Now's a Great Time for IT Pros to Press for a Raise

Susan Hall
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2011 Salary Negotiation Tactics

Experts offer key pointers on approaching the subject of salary as the economy evolves in 2011.

With company purse strings loosening up after the recession and employers more worried than ever about keeping top talent, IT pros are in a better position than ever to negotiate a raise.


The trick is to understand the financial health of your company and the market value of your skills. That takes homework, and this whole conversation with your boss hinges on your preparation. Here are some resources to figure out your market value.



But this conversation should never be framed in the context of "I need to make more money" and should never mention what your coworkers make, according to this FINS piece. It should focus on your worth to the company, so that means going in prepared to talk about your business impact. Salary expert Norman Lieberman recommends making three lists:

  • Previous accomplishments.
  • Current projects.
  • What you plan to tackle in the next three to six months.


That FINS article suggests not waiting until performance review time. A good time for this conversation is just after you've done something impressive, it says.


If you have in-demand skills, of course you can command more, but your boss still might be willing to negotiate even if you're not an exceptional performer, according to The New York Post.


IT salaries have been flat or even cut in the past couple of years. According to InformationWeek's 2011 U.S. Salary Survey, the median total compensation raise for IT staffers was a mere 0.9 percent this year and 1.9 percent for managers. Though Travis O'Rourke of staffing firm Hays Specialist Recruitment Canada mentioned in this IT World Canada article predicts a 5 percent increase, it's hard to say whether that will apply to U.S. tech pros and across various sectors.


This post at American Sentinel University advises that you should speak last, after your boss states his needs or limitations. And if he or she cites a number, remember this is a negotiation, so you can put forth a counter-offer. And everything could be on the table: salary, bonuses, titles, vacation time, sick days, continuing education reimbursement, computer equipment and more. Even if the company doesn't offer you more money, you could land other perks.


If nothing else, make clear that you plan to press the issue, the Post article advises. It quotes Diane Katz, author of "Win at Work! The Everybody Wins Approach to Conflict Resolution" saying:

Ask your boss, 'What will it take? What do I need to do to earn more money?' Then make an appointment to speak with him or her again in three months.

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