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I will go on a 8 month paternity leave starting the same month my company gets a new CEO. The soon-to-be CEO has already started, but my current CEO will still work for a transition period until my leave starts.

My company (a consulting company) has approximately 20 employees and is fully owned by a listed company with approximately 500 employees. Neither us, nor the mother company are doing well at the moment, so I haven't received much of a raise the last few years. I believe I've gotten more than the others since I've done a good job, but it's very little and my real wage has not increased.

We don't have a large sales department, so we get many of our projects through our own contacts. The last years I've continuously gotten new projects, many from the same satisfied customer. It started as a small project, and I'm now close to 2000 hours. I've also gotten several smaller projects, some of which I've handed over to others.

The last couple of years I've been one of the most valuable employees, continuously getting projects in, and billing close to 100% of my hours.

My leave will start when our new CEO takes over, and end a little after we have our annual salary negotiations. I'm certain my current CEO would have given me a relatively good raise1 after some negotiation if he stayed on his job.

I will of course have salary negotiations, as everyone else, but he's only been in the company for a two months when I leave. What can I do in order to increase my chances of getting a raise? Can I do something before I leave (except continue to do a good job)?


Note: The new CEO knows about the small project that has almost reached 2000 hours and responded "That's very good!". I'm not so sure it's enough for me to negotiate with 10 months from now.

1 It will be less than the average used to be a few years back, but still more than nothing.

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    I believe the best move is to speak with the current CEO about your concerns, in order for him/she to speak with the new CEO and make it clear that you deserve the raise (or not) when the time comes. – Mr Me Sep 28 '16 at 12:24
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    After 8 months all your past credit will be water under the bridge. – Agent_L Sep 28 '16 at 16:46
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I think it's great that you get to take 8 months with your family.

However, it is an uphill battle to justify giving a full raise to someone who was gone 3/4 of the year.

The general idea behind yearly salary review is that that year of experience increases your skills, ability, and thus your value to the company.

It's going to be tough to argue that you are substantially more valuable to the company than you were last year with 1/4 year more experience and the rust of not using your skills or maintaining those important business contacts for 8 months. If you would normally expect a 4% raise, a 1% raise would be very fair.

Unless you have a convincing argument.

If you've done a ton more in the first 1/4 of this year than previous years, you could point to those trends. If you keep up your contacts over your leave and come back with some new work for the company, that helps your bargaining position.

The other thing to consider is an outside the box solution. Typically you negotiate salary during a set timebox. Maybe you could talk to the CEO before you leave about setting up a review several months after you get back. That way you get a chance to demonstrate to the new CEO just how valuable you are. (You'll also want to discuss how to get you back into the normal routine. You don't want your expectation to be a full raise in June 2017 and again in January 2018 while your CEO expects June 2017 and January 2019!)

I also agree with Mr. Me's comment. Talk to your current CEO, get his advice, and possibly leverage him in a conversation with the new CEO to put yourself into a situation for success.


Edit to add:

Note: The new CEO knows about the 300 hour project that has almost reached 2000 hours and responded "That's very good!". I'm not so sure it's enough for me to negotiate with 10 months from now.

What have you done for me lately? Executives are notorious for having short memories. That's a big part of why I recommended giving yourself some time to do something to prove yourself and/or coming back swinging with a new 2000 hour project on day 1.

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