Pay Raise After 1 Year at a Company: What to Ask For

Updated on August 30, 2018
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Katy mentors young professionals beginning their careers and financial journeys to make informed decisions.

You've only worked for a company for one year, so what's an appropriate raise to expect? Should you ask for a raise or just see what happens?

A proactive employee will ask for a raise after this first year and not leave it up to chance. But they go into the first pay discussion armed with a thorough justification for that raise.

Use this first year milestone to evaluate your career. Do this by gathering data about your performance. Learn how to have good discussions with your manager before the pay discussion about their expectations. Go through the process of updating your resume with the accomplishments from the new company, even if you don't intend to leave anytime soon.

This article will help you take those steps to put you in the best position to secure a raise, this year and the next.

When to Ask for a Raise During Your First Year

In large and medium-sized businesses, there is an established time to ask for a raise. This is during the year-end performance review. Since these are established times, it is not likely to line up perfectly with your start date. You will probably go into your first performance review with less than a year of experience and be wondering if you will get a raise this time. Then the second performance review you have with that company you will have more than a year under your belt.

So is the annual performance review the best time to ask for a raise? It probably is the best time to ask for a raise but certainly should not be the first time you're discussing performance with your manager. You really can't expect a raise if the first time you're discussing pay and expectations is at the annual review. Have a discussion well in advance of the review (6 months at least, if not immediately when you start) with your manager about what it takes to get a raise at the upcoming review.

Frame this discussion around what your manager expects out of you and how you can help the company. But make sure you come out of it understanding how that performance relates to an increase in pay. Write down the actionable items your boss has for you and come up with a plan with him or her to break the big items out into manageable chunks.

This plan is some of the documentation you will take with you when you ask for your first raise.

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How to Ask for a Raise

Asking for a raise after just one year can certainly be intimidating. Make it a little easier by discussing pay and performance frequently throughout the year so this is not the first time you're talking about salary with this manager. Engineers can read up on specific tips for asking for a raise in their industry.

Whether you are asking for a raise at a yearly pay discussion or in an ad-hoc meeting with your boss you want to keep two big items in mind. First, give your boss advance warning of what the discussion will be able so he or she can prepare. Second, come as prepared as possible.

You want to give your manager a heads-up about what you will be discussing. Ideally, you will have set expectations soon after you started working on what accomplishments would merit an increase in salary.

The preparation on your side will be a lot more in-depth. You want to capture the significant results of your action plan from the last year. Show beyond a doubt that you deserve that raise by showing in black and white how you contributed to business results.

Another important part of research is getting a good understanding of what it will take for your boss to actually give you that salary increase and how much is reasonable to expect. Your company probably has specific salary ranges for each position that scale based on experience. understand where you fall and what your boss will have to show in order to move up.

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How Much of an Increase to Ask for?

How much, exactly, should you ask for? This is going to range widely across positions and industries and ultimately come down to how much you contributed to the bottom line since you’ve been working there.

If you have hard evidence to prove you went outside your role to make processes more efficient, bring in new clients or otherwise increase profits go ahead and ask for a 5% increase in your salary.

If you have trouble connecting your performance during your first year to improvements to the business you might only be justified in asking for a 2-3% raise.

These percentages are pretty ballpark but should get you started. They are slightly higher than what your manager can give you right off the bat. This will show your manager you're serious about making more money and keeping the discussion going about how to get there.

Use the results of the poll below to get an idea of what employees are receiving for raises.

How Much of a Salary Increase Did You Receive After 1 Year?

See results

What to Expect After the First Year Salary Discussion

After just one year you might not get anything beyond a standard cost of living increase. Don't be too disappointed if that is the case. There will be some years your company can't give you a very big increase even when you deserve it. If you were hired starting at a fair compensation, you're probably still not below market rate.

Regardless of the results, you did initiate a conversation with your managers about how you contribute and how to get properly compensated for that contribution. You let them know you are aware of your place in the company and how you can make a difference to operations. This is a great start!

On the other hand, if this process has opened your eyes to the stringent raise policies at your company you may need to look elsewhere for that big salary increase. Leaving a job before 1 year can be a good career move if done tactfully and for the right reasons.

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Set Yourself Up for Future Raises

Whether you secured a raise or not you can review the process and set yourself up to secure a raise the following year. This was your first experience with the performance review process with your company and now you should have a clear idea of how to ace it next time.

If there are any evaluations you still have questions about, bring those up with your manager. They will want you to clearly understand how to be successful in that company.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Katy Medium

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