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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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Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
7/3/2014 | 12:28:33 PM
Job hopping
Good discussion here on money vs. longevity. There is indeed something to be said for growing with people as an individual and as a team.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/3/2014 | 9:46:13 AM
Re: A rising tide lifts IT's boat
When speaking with professionals over the years, micromanagement is one of the top peeves I've heard and one of the reasons many give for seeking alternate employment. If you're qualified enough for a position, once you've learned an organization's particular processes and preferences surely there's no reason for someone to oversee your every move! 
SaneIT
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SaneIT,
User Rank: Ninja
7/3/2014 | 7:42:12 AM
Re: A rising tide lifts IT's boat
@Alison_Diana, Autonomy is a big thing for me, I'm not one that does will with micro management nor do I manage that way.  Right now I have periodic meetings to give updates to executives but aside from that I run along at my own pace focusing on the areas I feel need attention.  I've worked in environments where I felt like I spent more time talking about what was going on than actually making things happen.  I feel like until you have established yourself in a position getting that autonomy is difficult.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 3:38:06 PM
Re: Other advice?
I am sorry there's a dearth of good jobs in your area, @tjgkg, and I admire your resolve to drive four hours round trip each day. That's absolutely incredible -- and shows your dedication to a job that doesn't sound particularly rewarding, given the way you've described it. I do hope the job situation improves in your area or you find a position at a company that allows 100% telecommuting, depending on what you do. 

On the good news front, it's not only research from InformationWeek that shows growing demand for technology professionals. I've seen several reports from a variety of different, respectable and unbiased researchers that all seem to say the same thing. Anecdotally I see a lot more job postings these days on both social media and email (i am on a few alerts). Of course, when you are unhappy at your job or unemployed, generalizations don't mean anything until you find a (better) position. Good luck.
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 1:41:01 PM
Re: Getting creativewhen a raise is not an option
Amazingly the place that I work at now frowns on working from home and they are an IT place! It takes me 2 hours each way to get to work every day. Working from home would allow me to use that time for work.  Even worse is that this place requires you to punch in and out like you are working at a pizza place when you were 15. Sorry, this whole subject has brought up a lot of sad things for me!
tjgkg
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tjgkg,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 1:36:14 PM
Re: Other advice?
@Diana: Silly is right. At my exit interview I brought up their no promotion from within policy and they denied it. After I brought up all the examples they finally conceeded that they were looking for "new ideas".  The paper I wrote formed the description of my time at that place on my resume. It is very difficult to find a decent position right now. The economy is not as robust as some of these strange reports would have you believe. In fact it is worse. Employers have the upper hand and they use it. And then there is age discrimination...
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 12:01:48 PM
Re: A rising tide lifts IT's boat
I'm with you, @SaneIT. Salary is important, of course, but it's not necessarily the critical issue. Autonomy; a career path; opportunities for growth; interesting work; supportive management and peers, and an organization who I believe in all play a role. There's also the comfort level that comes with knowing your organization. Sometimes it's time for a new challenge, to learn a new organization (or even industry), and sometimes it's not. I think, though, if you plan to move jobs that's definitely the time to get more money. It is probably the sole time you can request a more sizable salary increase!

 
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 11:56:41 AM
Re: Getting creativewhen a raise is not an option
Yes, that's a great perk that doesn't cost organizations a penny but has a terrific, beneficial effect on employee morale and loyalty. I know several people who have stayed at their current positions, in large part because they can work from home one to three days per week and/or have flexible hours instead of the typical 9-5 or 8-4.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 11:55:04 AM
Re: Other advice?
@tjgkg: Sorry about your experience but delighted you found a position at another organization that DID recognize your abilities and accomplishments. I'd imagine writing the paper at your prior employer was helpful as you interviewed for new positions, since you'd established ROI and other benchmarks for the tasks you'd done at the prior company. Bringing up a disparity in pay or proactively pursuing a promotion is dangerous. It can backfire and you must be prepared to leave if it does.

Those organizations that have a policy of never/always promoting from within blow my mind. It is so short-sighted to never/only consider candidates from a certain pool of individuals. Who knows the capabilities of the people within/outside your organization if you only look outside/within? Silly.
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
7/2/2014 | 11:51:07 AM
Re: Getting creativewhen a raise is not an option
Training is a terrific benefit, @mejiac, especially because it benefits both your employer and you if you choose to move on to a different organization. I'd add attending trade shows is another plus, too. You can see panel discussions, keynotes, and product demonstrations and also network among peers to make new connections, find potential new positions (if you want to leave your current job), and see how other organizations are addressing the challenges you're facing.
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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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