The pace of change in technology is incredible. With things moving so quickly, especially at start-ups, tech pros are sometimes given additional responsibilities (a promotion to lead web developer from web developer, for example), but with no increase in compensation.
Sometimes these are “battlefield promotions” that require someone to step up and fill a void to meet a critical business need. Other times a promotion without a raise can be a sort of “test“ to prove you can handle additional responsibilities – basically, you’re expected to do the job before you get the job. What should IT professionals do when this happens, and when should they ask for a raise?
More responsibilities should = more money
I’m always supportive of taking on more responsibilities if they’re offered. Being asked is a vote of confidence in you, and presents you with the opportunity to increase your value and impact in the organization. However, I also strongly believe that increased responsibilities should translate to increased compensation (check starting compensation for over 70 tech jobs here) and/or additional perks. If not, receiving increased responsibilities or a bigger title can feel less like an opportunity and more like a company taking advantage of you.
Open a dialogue
If you are an IT professional in this situation, it’s reasonable to expect to discuss this openly with your manager before accepting any new responsibilities. Start by simply asking what additional compensation or company perks will accompany these added work responsibilities. Your manager may not be able to provide any financial increase immediately, but she may agree to an increase on a specific date based on certain criteria being met. (Make sure you get an agreement in writing with both the criteria you must meet and the date of the potential raise in a case like this.)
Employers should understand the current (hot!) market
For employers on the other side of this equation, it’s important to remember that the market is very competitive and many technology professionals are experiencing compensation increases for doing the same job. So offering a team member a promotion without a raise could create a negative perception and may even cause an IT pro to seek another job.