Must I Settle For a 3 Percent Increase?

Share this article:
Tweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Email this to someone
email

Q. I 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.

The 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.

A. Your employer 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 performer.

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 was benchmarked.

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.

Good luck.

Hot Topics

Recommended Part-time Jobs during Coronavirus Outbreak

Want to know what part-time or alternative jobs are available during the new coronavirus outbreak? You can get some useful information from this article.

Epidemic Outbreak – Will I Lose My Job or Get a Decrease in Salary?

Because of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, people start to worry about salary, will they get a pay cut or even lay off during this period?

How Masks Can Protect You against the Coronavirus

Definite guide of finding the best mask to avoid getting coronavirus, learn how each type of mask will work for you.

Get a Salary Increase

Analyze the market and your qualifications to negotiate your salary with confidence.

Search Job Openings

Search thousands of open positions to find your next opportunity.

Popular Skills Learn More

Are you getting adequate pay for your skills? You may be able to ask for more with the right skills.

Popular Jobs Learn More

Popular Jobs – In demand and premium pay!

For Employers

Individualize employee pay based on unique job requirements and personal qualifications.

Get the latest market pricing for benchmark jobs and jobs in your industry.

For Employees

Analyze the market and your qualifications to negotiate your salary with confidence.

Search thousands of open positions to find your next opportunity.