• How much is enough?
      By Urmila Mandapaka, IT Consultant
      18 May 2015 

      how much is enoughThe other day I was speaking to a candidate, and nearly dropped my phone when the candidate mentioned he was looking for a 30% increment on their current basic (not to mention the additional variable bonus they were expecting as well)! I suppose we’re used to hearing people expecting a 20% raise, so this was out of the ordinary. This got me wondering: How much of an increment is a reasonable expectation? 

      Traditionally, the concept of receiving a salary increment happened for a variety of reasons. One of them would be to be additionally compensated for the fact that they are leaving a role and company where they have already proved their abilities, for a new environment where they would have to start from scratch. This goes together with the fact that they could also be forsaking any bonus already earned for the work that year. Further, if you think about it, if they had stayed on in their current company, chances are they would have received a salary increment anyway. In some cases, they are also probably taking on a bigger role, which would mean more responsibilities which means more work, for which it would seem fair to be additionally compensated. I think the biggest unquantifiable factor that contributes to the salary increment expectation though is that most people were probably happier in their jobs with their companies, and weren’t ‘actively” looking out for new opportunities. So, the additional money was thrown in to make the move seem that much more attractive, as these were highly sought after individuals. 

      Today though the tables have turned. More candidates are actively on the lookout, so employers have more choice when it comes to selecting the right person for the role they have and hence no longer need to pay the premium they were paying earlier. Yet candidates seem to just take it for granted, that if they are switching roles, than that means they would surely get at least a 20% salary increment. It’s like one of those customs or rituals we perform, not really knowing the reason for their origins or evaluating to see if that reason is still applicable. Similarly as recruiters, we just seem to take it for granted that every candidate should definitely get a 20% pay hike, very seldom spending any time to coach them on their expectations. 

      This brings me to my original question: how much of an increment is a reasonable expectation? There’s no one correct answer unfortunately, and it really depends on your own circumstance. Evaluating your circumstance boils down to a few things: 

      • What’s the real motivation for switching - If it’s purely monetary, then yes go ahead and ask for 30%. Chances are though that few employers would want to hire someone who is purely motivated by money, because that individual could just as easily turn around and do that to them in a few years’ time. 
      • How dissatisfied you are with your current role - If your role isn’t moving, if you aren’t expanding your skills, or learning new things, which is important to you, then look for the potential role that has that. If you are very dissatisfied with your current role, and there is a role that can offer you that satisfaction, then the money shouldn’t matter. 
      • What additional responsibilities the potential role has - We all love a new challenge and seek this more so than monetary benefits. If the potential role has a really big challenge though, and it means you’re going to be spending more time at work, away from home, then that is something you should take into consideration. This does require an understanding on the part of the employers to the same as well. 
      • What opportunities can the potential company offer long term - Part of moving is not just the immediate role but the potential opportunities in the future, which means evaluating the ability of the organization to help you move or explore other domains, rather than just having to stick to your own. If an organization can offer you long term career growth, then the additional money they can’t offer you in the interim shouldn’t affect your decision. 

      On average, I would say expecting between a 10-15% raise is reasonable but this isn’t set in stone. At the end of the day, no amount of monetary satisfaction can give you job satisfaction, so think carefully about what it is that really motivates you to work hard, and don’t let money stand in the way of that!