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I got a raise
Old 03-19-2013, 12:45 PM   #1
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I got a raise

Last year, I finished a Master's degree in water resources engineering and hydrology all while working part to full-time at my current job. Took me 5 years to complete while working, I started with Calc I! I paid off all my student loans before graduating too!

I've taken on new tasks at work over the course of my degree. While I am not a water manager right now, what I do is all related and helps water managers make their decisions - a supporting role if you will. My position was finally re-evaluated for a salary adjustment.

I am happy I got a raise; it's a 17% increase. I was told before I even started the degree that I would get a raise as a result. But I guess I was thinking it'd be more based on titles, ranges and level of education.

There wasn't any bartering or salary discussion in this process. It's all up to HR (it's a university). My boss said he tried to plug how crucial I am, and how I'm the only one in the state that can do what I do right now (if I trained others, they would know, but currently it's only me).

So, be grateful I even have employment and got a raise? My husband feels I should march in there and announce that I'm worth more and feels I'm letting them walk all over me. He works for the same university but they are a different research entity and have their own HR system. I'm not sure it works the same here as over there.
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Old 03-19-2013, 12:58 PM   #2
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I am happy I got a raise; it's a 17% increase... My husband feels I should march in there and announce that I'm worth more and feels I'm letting them walk all over me.
If a 17% raise is "being walked all over" then my employer(if I had one) can walk all over me anytime they want. Congrats on the raise!
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:01 PM   #3
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Go in with data, not feelings. Try to find comparable nation wide. You may need to dig then adjust for local compensation levels if that is a factor.

There is a compensation site, I think it is salary.com, that will give an employee a free report. Give that a spin.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:03 PM   #4
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Go in with data, not feelings. Try to find comparable nation wide. You may need to dig then adjust for local compensation levels if that is a factor.

There is a compensation site, I think it is salary.com, that will give an employee a free report. Give that a spin.
That was the thing, there is no comparable data on what I do and that's what my boss tried to tell them because that is what HR would do. Only 10 people in the whole US (last I checked) have this specialty.

I did start pretty low salary wise.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:13 PM   #5
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I do other tasks that are more easily researched, so maybe they went off of those and not the specialty role. I will look the others up on salary.com.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:27 PM   #6
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Get information from each of the 10 (don't bother with salary.com), contact them personally if necessary.

Here is what to ask: years of experience in the field, degree because universities value that, current total pay (private industry pays bonuses sometimes), basic information about fringe benefits, type of employer (public, private, academic), location.

Put the info in a a spreadsheet. A regression analysis may not work with this small universe but give it a spin using years of experience and pay to see if there is a correlation.

To the extent possible find employees working for an academic institution as your employer is more likely to want to pay like them (it is an ego thing). If they claim that pay is lower in Utah ask them to show you that is true for your best match cohorts. It may be true if your cohort works for Stanford but not necessarily for the State of Washington.,

If your pay is lower than any of the others shame is a very effective tool. Your goal is to get increases at a rapid rate to at least the median pay of your cohorts.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:32 PM   #7
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Congratulations Gina, on the degree and the raise!

Now that you are finished with studying, you will have time to contact some companies that need your skills. You may not switch jobs just yet, but do some background research and find out what your skills are worth in the private sector. Assuming that your skills are worth more than your current earnings, I would suggest using the next year or so to build a portfolio of achievements that attest to your KSAs and then have a discussion with your University about "using it or losing it". Of course, if a great opportunity comes up in the meantime, you should be prepared, with a good CV and readiness for n interview.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:33 PM   #8
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Get information from each of the 10 (don't bother with salary.com), contact them personally if necessary.

Here is what to ask: years of experience in the field, degree because universities value that, current total pay (private industry pays bonuses sometimes), basic information about fringe benefits, type of employer (public, private, academic), location.

Put the info in a a spreadsheet. A regression analysis may not work with this small universe but give it a spin using years of experience and pay to see if there is a correlation.

To the extent possible find employees working for an academic institution as your employer is more likely to want to pay like them (it is an ego thing). If they claim that pay is lower in Utah ask them to show you that is true for your best match cohorts. It may be true if your cohort works for Stanford but not necessarily for the State of Washington.,

If your pay is lower than any of the others shame is a very effective tool. Your goal is to get increases at a rapid rate to at least the median pay of your cohorts.
That's an idea. I can contact the Finnish company that does all the training and ask for the US contacts. It would be interesting!
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:42 PM   #9
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Meanwhile, I'm still going to celebrate!

