Negotiate a Pay Raise During a Recession? You Bet!
Can't ask for a raise during an economic downturn? If the recession doesn't stop insurance executives from increasing their own pay and benefits by more than 50% (to $13.1 million) why should it stop you?
WellPoint Inc. revealed Friday that it boosted . . . chief executive [Angela Braly's] compensation 51% last year, even as the health insurance giant prepared massive rate increases in California that embroiled it in a national controversy over skyrocketing health insurance costs.
The proposed rate increases of up to 39% in individual policies turned the insurer into a flash point in the healthcare overhaul battle, breathing new life into President Obama's effort at a crucial time in the debate.
Seems health insurance executives can't be enticed out of bed in the morning to do their job with any gusto in the absence of a yearly compensation package in excess of $13 million dollars. This information is not, I repeat not, meant to encourage you to do anything other than rethink your own place in the economic universe and say - screw the recession! Of course I'm entitled to a raise.
Congratulations to Ms. Braly, by the way, for cracking the glass ceiling so thoroughly that she can now rightly take her place among the men who brought you the most compelling stories of American greed since Gordon Gekko walked a Hollywood beach carrying a 4-pound cell phone.
End of Digression.
The point here is not greed. The point is this: you can justify a raise no matter what the economic climate and Gill Corkindale, former management editor of the Financial Times, and Harvard Business Review Blogger can tell you how below.
I recently met a coach who specialised in helping women executives get the pay rises they wanted. Even though they held senior roles, he said, many of them were unable to find the right words — or the right moment — to pitch for a raise. They still laboured under the assumption that if they did a great job, a great salary would automatically follow. His job was to help them understand their worth, build the case for a raise and find the confidence to go in to their boss and negotiate.
In my own practice, I have come across many exceptional women — and men — who find it difficult to ask for a raise. It is partly a matter of confidence, partly pride. Some find it distasteful to talk openly about money and highlight their value to the company. Others question their own performance when recognition and reward do not automatically follow their hard work. Employers are often prepared to exploit such discomfort. One of my clients, a very senior woman banker, demanded a raise only when she discovered that her peer's junior report was earning far more than she was — even though he had considerably less experience and responsibility. She told me that sheer fury had driven her into her boss's office to demand a raise.
Navigating the complexities of salaries is never easy, but it has become even more difficult during the economic crisis of the last two years. When your company is restructuring, shedding jobs, and making deep cuts, it is hard to ask for a raise. But it is especially important to look after your career during these times. So what is the best approach to getting a raise and managing your personal career capital?
The first step is good preparation and research: