Ask DN: Is it ok to ask for a salary increase?

over 7 years ago from , Product Designer

I work for a software company and was originally hired as a graphic designer. My role was to design for both print collateral and web. Since my time at the company I have transitioned to designing their products (e-learning based). Since my work has changed I saw no salary change, in fact they still call my their "graphic designer" which stings a little because that's not me. Anyways, I'm the only designer at this company of nearly 100 employees now. The company is growing and I feel my role is being under compensated.

Should I ask for a salary increase? Currently I make what's considered the national median graphic designer's salary but I feel I should be making a UI designer's salary at the very least which is roughly 20k more a year(USD).

How do I approach something like this? Should I bother asking risking my job? I'd rather not risk losing my position by asking for more compensation. Anyone have any experience in this dilemma? Any help is appreciated.


  • Jonathan ShariatJonathan Shariat, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Short answer:


    Longer answer:

    Ask for a salary review. In this review/meeting you can bring up that you enjoy working there and feel that as your expertise has increased since hired and your responsibilities have broadened you feel your salary should reflect that of your peers in the same position & skill level.

    Now having been on the other side of that table I can say its a lot less risky than you think it is. As long as you are asking in a respectful way, backed up by data, theres no negative.

    Do it. Right now, send the email and ask them to meet. Hit send before you can change your mind.

    Edit: Oh and I forgot, make sure you also request to change your title.

    47 points
  • Account deleted over 7 years ago

    I like everyone's comments thus far, but one quick question... how long have you been there? I'm assuming it's been at least a year? If not... wait for that mark.

    If you bring it up as simple and calm as you seem to be in your OP, take Jonathan's advice and go for it. To be honest... they probably already know you should be making more.

    I'd also inquire about the potential for adding a second designer into the budget in the future... or at least a set budget for contractors. If I was your manager, I'd be pretty paranoid about you being a significant bottleneck (ie: If Andy was hit by a bus tomorrow, the ENTIRE company is up shit's creek)... and would be very open to not only giving you a raise, but finding ways to ensure the fast-growing company can keep doing so with less internal risk.

    The advantage of this angle also is that you are not coming off 100% greedy, but also for the welfare of the company (and your boss).

    Good luck!

    7 points
    • Andy Leverenz, over 7 years ago

      Hey Benjamin, I really appreciate the feedback. I have been there just over 2 years now so from the sound of it I should probably have already asked for an increase.

      0 points
      • Account deleted over 7 years ago

        I would for sure now, but don't beat yourself up over it. In fact, it may have not been possible earlier. If the growth was as insane as you said it was last year, I'm sure budgets were strained FUBAR across the company in order to feed the growth. Now is the perfect time to pitch your case... you've given them time to hire in critical areas to feed the growth and - just as importantly - given yourself time to prove your role has changed based on what you've done... and how you've excelled at it.

        1 point
  • Sam Lester, over 7 years ago

    No harm in asking!

    5 points
  • Mahdi FarraMahdi Farra, over 7 years ago


    I totally agree with what @jonathan-shariat, and I add to that these 2 lines: "No Risk, No gain." & "If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats. But if you take no risks, you win no victories."

    3 points
  • Ricardo MagalhãesRicardo Magalhães, over 7 years ago

    Definitely! In fact, it seems that you have over 9000 reasons to ask for a salary increase, or at least to put it a bit nicer, a "salary review". It all comes down to how you ask it; there will never be any harm whatsoever in asking for a salary review in a humble way, just as long as you don't act like you're demanding something they owe you (which I seriously doubt you'd do), there's absolutely no harm in doing this.

    So go ahead, come up with a list of "whys" and prepare your "becauses", and go for it!

    2 points
  • Lewis LinLewis Lin, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    You should absolutely ask for more, as long as you can back it up. One of the hardest things is to figure out how to word and phrase your ask. I'd recommend checking out this book, Five Minutes to a Higher Salary: http://amzn.to/1AnlucS.

    It has 60 salary negotiation scripts you can use. The script from case 46, "What should I do if I’m being paid under market value?" seems to be the most appropriate.

    1 point
  • Nathan ManousosNathan Manousos, over 7 years ago

    Do you think you could earn more money at a different company? Then you are essentially paying your current company to work there.

    The national median is probably low for you. I would imagine almost anyone who is familiar with Designer News is probably on the higher side of that average :)

    1 point
  • Kelly SuttonKelly Sutton, over 7 years ago

    You could go meta on the whole thing and ask to introduce a structure around giving raises at a regular intervals. The last thing someone wants is for raises to become a political process.

    Ben Horowitz has a good blog post on the matter: http://www.bhorowitz.com/how_to_minimize_politics_in_your_company

    1 point
  • Justin WJustin W, over 7 years ago

    Andy, what resource(s) are you using to determine your median salary? Please share!

    0 points
  • Hash MilhanHash Milhan, over 7 years ago (edited over 7 years ago )

    Yes, definitely. Ask and you shall receive.

    Here's a very helpful article on how to go about doing it - http://99u.com/articles/34879/why-some-people-get-promoted-and-others-dont

    0 points