They will even backpay me to the first of the year!
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:49 PM   #10
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Cool!

Keep in mind that HR may have compensation increases that your department must work within. Compensation within organizations is data driven.
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Old 03-19-2013, 01:54 PM   #11
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Cool!

Keep in mind that HR may have compensation increases that your department must work within. Compensation within organizations is data driven.
That is true. I know at least for the annual COL raises my department is given a lump sum for everyone, and the director has to figure who gets 0.25% and who gets COL 3% raises and who gets an actual salary change. I was on the 0% end for 5 years.

That's something my husband's building does not do.
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:32 PM   #12
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Congratulations Ginadog. I've always had a great deal of respect for those who work full time and still make time to get an advanced degree. I never got around to it.

Brat - where were you when I was working? You have a calling in salary negotiations!
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Old 03-19-2013, 02:53 PM   #13
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I almost moved from Employee Relations to Compensation back in the day. I was a part of a broad band project so really got to know our corporate compensation staff and watch them work their magic.

The key benchmark is median pay for the set point. Those under the median got higher % raises than those above it. Salary range was rarely wider than 20% +/- the median.

When writing job descriptions it is important to note 'critical skills', those that make a difference to the employer vs what the employee may spend a lot of time doing.

The OP should take a look at her job description to see if it accurately reflects her new critical skill. Ignore job title, focus on the duties and responsibilities. The revised job description together with salary data is what she should present at her next negotiation.

One of the potential limitations in her situation is that she is in Utah with a husband who works for the same organization. Her employer may believe she can't/won't walk which is a difficult negotiating position. That is why shame may be a good tactic.
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:09 PM   #14
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Congrats gina dog!

I'm not sure where in Utah you are. My guess is somewhere in northern Utah. Regardless, I've found wages (and benefits here) to be lacking - both for men and women. For me, I'm underpaid by about $30k, perhaps more. Plus other benefits. Nonetheless, I'm still trying to decide if I am going to stay or go, but if I do stay, I'm ready to put the screws to them. The difference is, my wife is attracted to the area rather than somewhere like Denver. But, I'm ready to walk and can easily get a job somewhere else (for money, probably marginally better work environment plus better bene's) if I need to (and they pay for the relo). The point is, Utah companies, in general, screw you until you squeal. And then the people here take it, so they end up getting away with it. There's no point in saying, "people across the country are making this..." when you aren't going to leave anyway. Knowing your hubby works at the same place, and seeing you just got a 17% raise, I would say, "fine, take one of those other jobs".

A second point is, I would caution making the argument that only a handful of people nationwide do what you do. While I get it shows a low supply (and in your mind a should command a higher price), the other side of the coin is it may be in low demand (which you probably disagree with, and that is okay). I'm trying to point out how the powers that be can view your position.

Lastly, I would encourage you to work through your immediate superior. It sounds like he went to the mat for you. And perhaps he can help put you on a plan that gets you where you need to be in year or two. He should be working it out for you.

But, like I said, if at the end of the day they don't perceive you'll leave, there is no reason to give you a raise.

Again, congrats on the sizeable raise, enjoy and I hope you are able to get you perceive as fair. My hat is off to you for doing the full time work/part time school thing as well.
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Old 03-19-2013, 03:36 PM   #15
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That's an idea. I can contact the Finnish company that does all the training and ask for the US contacts. It would be interesting!

It is interesting.... but there is one thing when it comes to employement... what other options do YOU have

IOW, they can pay you a low salary (even if you are one of 10 people who know how to do something (seems strange to me that anything is this low, but hey)).... as long as you can not get another job...

I would think that is there are only 10 people who know how to do what you do.... the NEED for this skill is only 10 employers... (or there about)...

So, what really is your possibility on taking your skills to another company And getting better money to boot!!!

If the answer is 'not much', then they are not walking all over you...


edit... just read ronocnikral's comments... like mine... just want to say...
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Old 03-19-2013, 04:56 PM   #16
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Oh Congratulations Ginadog! I love to hear good news! Especially when it is deserved!
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:46 PM   #17
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Congratulations, Gina.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:30 PM   #18
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Congrats on the graduation and doing it with no debt.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:41 PM   #19
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Thank you! I have no idea how I managed work and school together, but I know enough to never do it again. Very, very difficult. I even went through a divorce during the first year of school. Kept the house, bought out the ex. Buying a home that one income could afford was crucial. The sale of that house (once I was engaged recently) is what paid off the the few students I did have.
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:25 PM   #20
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Go girl, go! Congratualtions!!!
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