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Does More Work Get a Raise?

Does More Work Get a Raise?

How do you negotiate a raise?

Alison Green | Ask A Manager

A reader writes:

My coworker is leaving in two weeks, but my company has a hiring freeze and will not be able to hire anyone for some time, which the HR department has not specified. The head of my department is planning to ask me to take on some of my coworker’s duties in addition to my regular, full time duties. I heard about this in a very informal meeting with my supervisor, who wanted to get an idea of if I would willingly take on the additional duties.

I asked about a raise and my supervisor said that she didn’t think to even ask because of our budget crunch. No one in the company has had a raise for last year or this year. I think that I should get a raise because I will have to be trained to do this co-workers duties, the job is usually filled by someone with a Masters degree (which I do not have), and because I am doing extra work.

I’m just out of college, and I feel like this job is a good fit for me because it is in my chosen field. I’ve been in this position for about six months. I would prefer a raise (who wouldn’t!), but if I wasn’t offered one, I suppose I would continue to stay and do the extra work.

So, my questions for you are: Should I have even asked about a raise? If so, how much should I negotiate for? If I cannot get a raise, would it be appropriate to ask for something not monetary, like more vacation/personal days? And, is there something here that I’m missing or not thinking of to do or ask about?

This is happening at companies all over the place, as the economy makes hiring freezes and layoffs widespread. And the reality is that as staffs shrink, the remaining employees have to pitch in and pick up additional work, and raises rarely come along with it.

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing in it for you though. In fact, this sounds like a very good thing for you, because this is how people get promoted: by taking on new responsibilities, increasing their skills, and proving themselves at something beyond what they were originally hired to do. And if it doesn’t eventually get you promoted at this company, it’s going to help you when you’re looking for your next job somewhere else.

So I think you should be looking at this differently: Six months out of college, you’re being given higher level responsibilities in your chosen field. This is something to be excited about.

And as for the raise, this is how people eventually get them — not at the start, but later on, after they’ve been successfully doing the new work for a while and have shown that they do it well. I wouldn’t push the raise issue now, when the company is in tight financial straits. (And when the rest of the country is too, meaning that more experienced people would likely line up to do your expanded job, and probably for less than you’re currently making.) Instead, now is the time to jump in and prove yourself. Eight or 12 months from now is the time to ask for compensation that reflects what you’ve accomplished, when you can point to a track record of doing well.

So tell your boss you’re excited about the opportunity for new responsibilities and go prove yourself. Then later on, at your next salary review, you’ll have plenty to point to in support of your case for a salary increase then.

Seriously. Think long-term on this one.

Quiz: Are You Earning What You Deserve?