I was recently asked by an anonymous user on Quora about how to negotiate a salary when taking a new position within a company. Here is that exchange.
How can I negotiate a pay raise that is over 20% when switching jobs? According to payscale.com, I currently make only 27% more than people like me (I am an Account Coordinator). I have 3 years of experience and a degree in my field. Last year, I received a 15% raise from my boss. This year, my boss has given me more work to set me up for a promotion, but politics within the company are making it difficult to give me a pay raise and promotion right away (which is part of the reason why I'm trying to switch jobs). The job I'm in the running for (Marketing Manager) appears to have salaries that start at a minimum $12,000 more than I'm making. Despite the fact that my qualifications have changed without being recognized by my current company, how would you suggest that I go about trying to reach the salary that I feel matches my experience?
When you say you make "27% more" than people like you, using Salary Comparison, Salary Survey, Search Wages, at Payscale, I take it that you mean you are in the 27th percentile (since that is how Payscale works). What that means is that 1 out of four people with the same experience and qualifications, in the same job and in the same location, make less that you. And almost 3 out of 4 people make more.
That is not ideal. (Let's set aside whether Payscale is accurate. It's the only data point we have, so we will use it for illustrative purposes.)
But all is not gloomy: Your recent 15% raise is good movement in the right direction.
Your boss may be a good guy/gal, but I am going to call "bullshit" on the statement about being qualified and set up and supported for promotion -- but that politics are in the way.
Has anyone else been promoted? If not, maybe there is a company-wide issue -- and while I wouldn't call the politics, it does suggest you are not alone nor is the problem you. But if anyone else has been promoted, remember this: They are in the same company with the same politics and culture -- and those politics didn't get in their way. Someone is not telling you the whole story, or you are not understanding the full picture. We need to know why "politics" is impeding you, but not the other guy/gal.
1. Get specific with your boss when asking about "the politics." The funny thing about "politics" is that it works both ways (for and against you).
2. Make sure you understand the mechanics of promotion.
Is it a committee? If so, who is on it? What does each person think of you? Don't know some of them? Then get to know them. Make sure they know you. Once you have a solid relationship with all the decision-makers, politely ask, in a non threatening way, what they would want to see from you, in order to be supportive of you getting promoted. This will take months, not days, to do, so be patient.
Is there a budget or limit on promotions? Who decides which people get put at the top of the list? Why aren't you there? Again, knowing those decision makers, understanding where they are coming from, and positioning yourself to fit the criteria they use are all key steps in getting promoted.
3. Is this Marketing Manager position what you want to be doing? Is it a logical expansion and growth for you? Would you do it instead of your current job, with no pay difference (the true test of whether it's right for you)? Or is this just a way to try to get a raise? That's not poison, but it does make it harder to be successful (both in getting the job, getting the raise, and in succeeding in the job).
4. Have you been offered the job? From your question, it doesn't sound like you have secured this position, but are already working on arguing for a larger salary. This sounds a bit like the cart is ahead of the horse.
5. Would your boss endorse you in this Marketing Manager position? Would your peers? Would your boss' peers? If not, you need to start working on these peoples' perceptions of you. You can call that "politics" but it's also "reality" and if you cannot manage perceptions, as well as organizational and social dynamics, these things will continue to undermine you -- even at the least political company on the planet.
No one want's to work with someone they don't respect, like, or trust. Building that respect, like or trust feels like "politics" but I urge you to build those qualities into your relationship. It's a part of how humans in groups thrive.
But now let's talk about some other mechanics behind the scenes:
You are in a classic quandary -- both from an employee perspective, and from a management perspective.
From an employee perspective, you are finding it tough to get paid what you think you are worth at your company. Have you considered looking outside? That might be the shortest path to what you seek.
From a management perspective, there is likely some reluctance -- even if you do eventually qualify for this new position -- to give you a raise immediately, since doing so for a large number of internal moves can set up a "poaching" environment where groups within the company inflate salaries and create so much internal movement that it becomes disruptive to the business.
The quandary for management, assuming you are valued employee they want to retain, is that they'd rather not set up a system whereby you are going to get a better salary by going outside the company. The quandary for you is perhaps less complex: Pursue a position that recognizes and rewards you for what you are worth, regardless of whether it's with your current employer.
But to answer your specific question:
If your company is large enough to have formal job titles and salary ranges, hit up HR immediately, to understand the difference in ranges and salaries between your old and new position. Just ask.
And if your company is too small to have an HR function, or you feel like you already have a solid, trusting relationship with the hiring manager, go ahead and ask her/him.
And if you have neither an HR org, nor formal salary ranges and job levels, and you don't have a solid relationship with the hiring manager, you may have to ask about salary AFTER you have been selected for this new position but BEFORE you accept it. (Asking before hand sets the wrong tone. They are looking for someone who will like doing the job and will do it well, not someone looking for a pay bump before they are even determined to be the best person for the job.)
Honestly discuss your needs, expectations and the market. And listen VERY closely to the answers you hear during such discussions. Even if you don't get the raise, you'll have gotten a job you want to do more, information about what it takes to move forward, and an opportunity to shine.
If that doesn't pay off with your current employer, it will at least turn you into a more valuable commodity when you are next in the market for a new position.