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How do I know when it is appropriate to ask for a raise in a science related field?

When I graduate high school I would really like to get a job as a science technician. Jobs are slim, but I'll work that out when I get there. My parents are both pretty passive, and don't really talk about work too much. How do I know when it's okay to talk to my boss about money related issues?
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Kayla’s Answer

Hi Kaley,

It's really hard to ask for money, but it's all about knowing your value. Statistically women have a harder time asking for a raise. This is why I made it a point to make sure I answered this question :) When your responsibilities increase then your salary should increase. If you are working hard and you feel you deserve it then you should 100% ask. They may or may not say yes, but if you don't ask then you will never know. Never accept the first offer and always ask for more without kicking yourself in the foot, of course. Take into consideration average salary of your position and age range when making these decisions, but the biggest piece is KNOW YOUR WORTH!

Wishing you the best of luck,
Kayla

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Karen’s Answer

Hi Kaley,

Great question! A lot of companies have annual performance review cycles. Your pay is based on a number of factors outside of just your performance such as education, experience, department budget, what other companies are making, and what your coworkers are making in comparison. If your company has an annual performance review, that also means they are reviewing everyone's pay as well. If you are gaining proficiency in the role that you are in, you should naturally see a pay raise. If you don't feel this is enough, I would compare your pay to the industry market rates. Just make sure you are taking into account your experience level as well as the region you are in since pay can vary from one region to the next.

Hope this helps!

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Brad’s Answer

Kaley
That is a great question and one that is applicable to all workers in all fields. I know that budgets are sometimes very tight in the scientific fields but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be paid a competitive salary. I recommend the following an of course some of this will depend on how much experience you have and the quality of your work and your relationship with your supervisors:
1. Look around and find out what similar jobs in your company and other companies are paid. (if you present facts to your supervisor that shows you are under paid that can go a long way in helping you get a raise)
2. Look at the benefit structures for your position in other companies. If their benefits are better than yours that is another form of payment and can be used to ask for more money.
3. How long has it been since you had an increase? If not on an annual basis I would certainly ask why and when will my increase come.
4. Do you consider yourself a start performer? Many supervisors treat all employees the same and hand out the same cost of living increase to all employees. Lets face it, if you are a star you should be paid for that level of performance and trust.
5. Don't be afraid to leave for more money and possibly a promotion. Good employees that don't speak up are often taken for granted and they will assume you will just always be there and accept your position in life so don't be afraid to shop around and look for opportunities for advancement. Also be aware that grass is not always greener on the other side of the hill.
Best of luck!

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Carrie’s Answer

Every year, check your salary against the market for your area. If you are not making the market for your education, years of experience, and skill level, it's time to ask for a raise. Put a meeting on your boss's calendar with an agenda that states that you want to talk about how to get your salary to the current market rate. This gives your boss an opportunity to speak with HR about your salary in advance so that you can have a productive conversation.

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Daniel’s Answer

Hi Kaley!

I work in the tech industry. Switching jobs is the easiest way to get a pay raise, but also the tech industry has the highest turnover of any industry (~13.2% for the industry as a whole, and ~50% at some companies like Google). The downside of course is that this means leaving behind people and work you care about.

Without switching jobs, the next best thing is to get a promotion at work. Unfortunately, promotions are a bit of a pyramid scheme. There are always more lead roles than senior roles, and more senior roles than junior roles, so not everyone who wants a promotion will get one. Your best bet is to wait for someone else to leave, or to work somewhere with rapid growth so that more positions are opened up. You might also consider a lateral move to a more quickly growing part of the company that might not immediately change your pay, title, or responsibilities, but sets you up for more promotion opportunities in the future.

Obviously, it's best to work somewhere with rapid growth, but just because your company is growing quickly doesn't mean a promotion and pay raise is assured. Some companies prefer to hire senior talent from outside the company, rather than nurturing talent from within. Also, depending on your luck of draw with respect to managers, you might work for someone with a vested interest in your career development, or for someone who only cares about their own standing within the company.

If you think you're underpaid, definitely ask! But also when you're looking for a job, pay attention to the business and cultural cues that indicate whether advancement within the company will be easy or hard. If you find the work itself interesting, you'll find it easier to ride out some of the frustration associated with promotion taking longer than desired, but be very aware of what you're worth and don't shortchange yourself for too long.

Personally, I've changed jobs every 2.25 years. I've seen great salary growth by doing this but it's very stressful. You should decide these thresholds for yourself so when you ask for a pay raise or switch jobs, you're doing it on your own terms. Glassdoor is a useful resource to help you figure out the appropriate market rate for your position.

Daniel recommends the following next steps:

Glassdoor Salary for Science Technician: https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/us-science-technician-salary-SRCH_IL.0,2_IN1_KO3,21.htm
Saved!
Employment patterns and turnover among laboratory personnel: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8325790/
Saved!

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Bradley’s Answer

Word hard and do what you love. Good things come back to you. Never ask for a raise. Good things come to those who wait!

Hi Bradley, can you explain further? Why do you think its unwise to ask for a raise? Gurpreet Lally

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Todd’s Answer

It's important you know what you're worth based on experience, location and salary statistics. I wouldn't let gender be a delimiting factor as that equality is rightfully improving over time. My advice would be to focus on making yourself marketable and pay will come in time. This is especially true when starting out. Glassdoor and LinkedIn provide salary statistics which may be helpful. Building a strong, trusted professional network in your field is also value to have candid discussions; of course this depends on the person and relationship.

If already in the field and not satisfied with pay, maintain a good relationship with your manager and ensure to have at least annual discussions regarding salary to have a plan moving forward. When receiving pushback, try to acknowledge their viewpoint and circle back based on what was said. Psychology is important to be successful in this process.

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Holly’s Answer

Keep a list of accomplishments you've done throughout the year that are beyond your expected tasks, as well as tasks/projects that you do that the next level up usually does. Then as you ask for a raise, you will have specific reasons to list as to why you deserve the raise. This will show them that you aren't asking just because you've been there a while or you think you deserve it just because, you will have specific reasons to present. They may not always see all of the things you do throughout the year so it's good to remind them.

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Barry’s Answer

in my first few jobs out of college, I didn't ask for a raise. I just did the job for what they paid me. Early in your career, it's better to focus on gaining experience. Raises will come in time, but asking for one when you don't have a lot of experience might hurt you.

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