Strategic CIO // Team Building & Staffing
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6/30/2014
09:26 AM
Kristin Burnham
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IT Salary: 10 Ways To Get A Raise

Do you deserve a bigger IT paycheck? Here's how to negotiate with bosses, navigate counteroffers, and avoid mistakes.
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Asking your manager for a raise and negotiating a higher salary probably rank right up there with a trip to the dentist's office on your list of fun things to do. The good news: The number of IT professionals who received a salary increase in the last year is up -- and with a bit of preparation, you too can walk away with more money.

According to InformationWeek's 17th annual US IT Salary Survey, IT staffers and managers cite pay as their No. 1 (48%) and No. 2 (46%) workplace motivators. In the last year, 41% of professionals reported a raise of up to 5%; 15% said they received a raise of between 5% and 10%; and 1 in 10 of professionals reported a raise of more than 10%, according to our data.

"IT pros have stayed remarkably consistent in their satisfaction with pay and their jobs overall in recent years: Around two-thirds say they're satisfied or very satisfied, a bit less than one-fourth are neutral, and a bit more than 10% are dissatisfied or very dissatisfied," the report states.

But that's no reason to get complacent: Money is also the No. 1 reason that IT professionals look for a new job, according to 72% of IT staffers and 70% of managers. As the economy and overall satisfaction with the industry improve, more IT pros are considering their options.

Another data point: In our recent flash poll on IT salaries, more than half of respondents said they do not feel fairly compensated. See IT Salaries: Looking For Love.

This year, 42% of our salary survey respondents indicated that they are somewhat or actively looking for a new job, up from 39% in 2012. Higher compensation, more interesting work, and increased personal fulfillment top the list of reasons for both staffers and managers.

Mark Berger, senior technical recruiter at Steven Douglas Associates, says that while you may be tempted to jump ship if you're underpaid, you should consider asking for a raise first.

"Have a conversation with your manager before you make a change. Employees sometimes don't see the value in their own work and think the only way to get an increase in pay is to look elsewhere," he points out. While sometimes a move may be the right choice, it's not your only option.

When a new job is on your horizon, prepare yourself for the inevitable negotiation -- and counteroffer. "Counteroffers happen more and more these days as employers really do value the talent they have," Berger notes. "They don't want to lose a good employee for a few thousand dollars."

Obtaining the salary you deserve -- whether it's through a raise or negotiations at a new employer -- requires that you prepare and research accordingly, then follow smart tactics. These 10 tips from industry experts will help you succeed. What's your salary negotiation advice? Share with your peers in the comments section.

Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior ... View Full Bio

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Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 11:48:29 AM
Re: Big Bump
In this case, my manager was new to the position and was not responsible for my pay so i didn't hold it against them! I am not sure how much attention they'd paid to individuals' salaries before my situation occurred -- or whether this manager reviewed others' salaries to see if there were similar situations. 
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 9:42:39 AM
Re: Getting creativewhen a raise is not an option
Working from home a day or two per week is a nice perk. Especially if you take three trains like i do to get to work. And with a rail strike looming, that is an important option for me.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 9:33:07 AM
Re: A rising tide lifts IT's boat
I agree with you there SaneIT. It is one of the reasons I worked so hard at my last job to try to get someone to listen to me. Unfortunately sometimes you just have to make the move and hope things work out for the best.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 9:31:14 AM
Re: A rising tide lifts IT's boat
I cannot agree more on your points - salary  is definitely not the only reason to change a job. Moving around frequently is not a good  idea. By moving around you get raise to your  salary but you need to start  everything from scratch. You need to get familiar with the new business  and build new network. Except there is good reason in addition to money,  moving for higher pay is definitely not a wise choice.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 9:28:59 AM
Re: Other advice?
Actually on my last job i did the same thing as Alison and Progman2000 but got nowhere. I had been with that company for about 3 years, grossly underpaid with a slew of accomplishments that were easily identifiable. In fact I did so much that my boss at the time recommended me for promotion to VP in 2 departments. Of course the company policy was NOT to promote from within and I got neither of those positions. The paper i wrote documenting all my accomplishments, ROI to the company, etc went nowhere. The CIO would not talk to me, the CEO would not talk to me (despite promising to do so for quite some time) and i stopped going above and beyond. Eventually i left that company. Now I finally got a salary commensurate with my experience and I don't look back. The point of this post is to illustrate that it is not a slam dunk case when you write such documents and just ask. It really depends upon the management culture of a company.
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 7:22:09 AM
Re: A rising tide lifts IT's boat
There's an old saying, the biggest raise you'll ever get is when you walk through the door.  I've seen this hold true over the years.  If you are willing to hop jobs it is possible to increase your pay by moving around.  I'm at the point where I'd rather not hop jobs just for higher pay, I'd like to settle in and be paid a fair wage when compared to regional averages.  I think that longevity at a job brings things that money cannot.  In IT having deeper roots in a company means many things go more smoothly because you understand the business and they understand you.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2014 | 10:16:52 AM
Re: Getting creativewhen a raise is not an option
@Kristin Burnham,

Training. Because I'm PMP certified, my company has funded all my training needs so that I can keep up my PDUs.... that when you sume up 60 hours worth of courses, it racks up fast.

Another fringe benefit has been have days off that don't count towards PTO, so that's good too.
Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
7/1/2014 | 9:16:45 AM
Re: A rising tide lifts IT's boat
Well, here in China one good way to get salary increase is changing the job. For IT industry on average you will  get 20% - 30% increase. But I do agree on the points in this post. The competence and skill are the foundation for asking raise but the tactics such as proper positioning, doing more research, etc. are also quite important.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
7/1/2014 | 9:07:04 AM
Re: Getting creativewhen a raise is not an option
@mejiac Exactly. Asking for something like a more flexible schedule still puts more money in your pocket, but in a more indirect way. Less time spent commuting = less money spent on gas and an increase in productivity, which ultimately benefits the business, too. 

What other creative benefits have you negotiated in lieu of a pay raise?
kbannan100
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kbannan100,
User Rank: Strategist
7/1/2014 | 12:24:23 AM
Re: Getting creativewhen a raise is not an option
I think it's also worth asking to offload some of the more mundane, time-consuming IT tasks, moving them into an IT-as-a-Service model. By removing rote, annoying tasks you as an IT person can spend more time doing work that's exciting and at the same time raise your visibility.


I wonder if some people are being held back because management doesn't see their roles as crucial. Even those in managerial positions may have trouble making the case for a raise if they are stuck doing commodity-like IT tasks.


--KB (Me: http://bit.ly/1iMdSE5  )
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2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
2014 US Salary Survey: 10 Stats
InformationWeek surveyed 11,662 IT pros across 30 industries about their pay, benefits, job satisfaction, outsourcing, and more. Some of the results will surprise you.
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