Can I Ask for More Money? It's a Tough Assignment, but for Some Talented Professionals, the Answer Is Yes

Article excerpt

MANY COMPANIES ARE IN THE MIDST OF LAYOFFS, streamlining, and cutting budgets. For some the hope is to simply maintain their organizations. For others it's an effort of maximizing revenue, even as the economy is struggling to engage consumers. While employees (particularly those who are asked to manage expanding responsibilities) are well aware of the challenges their companies face, figuring out the best time or strategy for getting a raise is a personal and frustrating challenge.

In turbulent economic conditions when sales are down, unemployment is rising, and economic growth is slow, pay adjustments are not typically merited, says Bernard Anderson. Wharton School of Business professor and a member of the Black Enterprise Board of Economists.

With an unemployment rate at a 16-year high, many workers are just grateful to be employed. But even in this environment there are exceptions: For high performing industries and/or top ranking employees, asking for a salary adjustment or other perks is not out of the question.

Of course, employees have to review the overall financial health of the organization as well as their role and contribution to the company, but in all slow times there are those that still benefit and prosper, says Mika Hilaire, an employment and labor attorney for Appell, Hilaire, and Benardo L.L.C. in Los Angeles.

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If you're in a position to leverage your worth to an employer, it's important to understand that negotiating compensation is much more than just asking for more money. There are other company benefits worth pursuing that are also attainable with the right preparation, attitude, and presentation. Here are some tips:

* Explain your value. "You should have a clear understanding of your market worth," says Sharon Hall, partner for executive search firm, SpencerStuart. …