TCG 411: Upping The Ante

Is a Raise in Your Future?

By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group

If you have the right skills, you may see a little more green in your wallet in the coming year. According to research for The Creative Group’s just-released 2012 Salary Guide, average starting salaries for creative professionals are projected to increase 3.5 percent over the previous year. Some positions, like UX designers and mobile developers, will see even greater gains.

What’s fueling the uptick in compensation? Steady demand for certain creative skills and a shortage of talent in these areas are key factors. In fact, more than half of advertising and marketing executives interviewed for our latest Hiring Index said it’s challenging to find skilled creative professionals today.

If you have what employers want and think you’re being underpaid, now may be the time to ask for a raise. But you need to be prepared for the discussion if you expect positive results. Here are three tactics to help you negotiate a bump in pay:

1. Justify your reasons for a raise. Review your past work and what you have done to help advance the company. What have you contributed? Are you directly involved in revenue-generating operations for the firm? If not, can you make that connection? Think about ways you have helped your organization save money by streamlining processes or driving greater traffic to the corporate website and social media feeds.

2. Time it right. The key to successfully asking for a raise is proper timing. Try to ensure that your request coincides with a positive time for your boss and the company, such as when the business lands a certain deal or receives industry recognition for an innovative campaign. And don’t wait for your annual performance review to have this talk; many salary decisions are made before employee appraisals, so you want to make your request in advance.

3. Recognize the risk. Keep in mind that asking for a raise (even in a flourishing economy) is always a risk; it may even cause your boss to reconsider his options, at least momentarily. So make sure that you are worth the money you are asking for and that you have the negotiation skills to back it up. Referencing the Salary Guide or other reputable salary surveys also can provide good evidence for your case.

Note: If you’d like to a download a free copy of our 2012 Salary Guide or use our salary calculator to compute a local salary range, visit The Creative Group Salary Center.

Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design and marketing professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at