A few years ago, I moved the timing of the Salary Survey up by a few months, so that you could have the data in your hands earlier, to prepare for end of year reviews. Don’t have an annual review cycle, or don’t have a boss that sticks to it? Go ahead and schedule a meeting with your boss yourself to present the topic.
I’d like to urge you to take a technical approach, offer resources to back up your requested increase and give tips on presenting this data to your leadership.
We’re technical people in a technical field, please keep that at the forefront of your mind. You want a raise, so you have to convince your boss and company to give you one, and you should negotiate with professional reasons. This means that we do not want to give personal factors as justification, whether you have had a child or your spouse lost their job or you had a major unplanned medical or travel expense. Your task here is to convince your company what you have done for them and why their investment in you is worth it.
Your first stop could be the AUGI Annual Survey. Check out the 2013 results here: http://www.augi.com/images/uploads/augiworld_issues/AW201309lr.pdf
You can also review the results from the previous 11 years on the Surveys channel: http://www.augi.com/surveys/salary-surveys/previous-salary-surveys/
You can see how various factors such as education, company size, years of experience, job title/function, industry, market served/sub-specialities relate to one another with regard to average wage.
Indeed is a job search engine that pulls current job listings from a wide variety of sources. They compile the data available and display salaries based on what is currently being posted. Not only will you want to compare job titles and key terms here to get a good idea of salary (which can be restricted geographically), but, you can also click through to find those job ads, to compare the stated duties with the ones you are currently filling.
If your title is designer, but, your tasks match more closely with that of a BIM Coordinator or CAD Manager or Programmer or Project Manager, etc, note the data for everything. Your company is most likely going to pay you based on what they call you in HR, not on the duties you actually perform on the design team.
The National Association of Colleges and Employers has a Salary Calculator that I really enjoy.
You can put in your education, your years of experience, your location and your job title, to get a very personalized picture of your worth. The only drawback here is that it only covers 1,000 occupations, and does not offer much in the AEC industry outside of the most popular careers (such as architect or engineer).
Other Resources –
Find industry specific surveys, check out Robert Green’s CAD Manager’s Survey, check with any other professional organizations you or your boss might belong to. The more data, the better. If you can gather a lot and average it out, you can be sure what your fair wage is.
Worth – ROI -
Data tracking is not the most enthralling way to spend time, but, I always encourage everyone to keep an active log of what you have been working on. From random tasks to big projects. There are many benefits to keeping this information, from justifying non-billable time to providing clear ROI when proposing projects or changes in methodology, to covering your rear when working with those who would shirk and throw you under the bus to hide their own incompetence. Data trail = good.
If you haven’t actively been tracking your tasks, sit down and take a few minutes to run over activities in your mind. Anything you’ve done since your last review (however long that’s been), which could impact the bottom line for your company.
Present to Leadership
Once you have your salary data compiled and have come up with the number you feel represents your real value, you need to organize it and make your pitch. Take your time with this, and ask a trusted friend or two to review your proposal package before you submit (you don’t want to negate all of your hard work by leaving your language unclear or muddying the waters with spelling mistakes).
Introduction – state your goal. A quick and dirty summary of where you could start might be “As a designer, I have supported ‘X’ projects in the past year. Those projects accounted for 60% of the company’s income. I have also worked in a cad management capacity and have provided technical solutions to all members of the staff and have saved approximately $X in man-hours and reduced material waste in the range of $X.
The fair market wage for my work is $##,### and I would like to request that you review my current pay and make an adjustment to bring me more in line with the industry.
Please see the attachments for supporting data.”
Appendix A – Highlight of tasks you have performed, with financial information attached where possible (Google for ideas on how to calculate this).
If you implemented electronic document review at any step (even just for yourself) to reduce printing, assign a dollar amount to it, bonus points if reducing paper saved the square footage needed for additional flat files (those things cost a lot, so does real estate). If you found a lisp routine on the AUGI forums that saved 5 minutes of manual work, ask around to see how often your coworkers perform that task and add that up over a year. If you reorganized or documented resources, reducing the amount of time searching for information, assign a value to that, too.
None of these savings options look like a whole lot, but, when added up, they can be the necessary justification for a bump in pay, or at least a bonus.
Appendix B – A spreadsheet summary of how you calculated your worth. If you do 75% Drafting work and 25% Project Management and you’ve got 12 years of experience, highlight the final number.
Appendix C – Copies of your research with sources listed. AUGIWorld, Indeed, NACE, AIA, etc, print them out for inclusion to demonstrate the strength of your data and popular consensus.
Obviously, this is just a brainstorming starting point and you can customize the concept to suit. Would a printed report be the best approach? Or would your leadership respond better to a PowerPoint with a couple of graphs while you talk through the points?
No matter how you present it, do your research, summarize your findings and clearly formulate your request. This type of initiative and organization can help you stand out to leadership and make the job of assessing your worth that much easier for them.