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I got a nice 33% raise last year (my salary wasn't that high). Since then, I've taken up very important responsibilities for the company, and I am basically no longer a dev.

  • I founded a branch office in a foreign country.
  • I found the proper location for the office.
  • I hired people.
  • I coached them.
  • I set up the workspaces.
  • I am Scrum Master in one project, and I'm about to become one in a couple more.
  • I run the payroll, calculate invoices, meet legal obligations and whatnot.

I'm basically running this place. All of that applies only to the branch office.

How can I justify a 25% raise? I don't want my boss to think I'm being unreasonable, in case that I am.

This is a bit unique from the other raise questions here because I received such a large raise last year as well.

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    I think this question is a bit unique in that the asker just got another large raise the year prior and is hoping to get a nearly equally as large raise. The other question is a bit more generic and doesn't include such large raises in the background. I will edit to clarify this and (hopefully!) keep the question open. – enderland Jun 22 '15 at 22:43
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    Well, you need to do some market analysis and compare what you're making with the average salary in your market for other similar roles. If you are underpaid, and they won't budge, then send your resume out. I want to interview you right now! – Wesley Long Jun 22 '15 at 23:33
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    Regardless of percentages or last year's salary, you're asking for a specific amount of money. Are you worth it to the company? Can they find someone on the open market for less? Without your presence, is there someone else in the company that will be worse off without you? – user8365 Jun 23 '15 at 2:03
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    Get a more heavy duty job title and the matter of the raise kind of takes care of itself. – Vietnhi Phuvan Jun 23 '15 at 3:06
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    Why is this off-topic? It's not asking what to do or what's reasonable; it's asking how to make the case for a raise. – Monica Cellio Jul 9 '15 at 16:14
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Is it reasonable?

There are a variety of factors which will affect "is this reasonable or not?" Keep in mind a 33% raise followed by 25% raise is very not normal.

Also note that if you were at 50% market rate to start, you are only going to be at 83% market rate if you get both raises (0.50 * 1.33 * 1.25). If you were at 60% to start, after both these you are at market rate.

Being "justified" is the wrong question. Are you adding that value to the company?

How to get it

Questions to consider would be:

  • What does your boss make? If a 25% raise would put you over your boss, it will probably be seen as unreasonable.
  • What is comparable market rate? If your 33% raise put you at 75% of market rate for your role you may be able to get another large raise. Take a look here.
  • What are other employees paid? Most places don't want most employees to be about $X/year and another to be 1.5X as it is very bad for morale if that becomes public.
  • Are your responsibilities outside your "job responsibilities?" Maybe you need to get a promotion, ie formalize your title.
  • Does your boss know you are doing those activities? Doing them might not have given them visibility to your boss. Make sure this is happening, if so!
  • Are there other "levers" your boss can do? Maybe your boss has hands tied by policies/etc. Are there other things they can do to benefit you? More vacation? Working from home? etc.

I would approach this more from the perspective I outline in this answer.

You can help avoid the "omg you want another huge raise?" by following the process from the other answer:

  1. Have a conversation with your boss, "What can I do over the next 3-6 months in terms of additional responsibilities which would be reflected in an increase in pay?" Better yet, have a list of specific additional things you can do before this meeting and suggest them. Perhaps even have a printed 1-page summary you and your boss can go over.
  2. Do these and check in with your boss as you complete them. Make sure your boss knows you are accomplishing the additional responsibilities successfully.
  3. In a few months (3-6 probably) talk with your boss after having performed the responsibilities. This conversation should not be a surprise, after all, you initiated the "raise" conversation and determined what steps needed to happen for this, and have now done them. You've communicated them, executed, and now are looking for the followup.
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    I know several people who justifiably earn more than their manager, because they specialize in entirely different fields than their manager and effectively add more value to the company. The way you put it, it sounds more like you're concerned that the manager might get a dent in his ego by having someone under him who earns more? – freekvd Jun 23 '15 at 12:49
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    @freekvd if you look at the other posts from the asker, they were an intern not very long ago - it's very unlikely they have that skillset to make more than their manager. – enderland Jun 23 '15 at 15:16
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Given the complete change in job responsibilities it's hard to say whether a 25% or even a 500% raise isn't justifiable.

At this point you need to do a little research to determine what the pay scale is for the job you are currently performing - anything is possible. The pay scale might be more, less or even equivalent to what you are making.

Once you have that information, assuming the pay scale you identify is actually more, then justifying it is as simple as saying "Hey, boss, people normally make $X when doing this job. I think it's time for a raise."

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    I feel like your answer is one of those things that sounds simple and is the obvious solution, but kind of loses it's rationality due to us living in real life. – zfrisch Jun 22 '15 at 23:34
  • @zfrisch if i'm being honest - and assuming you keep that attitude- this is probably why you'll never make a lot of money (hint, i'm being honest). This answer is correct - from the sounds of it, 25% is too low, and further work is required on the OP's part to determine the proper rate. (One way to do so is to ask recruiters about the rate for the OP's role, the other is to check job boards for listings that sound similar). – bharal Jul 10 '15 at 21:23
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The point of this ISN'T "I had a raise last year, and I think I deserve one this year", the point here is that you are in a different role here, you are the manager of the office. Now it may be temporary until they hire a permanent person, in which case you are the ACTING manager, but either way you are currently the manager and should be paid to reflect that (now that's not to say the manager earns >= your salary+25%, but it should be at the market rate).

You need to talk to your boss, "remind him" of the role you now do, and suggest you feel you should be paid the going rate (and get the title) while you do the job (research how much that is so you don't accept a lowball offer). If your boss says no, then look to revert to your contracted role, they'll think twice when it looks like the payroll won't be done.

You could also talk to them about making it permanent if you're doing well and want to keep in this role.

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Usually in a case like this, the best way to get a raise is to ask that you be reclassifed to a new position and title. You are a manager not a dev and you should have the payscale that managers have. This is a promotion and you need to have that acknowledged and paid for.

The last time I did this type of thing, I went to my boss and said now that I am doing the tasks of a _______, I would like to offically be given the postion. It is often easier to justify a larger raise when you change job titles. HR generally has a payscale for each job that they try to stay within. The manager ones are generally (but not always) higher, so shoot for getting a promotion not a payraise.

  • from your mobile phone? – bharal Jul 10 '15 at 21:23

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