more bluntly, “When it comes to pay, most companies are making things up as they go.”
If this is true, as one study of over 7,500 corporate compensation data schemes by PayScale suggests, then the bad news is that getting a pay raise is far more arbitrary than one might suspect. The good news is that, armed with this information, you know that you have the ability to take your destiny into your own hands. Though it may feel like an overwhelming responsibility, at least you know you are probably not frozen into a small lock-step pay raise by any formal corporate rules that are written in stone.
Payscale’s study found that nearly 60% of employers have no formal compensation structure or philosophy guiding their pay decisions. This means that negotiation becomes that much more important to getting the pay raise that you want. It also means that if you are looking to move between jobs and employers, your salary history can only hurt you if you’re looking to make a significant step change in salary levels. (Incidentally, Massachusetts just passed an equal pay law this week making it illegal to inquire into a job applicant’s salary history, which will help anyone who is looking to change the amount they make in the future, away from the anchor of a previously low salary).
If you’ve decided you want a pay raise, it’s time to start preparing yourself. Since many year-end reviews are a logical time to discuss things like past performance and year-end bonuses, this means you have 4 months to get ready.
What can you do in order to order to make sure you get a pay raise by the end of the year? Assuming you haven’t just started your job and the timing for discussing these things is appropriate in December, you can start preparing to do these 11 things now:
There’s no sure-fire way to guarantee you will get a pay raise but having 4 months to prepare yourself with the facts, allies, information and emotional fortitude you will need gives you a running head start on the process.
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