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Background

Since April, I've been at my current job with a midsize company (I have almost 10 yrs experience in total before this job - stayed 4 and 5+ years in previous companies). My coworker, who has been with the company for about a year, just resigned on Friday. We are the only two people in the company who have our specific skillset that we were hired for. Our skillset is not actually that rare in my experience, but by the admission of my boss and my boss's boss, the company has a lot of difficulty attracting qualified candidates and retaining employees. (I can tell.)

When my coworker resigned, our boss panicked and called us both into a meeting where we went over everything that had to be transitioned from my coworker to me. After this, my boss had a meeting with just me where I was praised repeatedly and was told that I was "appreciated" and that the company had a hard time hiring people like me (which I already knew per above). It sounded like my boss was scared I'd also quit (I've been looking, which my boss does not know, but the perception is correct).

Me

I have only been at the company for about 7 months, so I don't have a huge amount of accomplishments. I have had good reviews so far and I receive praise from my boss and my boss's boss. I'm certainly in good standing - or slightly above good standing - but I'm not an outstanding performer.

Question

Once my coworker departs (after the notice period), I would like to negotiate a raise. This will also coincide with my year-end review in mid-December.

When negotiating a raise, you need a list of your accomplishments so you can explain why you are worth more to the company. I will put together a list, but the real reason I'm worth more to the company is that I will soon be the only person with my skillset at the company (and the company has difficulty hiring replacements (on top of existing vacancies that go unfilled for 1-2 years (you read that right))).

This is different from the typical situation of asking for a raise because the primary reason my value has increased is that my coworker has resigned.

With that in mind, how can I leverage my coworker's departure into a raise?

  • Do you know how much your coworker will be earning at his new company? Maybe you should ask him. Telling them how much he's earning at his new company would send them the message. If you can't get that information, take a look on glassdoor. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 24 '19 at 22:38
  • My coworker will almost definitely be earning less than I earn because of less experience and a lower title (my coworker was "title" and I am "senior title"). Changing jobs gives you a bump, usually. But I got my own bump just 7 months ago when I started here. – notmySOaccount Nov 24 '19 at 22:43
  • Possible duplicate of How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid? – gnat Nov 25 '19 at 7:05
  • I don't think the duplicate is directly applicable here, it seems like this question is quite a bit more specific and could benefit future readers in the same situation with individualized advice. – Magisch Nov 25 '19 at 13:39
  • That question is not a duplicate because the central premise is off. That person feels underpaid. I do not feel underpaid. I only think I can be paid more due to my coworker's upcoming departure. I'm already paid competitively. – notmySOaccount Nov 27 '19 at 21:38
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I fully agree with the answer given by Kilisi. However, I'd like to extend that by adding another point of view.

Once my coworker departs (after the notice period), I would like to negotiate a raise. This will also coincide with my year-end review in mid-December.

You have an added advantage, as the natural performance review cycle is around the corner. I'd suggest, not to rush now, but make sure you utilize the time prepare the groundwork for your arguments for a raise.

My advice: Never make a discussion of pay-revision / raise based on somebody else, make it about you and yourself.

Read the below paragraph in full, then, re-read it without the parenthesized statements. The former is the reality, and the latter is how you want to present that (to your manager / superior).

Over and above the existing responsibilities, now you also need to handle more, as:

  • In the given scenario, your role and responsibility just got bumped. (because someone else left the organization).

  • You need to handle more workload and deliver more work. (as there is reduction of 50% resource). Show them the difference in accomplished work - between the timelines, before and after your colleague left.

  • You'll be contributing to the training / knowledge transfer / induction of a replacement, if hired. (There's no helping hand for you who can share the load)

Given the points, you can focus on the value addition to the organization done by you, and express that you want to have a higher salary negotiated based on your contributions.

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  • This was an amazing answer! The two ways of reading should give people a lot of insight on how to present themselves. Management is certainly aware of the points in parenthesis, so by not saying it, you look like more of an angel rather than someone taking advantage of the situation – Mars Dec 9 '19 at 2:26
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With that in mind, how can I leverage my coworker's departure into a raise?

By outlining your increased responsibilities. Basically you don't have to do much except give the amount you feel you need to stay working there plus a bit extra so you have room if needed.

The less rationalisation you need to do at that point the better. But have your arguments prepared in case it becomes a negotiation rather than them just agreeing. They already know you'll be very difficult to replace at short notice. So that's a given, what they don't know is if you're ready to leave.

At the end of the day that's your strongest bargaining point.

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