I am approaching my first performance review and looking for advice on how to negotiate for a raise. Exploring sites such as Glassdoor, Paysa, Payscale, etc. have informed me that my base salary should be somewhere closer to 23% - 37% higher than what it is, based on my location, skill set, education, years of experience, and so on. I have a couple of acquaintances who are quite similar to myself with salaries in that higher range, so I know that these higher base salary estimates are reasonable.

Comparing my current title’s pay to others in my location using Glassdoor for instance, my base salary is still 20% below the average. If I look specifically for my current title’s average salary at my company itself, I am 7% below the average. It would be more realistic for me to achieve a raise, if at all possible, that would fall within the 7-10% range, and therefore this seems like a more realistic goal to try to negotiate for.

My boss recognizes the disparity between my job title and functional role, and does refer to me by my functional role in conversation with others. My boss has indicated to me that it took over a year for the company to finally find me (making me wonder why...), and this would imply to me he and his superiors have a great interest in retaining me. My boss almost biweekly asks whether I am happy, having fun, enjoying my work, etc. and he has told me that he would like to see me become a lead. He has multiple times indicated to me that my performance has exceeded his expectations, and his boss has also commended me on my hard work, which apparently is rare.

Do I negotiate within the context of my current title? Or do I negotiate from the context of my functional role? My challenge is trying to recover from being underpaid at my last job — getting hired at this current position was a 50% boost as it is, and the recruiter was unwilling to go higher (in spite of never divulging my previous salary). Other questions have been helpful to me for how to avoid being underpaid in the future, but my focus in this question is negotiation strategy when my title differs from my functional role.

  • Be prepared to hear that some moronic company policy forbids raises above X yearly (often X is as low as 10, 20%). Unfortunately, in many cases the only way to get the raise that you are looking for is to change the company. Nov 6, 2017 at 12:23

2 Answers 2


Do I negotiate within the context of my current title? Or do I negotiate from the context of my functional role?


Negotiate based on your value to the company and the future value you will provide.

  • 2
    Yep. Titles are also very company specific, so using that as vantage or negotiating arguments may not be too effective.
    – DarkCygnus
    Nov 6, 2017 at 3:04
  • 2
    Right: if you just put emphasis on the job title, they can simply change it. Stress what you do for the company.
    – L.Dutch
    Nov 6, 2017 at 6:44
  • True but "current & future values" are quite abstract and hard to argue in enough specificity to put numbers around it. Roles & titles are tools do exactly that: tie compensation numbers to work & value. Many companies have salary bands that are tied to a specific rank and the only way to get a raise above this, is to get higher rank first.
    – Hilmar
    Nov 6, 2017 at 13:46
  • 1
    So much this. Looking at other companies or even other employees at the same company is a losing proposition. If you want a raise, you'll have to argue to your own merits and value to the company. This is also the reason that getting a large raise is so hard when you're staying at the same company: they're used to you providing service X for pay Y and it's hard to convince them that they need to pay you Z for it now.
    – Cronax
    Nov 6, 2017 at 14:49
  • I am with Hilmar -- it is reasonable to say that my value is in part a function of say, sales that some marketing campaign of mine makes. We can quantify that and directly translate the value. How can I estimate the value that I provide by introducing advanced analytics to my team? By democratizing this information and mentoring others?
    – scmz
    Nov 6, 2017 at 16:43

Do I negotiate within the context of my current title? Or do I negotiate from the context of my functional role?

Think of a more extreme example, like you having a phd in chemistry and working on a drugstore selling aspirins, what salary would you expect?

Starting from this point, I think you should aim to ask a salary according to your responsibilities/knowledge needed, if you think that in your current position asking 10% is the most you can get but you want more, perhaps you should ask for a change in your position so a much higher raise is more reasonable. To sum up, even if salaries depend a lot of your relative value to the company, in order to make a reasonable offer, ask for a reasonable range for that position, for example: Position A(current): 7-10%. Position B(leader maybe): 25-35%. If you ask 35% for your current position you are more likely to get rejected

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