You may think you deserve a raise. But does your boss agree? With performance review season behind many tech workers, some of us may be feeling victorious after a great review and the compensation to match, while others may be disappointed if we did not get the pay boost we hoped for. It may not feel like it, but the economy is still making a slow recovery from the recession.
So if you have another year ahead of you until the next round of annual reviews, now may be the perfect time to assess whether you’re going to get that raise you need. We don’t mean to be a bummer, but if you see any of the following signs, it may be time to change your habits or seek new opportunities elsewhere.
1. Your Expectations Are Too High
According to Mercer’s latest data, the average 2017 salary increase budget for high-tech companies will average at just 2.5%. This means that if you currently earn 100K, your annual performance-based raise will likely be somewhere in the range of $2,500. Enough to maybe cover a month’s rent in the Silicon Valley, but perhaps not the life-changing windfall you were hoping for. Unless you are one of your company’s top performers and your boss regularly beams about the quality of your work, you may want to reassess your expectations of getting that fat raise. More than likely, the majority of your peers aren’t getting one either.
2. You Don’t Show Up
They say that 70% of life is just showing up. Even if you’re lucky enough to work for a company that supposedly offers “unlimited” time off, don’t be too quick to take advantage. If you’re the guy or gal who seems to catch every virus, whose personal emergencies conveniently happen on Mondays or Fridays, or who takes advantage of every opportunity to work from home while your colleagues are in the office, don’t expect a substantial pay increase come performance review time. Even if your boss doesn’t admonish you for it and your performance is adequate, being an absentee employee can make you forgettable, or even expendable in favor of your coworkers who are more present.
3. You Don’t Build Relationships
Contrary to what you may have learned as a child, sometimes being the best at your job just isn’t enough. Sure, you may write gossamer strings of code that would make the late Steve Jobs himself beam, but if you’re not personable, your great work could be overlooked. This doesn’t mean you have to be the office clown or suck up to the boss. However, relationship building is one of the most important soft skills a tech professional can develop. Make an effort to get to know your coworkers, ask them how their daughter’s science fair project is coming along, or about their vacation plans. Better yet, help people brag about themselves and win their loyalty forever. Not only will you coworkers like you more, but it will also give you a boost in your boss’s eyes.
4. You Don’t Go Above and Beyond
Yes, you’re paid to do your job. But does your job performance go above and beyond or do you just coast? Going the extra mile not only adds value to your work, but it can also nicely pad your wallet. Don’t be the employee who cranks it out and washes their hands. Taking the initiative and giving your personal best to every project shows your boss that you won’t miss important things and that you care not just about improving your career, but also the organization for which you work.
5. You Miss the Mark
To quote the smooth R&B stylings of Brandy, “almost doesn’t count.” Not only is this true for romantic relationships, but also in the workplace. If you find yourself frequently asking for deadline extensions, having to redo your work for errors, or having to reschedule things, it may be time to reassess your time management and work habits. While you may not think so, your boss probably notices and will take it into account during salary negotiation.
6. You Don’t Present Well
It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people neglect personal care and appearance in the workplace, but it happens more than we think. While it’s easy to overlook, taking care of hygiene and appearance is just as important as your work performance for how others perceive you. If you frequently forget to shower, brush your teeth, or apply deodorant every day, there’s a chance it could count against you when it comes time to decide if you get a raise. While you don’t have to look like you jumped out of the pages of Vogue or GQ, appearance does matter. Even if your company doesn’t have a dress code, try to keep your clothes neat, tidy, and well-maintained. As they say, “dress for the job (and the salary) you want.”
7. You Aren’t Agile
Are you always learning new skills and looking ahead for developments in your field? Or do you feel stuck in a rut and has it been years since you’ve acquired a new skill? If you’re not foreseeing helpful things on the horizon or learning new competencies, the chances are that your boss will pass you over in favor of your colleague who is. Managers want employees who will be their eyes and ears on the marketplace, be that person and share your knowledge with leadership.
8. You Feel Like a “Lone Wolf.”
This tacks on to what we previously discussed about building relationships. Even the most independent workers need help from time-to-time, so it’s important that you call on your colleagues for assistance when you need it and offer your support in return. Failing to do so could make you look anti-social and could cause salary-impacting performance issues down the line. Even if you’re fortunate enough to work remotely (a dream for many techies), be sure not to shut yourself off; pick up the phone, and make an effort to interact with your team however you can.
9. You Are Negative
You may perform your duties with utmost confidence, but do people like working with you? There’s no better way to turn off colleagues and bosses than by bringing a negative energy to the workplace. If you find that people avoid you or that things you say make others cringe, it may be time to assess your attitude and make sure you are not carrying negativity to work. No company wants to reward a wet blanket, don’t let your vibes take money out of your pocket.
10. You Don’t Ask
Still think you deserve a raise? Then you need to ask. For many, the idea of asking for more money may be fraught with fear, but it doesn’t have to be. As you can see from this blog, doing high-quality work is the best leverage you have when requesting a pay increase, but there are other ways you can support this goal as well, which we’ll discuss below.
The Bottom Line
Today’s economy is showing signs of recovery, but worker’s salaries have not risen much in spite of this. This is disappointing news and may put managers on alert to be less forthcoming with wage increases this fiscal year. However, there are things you can do to help your efforts if you suspect you’re not first in line for a raise. Paysa is an excellent resource for salary negotiation and staying current on trends in your industry. We have real-world case studies, expertly sourced content, and data drawn from millions of companies to help you get the salary you deserve. Our blog is a great place to start to learn more about your career prospects, and we also offer several other resources to help tech employees make educated and informed decisions about their career.