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Ask for a raise! HR expert says Texas bosses are more open to conversations about pay raises than he's ever seen

A tight labor market and well-earning new hires might make your next raise request a success.

DALLAS — As I recently reported, more than half of executives recently polled by Robert Half acknowledged "pay compression" was happening in their workplaces. 

Refresher: Pay compression happens when there are far more jobs available than people applying for them, so companies increase their offers to outbid competing companies and land new employees. 

Sometimes that leads to new employees making close to, as much as, or more than existing employees. Some of you don’t need the refresher. You totally remember this because you are totally living it. 

"The new hires are making more than me"

After my recent pay compression report I received messages from people experiencing this in their offices. One woman, who said she had been with her employer for five years, lamented, “The new hires are making more than me. My hourly wage was raised 50 cents only."  

A man messaged me, “This is happening in my company as we speak, and I can’t stand it”. 

I reached out to Thomas Vick, regional director for global talent solutions at Robert Half. He shared four important takeaways:

  1. Pay compression is worse in North Texas because our unemployment is especially low and because in places like Silicon Valley, large employers are poaching workers in North Texas and paying them well to do remote work. 
  2. Some salaries are rising so fast that you might be justified in asking for more pay even if you were hired as recently as 12 months ago.
  3. Vick says pay is rising so rapidly that companies that review salaries annually should now be re-evaluating quarterly instead.
  4. In his 16 years of dealing with lots of Texas employers, Vick says bosses here are more open to raises than he’s ever seen. 

How do you go about asking for a raise?

I asked Vick for some advice on getting that raise, and we discussed quite a few things. Let’s make another list: 

  1. He says keep your raise request fact-based and as free from emotion as possible. Translation: Nobody wants to see you cry or hear you yell when you’re asking them to pay you more. 
  2. Practice your presentation with someone close to you to make your raise request as concise, convincing, and smooth as possible. And make sure you are using the right tone. A good attitude throughout the negotiation is imperative, he says.
  3. Tout your experience and institutional knowledge in your current job. It’s hard to replace or train that into a new worker 
  4. Show them the money! Explain what you have done that has saved your company money or made them more money. 
  5. I asked Vick if it is possible to make the case that replacing you might be hard right now and that the raise you are seeking is far less costly than it would be to onboard and train someone new. He stressed that if you make this point, be sure you are doing it tactfully. 
  6. Vick says it is important throughout to be open-minded and flexible in the negotiation but throw out a number. Don’t just leave it up to your employer.

A tool that might help you know how much of a raise to ask for...

Some websites can be helpful for workers who are trying to determine what different employers pay for different roles. Vick says you want to make sure you are working with compensation data that is credible and current. He suggested that professionals check out the Robert Half Salary Guide

The guide is typically updated annually. But salaries are rising so rapidly that Vick said the guide recently received an extra update to keep up with pay trends.