• An IT Executive's Guide To Negotiating A Pay Raise

Whether you're planning for retirement or something more immediate like a house renovation, a little extra in the bank never goes amiss. As an IT director or manager, it's generally up to you to push for a raise. Here are some tips to position yourself for what can be a difficult conversation with your bosses.

Build alliances

A rational boss will tie your compensation to your business value. Build that value by cementing alliances across the various business functions.

There are two types of IT department: those that default to yes, and those that default to no. Build alliances by being the first kind where possible. That doesn't mean blindly fulfilling all business requests. Some things won't be doable for reasons ranging from cost to cybersecurity. Nevertheless, you can keep that business manager's objectives in mind and think creatively about alternative ways to meet them.

Arrange regular meetings with business managers to identify their challenges and brainstorm ways that IT & IT services might be able to help them. This kind of charm offensive can position you well politically, so long as you follow it up with concrete solutions.

Track your achievements

Your chances of negotiating a raise are practically zero if you can't demonstrate your value to the company. Keep a record of your achievements focusing on those that bring value rather than merely listing all those make-work meetings you've attended.

Some of these benefits can be qualitative. Examples include the secondment initiative you created to help IT employees learn about how the different lines of business work, or the self-service portal you built for staff could provision their own storage resources.

Ideally, though, you'll want to list quantifiable wins where possible such as the average reduction in ticket response times, revenues generated by new IT projects, or money saved through application consolidation.

Your record of these things should enable you to summarise them at short notice, with the biggest wins first.

Do your research

Don't storm in asking for a raise without understanding what's reasonable. Chart your payment history at the company since you started, including any changes in bonuses and other benefits. Measure this against what's typical for someone in your position at similar companies.

According to Robert Half UK, the average IT director salary in the UK ranges from £78,000 for newcomers through to £150,000 for a seasoned professional. Take factors including your company size, industry, and region into account, along with your own experience when deciding how much to ask for.

Read the situation

Consider internal variables alongside external ones. If your employer operates in the food industry and the coronavirus has left it reeling, now might not be the right time to turn the financial thumbscrews. Take time to gauge what the business is going through and what it can expect in the near future before assessing what's reasonable.

Negotiate alternatives

Don't give up and start scouring the job boards immediately if the boss can't stretch to a straightforward raise right now. Ideally, your superiors will be creative enough to come up with alternatives to keep you happy, but if they don't, you can step in with suggestions.

Consider financial incentives like better performance-linked bonuses, profit sharing options, or a tiered raise over time. Other indirect benefits could include more vacation time or flexible working options. If they can't stoke your bank account, they can at least improve your quality of life.

At the very least, your boss should be able to counter with a time in the near future that would be appropriate to talk about a salary increase. You may not come out of the meeting with the pay increase you want, but you should emerge with something - even if it's only another date on the calendar to follow up the conversation.