Saturday, January 12, 2008

How I Increased My Salary by 37% in One Year Without Changing Jobs

This year, I am very proud of the fact that I was able to increase my annual salary by over 37%. I blogged about my 18% raise earlier, but that was only a portion of my salary increase for 2007.

My company does its year end raises in the first quarter, so I didn't obtain my raise for my performance in 2006 until 2007. I had been unhappy about my salary at the company for some time and I let my bosses know about it. I was not happy with my year end raise for 2006. Although it was more than the 3-4% cost of living adjustments most people were getting, I knew that I was performing much better than average and that I was underpaid. When my boss told me about my pay increase, I thanked him for letting me know, but I also let him know that I was not happy about my current salary. As a high performer for my level, I expected to be paid as a high performer (rather than as an average or low performer).

I kept open communication with my bosses throughout the year. My work performance was fantastic throughout this time. One of my supervisors broached the idea of an out of cycle adjustment - basically a pay increase that was not tied to our annual reviews or promotions. Of course I embraced this idea with open arms, but this took a long time to happen. In fact, I think we first discussed an out of cycle adjustment in 2006, knowing that my year end salary increase would probably put me on par with or even still below my colleagues at my level, rather than near the top. In the end, it took almost a year for the adjustment to be presented and approved. By then, I wasn't expecting anything and I was hoping that my promotion would eradicate any salary inequities.

When I was promoted later that year, I got a good salary increase to go with it, at a higher than expected level.

Here's a summary of how I was able to increase over 37% from January to December. Remember it's a lot easier to get a large jump in salary when you start at a lower salary compared to your colleagues!

1. I started out underpaid and overperforming compared to those with the same job duties.
2. I got a year end adjustment for 2006 performance that was above what an average performer received, but it did not make up for my salary inequity.
3. I did not let my unhappiness with my salary affect my performance.
4. I kept up open communication with my supervisors, helping to lead to an out of cycle adjustment. I talked with my supervisor about what my options were for getting a fair salary in an very open and honest fashion. We even discussed that I might need to leave the company in order to get market value, but I never applied to any jobs last year since I was still very interested in further growth at my current job.
5. I helped the company increase revenue. This was key since there was a fair amount of revenue that could be directly attributable to me. This was rather unusual for someone at my level and it came right around when I was promoted, helping me to earn my atypically large salary bump with promotion. Anytime you can show your boss solid numbers of how you earned the company more revenue or reduced costs, I think that's merits for some sort of reward for you. Revenue is usually looked upon more favorable than cost reduction since you can only reduce costs so much.
6. I was patient and was working there with a lower than market salary for over a year. Sometimes this works to your advantage, sometimes this doesn't. In my case, it paid off with more money, a promotion, more responsibility, and more confidence.

I'm sure others have tips on how to increase your salary. Of course, for most people, finding a new job with a competitor is a sure way to increase your salary. How have you been able to increase your salary?


living off dividends said...


Father Sez said...

Well done.

May 2008 be equally, if not even more, rewarding

ChampDog said...

Well done! 37% is really a lot. I think in U.S. the average increment is about 7% or less, is it true? As for my company (U.S based), being a top performer won't be very rewarding because the difference is about 3-5% from the average. So, the effort that you put in doesn’t really correlated with your raise. I think you have proven yourself that the company cannot live without you. Congratulation!

sfordinarygirl said...

That's really incredible and amazing! I really admire the way you approached increasing your salary and being a high performer. It must've been hard work but it paid off clearly.