How Should I Ask for a Raise?

Vanessa wants to know how to ask for a raise when she has more responsibility than her coworker but the same title on paper. Dave believes Vanessa's increase in pay will come over time.

QUESTION: Vanessa in San Diego wants to know how to ask for a raise when she has more responsibility than her coworker but the same title on paper. She’s been at her company for four years. Dave believes Vanessa’s increase in pay will come over time, but she shouldn’t ask for a raise based on her coworker’s performance.

ANSWER: No, you don’t have a right to complain. Your pay is what was agreed with you. You are doing the job the way your integrity tells you to do the job. Because somebody is a half-butt in a similar position, if you are not being paid more because of that, then that will come over time.

I’ve got several people inside the building in similar positions that make similar money. Some of them have been here a long time; some of them haven’t. We don’t pay people for how long they’ve been here, and I don’t want anybody in the building that’s not 100%. Now that’s a different issue, though, than pay. I don’t want to have somebody that works 50% and only pay them 50%. I want everybody at 100%, but that’s not your problem. That’s their problem because she doesn’t work under you.

I think you’re fine. If you want to sit down and ask for a raise because of the effort now, I’m fine with that. But I would not bring up what she makes because if I’m in that discussion, that’s not relevant. What’s relevant is what you’re worth and the value that you add to the company. But a comparative analysis with somebody else internally is not healthy. I’d stay away from that.