I settle for a 3 percent increase?
work in a hospital in Florida as a computer operator. Before this
I was a computer operator at another company for almost 20 years.
I am paid a salary of $19,406, well below the Computer Operator
I salary quoted in the Salary Wizard, $25,310. I really like the
company, the job, and the people I work with.
hospital management does not seem to care about what they pay their
staff. They are giving only 3 percent raises, and I don't think
they'd try to stop you from leaving if you asked for more. I am
a good worker, I work most of the overtime they ask of me, and I
am not out sick very much.
may have some catching up to do.
If your employer
is paying 3 percent raises in a down market, it's nothing out of
the ordinary. But if a 3 percent merit increase is typical for your
employer, you've been falling behind every year. Salaries move at
different rates every year, but typically by about 4.1 percent.
Inflation is low, but a 3 percent increase just barely keeps pace
with the changing cost of living.
It seems to me that
no one has recently adjusted your salary to reflect a competitive
market rate. Jobs have a fair value on the market, just like a car
has a Blue Book value. Your employer is paying less than the market
rate for your job.
There are several
reasons why an employer might pay less than market. First, the employer
may not know the market rate. That's unlikely, since most employers
use salary surveys to price their jobs, but it's possible. A second
explanation is that the employer's pay philosophy may be to economize
on labor. The organization may have severe budget restraints, or
be in financial trouble. The organization may keep raises down if
it is hoping to encourage voluntary terminations. Sometimes the
reason an employee is paid below market is that he or she is a poor
For whatever reason,
you are being paid below market. The good news is, when the HR department
makes a market adjustment to a job, it doesn't usually come out
of the same budget as the annual merit increases. You might be able
to negotiate for more without upsetting the internal pay structure.
If you'd like to
try, approach your human resources department and ask to see their
numbers on what your job should pay, and if their number is comparable
to the figure in the Salary Wizard, ask why you're being paid less.
If their number is lower, make sure to ask what year the salary
If your employer
simply won't pay more, you may have to decide which is worth more
to you: the pleasant working conditions you described, or the potential
to earn what your job is worth in another organization.
Erisa Ojimba, Certified Compensation Professional