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Request for a promotion in an unstable market

As an employee, it is natural to be concerned about the financial health of your company. If the company you work for is doing well, there are probably more opportunities for everyone to get what they deserve. When the company you work for is not doing well – due to a global pandemic and the ensuing economic recession, for example – it becomes a little more complicated to ask what you make.

Even if you are long overdue for a raise or promotion, it can be difficult to ask for more money when business is bad. A weak economy also gives your employer a ready-made excuse to decline your request. But even if the timing isn't perfect, you have a right to ask what you deserve. It may take a little more finesse to get your employer on board. That's why we've put this guide together to help you make the best possible case.

How to ask for a raise during a recession

Negotiating a higher salary during a recession is still acceptable, especially if you are underpaid or offer much more value than expected. Many companies continued to grow and profitable during the recession. So you shouldn't feel bad about asking for more money.

Here are the best steps to take when negotiating:

Gather relevant data

Before you start negotiating, you need to find out what you can realistically expect. Use data from sites like Glassdoor,, and Payscale. Most of these sites allow you to filter salaries by location, education, and experience to find a custom number.

For example, if you live in Columbus, Ohio, consider trying to find salaries from similar sized cities in the Midwest. Higher cost of living like New York or Los Angeles could skew the data. If you're having trouble finding salary information, reach out to your local network and ask for opinions on a fair salary for someone in your position.

Be careful when asking for more money because your employees are making more than you. When there is only one or two other people in a similar role, it can be easy for them to come out as the ones who shared their salary information. This could make it uncomfortable for them. In any case, you still need objective data to secure your request.

When there are dozens of people in similar roles in your company, you can be honest and say that you have discovered that you are underpaid.

Prove your worth

Tori Dunlap from Your first $ 100,000 teaches negotiation workshops and courses. She has helped women collect $ 400,000 more in salaries and benefits over the course of their careers. She said the key to a successful negotiation is showing your worth with accurate numbers. Did you make more money for the company? Go beyond your job description? Did you save money for the company? Take responsibility from a colleague who has left?

When Dunlap worked as a social media manager, she campaigned for a raise by showing how much money she saved on ad sales by directing organic traffic to her employer's website.

Take some time to find out how you've contributed to the company. Ask someone familiar with your job if they have any suggestions. A better understanding of your worth will also help you feel confident in your request, knowing that you are worth it.

Change your mindset

It's easy to think of a negotiation as an old-fashioned argument between two opponents, but you don't need to see your manager as an opponent. Instead, think of this as a conversation between two people trying to solve a problem.

"When you approach a negotiation, approach it with grace and gratitude," said Dunlap.

This attitude is especially important in a recession when so many companies are being forced to shed jobs. Before you start your inquiry, indicate how much you enjoy working there.

Ask for the correct number

A basic rule for negotiation is to ask for more money than you actually want, e.g. B. $ 60,000 if you're happy with $ 50,000. Most employers will bargain down, so it's important to start with a higher number.

Instead of asking for a specific number, Dunlap says it's better to specify a range. This gives the employer the feeling of having more choice. For example, instead of asking for $ 75,000, ask for $ 72,000 to $ 77,000. The online salary data is often given as a range. So it makes sense to formulate your request this way.

Dealing with rejection

If you're denied an increase, try negotiating other perks like extra paid vacation days. Dunlap said one of her favorite perks is an educational grant for classes, conferences and workshops. That way, you'll learn more skills that you can add to your resume at no additional cost. You can also try negotiating a more prestigious title, which will make it easier to find your next job. For example, if you are currently a junior accountant, ask if your title could be an employee accountant instead.

If your employer says now is not a good time to increase, ask if there are some metrics that will guarantee an increase in six months if met. For example, if you can meet a specific sales target in six months, you will be eligible for a $ 10,000 increase.

There is also the possibility that your employer may not be receptive to any negotiation, even if you are a highly productive employee who is significantly underpaid. This type of negative, final reaction is an important red flag. "If they aren't ready to speak to you, they won't see your worth for the rest of your time there," said Dunlap. "So it might be time to look for another job."

For your next offer, make sure to use some of the tips above to negotiate your starting salary and benefits.

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Zina Kumok (114 posts)

Zina Kumok is a freelance writer who specializes in personal finance. As a former reporter, she has covered murder trials, the Final Four, and everything in between. It has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth, and Time. Read how she repaid $ 28,000 in student loans at Conscious Coins in three years.


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