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My colleague has recently announced retirement soon from an already skeleton team. This means the team will be even smaller and more responsibility/pressure will be put on me and the other members of the team. I'm the newest member by a long way and learning a lot still.

With the extra work and responsibility is it appropriate to ask for a raise to recognise this? If so, at what point: Before or after the retirement?

More info: I am the least senior. There are two seniors above me. There will be no direct replacement for this person due to the unique skills they possess. The work will be divided between the rest of us.

  • 2
    Can you provide a bit more info about your work situation? How long you've been there, the roles of others on your team (are they all above you in the hierarchy), industry etc.? – user34587 Apr 30 '18 at 15:47
  • When you said "skeleton team", I thought you meant people doing this. – David Richerby May 1 '18 at 15:30
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I wouldn't consider asking for a raise or any other sort of recognition before you will be presented with new responsibilities and tasks. You cannot know for sure whether the company isn't planning to hire new team members, who will take over your colleagues positions.

When/if given more responsibilities, you should always ask for suitable recognition (whether this is a raise in your salary, or some other benefits). If you don't ask, the company might assume that you simply don't need it.

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    I think this is a great answer. I would emphasize one thing: The raise is related to the additional responsibilities you're taking on, NOT specifically to the fact that someone else is leaving. Your compensation is about the value you provide to the employer, it's not about the makeup or vacancies on the rest of the team. – dwizum May 1 '18 at 12:40
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I would approach it as "With a new team member leaving, I would like to ask for more responsibility and if possible an increase in pay as well" so it doesn't feel like a shakedown.

Offer to do more, so you can have a decent argument as to why you deserve more.

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    And with 99.9% probability they will take advantage of your desire "not to do something that feels like a shakedown" and will answer "Ok, these are your additional responsibilities. Oh and increase in pay in not possible, sorry". Business negotiations always feel like a shakedown, and you know there is a fair deal when both parties feel equally bad. – artem May 1 '18 at 4:29
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I've been on both sides of this type of situation.

In case #1 I was on the remaining team after a team-member unexpectedly died. We had a very strict deadline due to a regulatory requirement. In this case, we needed to get management involved, as there was no way we would meet the project deadline (and deliverables) without her specific expertise. Bringing in a contractor was expensive for the company, but there would have been greater penalties if we hadn't meet the deadline.

Case #2 was my position was "eliminated" (code word for I was getting too old). In this case, I developed a transition plan during my last several weeks to offload my work to the remaining team members. They came up with suggestions to management as to what could be completed with a smaller project team.

In your case, you will need to discuss with management new roles and responsibilities. Scope out with your management who is doing what that retiring team member was responsible for. This is a good time to discuss the team structure going forward. Do NOT discuss pay. Discuss pay after the new structure is in place and you're showing you can handle the additional responsibilities.

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It's too early for you to ask for a raise.

When negotiating a raise, you should be able to justify these points:

  • You're providing a value at least as high as the compensation you're seeking.
  • You're consistently providing high value and utility to the company.
  • You demonstratively meet deadlines and satisfy stakeholders.

Depending on how your company is structured, your peers may also have to validate these assertions.

You also haven't personally been given a lot of extra work yet; the responsibility of this person has been distributed between you and the rest of your team. Until you can clearly demonstrate that you're coming out ahead and producing at a higher rate even with the added work, it's just too early for you to ask for a raise.

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