I've been a listener for 7+ years. Last week I was promoted from a Project Manager to Plant Manager. The promotion came with a 15% raise putting me about 75k. It's below industry standards and a close family member said I'm selling myself short and should ask for more. What do you think?

Details: The company is a specialty chemical manufacturing plant. I will be managing 21 people over 24/7 schedule and the typical logistics that go into manufacturing. This will be the first time I've been a true manager. I feel I'm well prepared due to years of MT and I can't wait to start rolling out my trinity!

What I hear Mark and Mike saying in my head: You don't negotiate salary. If you prove yourself valuable by getting results, then you will reap the benefits. Be 34 years old you are killing it. 

I don't want to be greedy here but I'm taking on a huge new responsibility. 

Please write a response. I'm interested in what the forums have to say!


jrosenau's picture

A 15% raise seems large to me in any position.  The organization is probably giving you as much as they can in one swoop.  If they really think highly of you, you may continue to see those; but you can only take raises one at a time.  Given the size of this one, listen to the Mark and Mike in your head.


DiogenesPerez's picture
Licensee Badge

The easy way as always is to update your resume with your new position and jump ship, which I wouldn't do as I was beginning with a joke (.

John is right, for 15% I wouldn't ask for more; what I would do is maximize the goals, expectations and metrics they have for the job by doing a really hard work to obtain a raise in the future.

If you KNOW you're in the farthest left of the salary curve I'll show the research to my boss, no threats, no bad feelings; with more evidence than "a close family member"  I would suggest or other site that accurately measure your industry averages per position, age and experience. I would expect a short term negative and ask for a long term development plan.



naraa's picture
Training Badge

I think what matters is if you are excited about the position and are willing to do the job for the money they are offering.  It sounds like you are, very much so, so I would close my ears to the advice of your close family member.  

One can really only negotiate when one is willing to take an alternative, basically when what they are offering is not good enough for you.  Are you considering not taking the promotion if they don´t agree on an increase?  You may also have other things you like about the company you are at which can not be "seen" by your close relative through the pay figure they give you.  I find that jobs cannot be compared by the salary figure alone.

Congratulations on your promotion!


leanne's picture
Licensee Badge

You say this is the first time you've ever been a true manager.

I'd leave the salary question alone until you've been at it for a few months. 6 maybe. This will allow you to prove that the company made a good decision in promoting you.

Once you've proved you truly are right for the job, you can sit down with your supervisor and your salary data and your record and talk about it. And, there's a Career Tools cast to help guide you through the conversation:



duplicate_account_MarkAus's picture

First - ignore your family.  They don't know what they're talking about.   Or more accurately - they don't know what you know and don't know your industry.  This is true in 99% of cases.

Senegoid is on to something - if you believe you're being underpaid go collect as much data as you can and then unemotionally present it.  See what happens.   If the margin between your salary and market rate is wide, you could close it up a bit if you build a case.

However, most companies would underpay (slightly) in this situation.  Think of it this way - you're an untested product that could easily fail (and a big percentage of first time managers fail).   The company has taken a calculated risk by promoting you.  Part of that equation means you may not get what an experienced person gets on the free market.    But they are willing to invest in you - you'll get training, practice, experience... and eventually more money.

Also, if you work for a sexy company you probably get paid less across the board.  I've heard Apple, for example, aren't necessarily the best payers in the business.   They don't need to be because people are falling overthemselves to go work there.

So my suggestion would be to get some real data and see what kind of numbers you're dealing with.  If the margin is small, then invest the 18+ months in becomming experienced and great.  After that you'll have more ability to write your own ticket.

Congratulations BTW, I'm sure you'll be great.




Jenninmi's picture
Training Badge

First of all congratulations.

You should be proud and grateful.You just got an exciting opportunity with a 15% boost in pay. Life seems pretty sweet. So tune out the naysayers.

The time to discuss the salary issue was when you were offered the promotion. That opportunity has past. raising it now runs the risks of seeming rude and ungrateful.  

As others suggested, I would recommend you gather the relevant salary data and be prepared to present it next year, when your company discusses raises and after you have shown you can handle your new responsibilities. 

In the meantime, listen to the voice in your head and not the relative. Why let your new, 15% higher, salary be a reason for dissatisfaction. Seize the opportunity, do a great a job and you'll set yourself up for bigger rewards.  

I have had a similar experience and learned from it. Now I have the salary data in hand when the promotion offer comes, so I am ready to discuss it. You may not get a bigger raise immediately, still you lay the groundwork set the stage for later discussions.     

Good luck with your new responsibilities.   


Doris_O's picture

Relatives will always tell you that you selling yourself short, it's what they do. A 15% increase is significant as others have stated above. If you feel good about the position, appreciated by the people who count and can live on that salary -- take it and be happy. If you don't have at least 2 out of the 3, then think about looking for a new job.

For what it is worth: I once went from a part-time position (with benefits) to a full-time position, with the salary increased proportionally. The organization counted that as a  "raise" of 100%, although what I was paid for my actual time was the same (or less). Some people said I was being taken advantage of. I choose to ignore that it was not a "real raise". I knew they appreciated me/my work and had made a significant effort to secure the funds to make my position full time. I also got to work with some brilliant people on really interesting projects -- and the value of that can be greater than money.

RoMaJo's picture

Many companies have bands (ranges) for their different positions. And, if asked, they will tell what the band is for your position so that you will know how well you are being paid within that band.

Maybe you know that and already investigated. But you didn't state as much, and so I offer it.

Also, re: Apple ... an associate of mine works at an Apple iPhone store part time. He says that, indeed, the pay is dreadful ... but his health insurance is "platinum" and Apple pays for most of it.  My point being that when we look at our total compensation, we may be doing better (or worse) than we originally thought.


jrb3's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Also consider where you are, and what standards you're comparing against.  If you work very close to where your profile says, you're in a low-cost section of Georgia as I understand it.  (About an hour out from Atlanta relative to me, and I'm on the edge of the current metro area.)  You can nurse that healthy bump a LONG way.

Be very careful if you (or your relatives) compare salary against positions in higher-cost living areas (downtown Atlanta, Southern California, certain parts of South Dakota, ...).  I moved from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles then here, with each move taking 10% pay cuts but reducing expenses by 15% or more.  I'm pretty low by my industry standard on salary/benefits.  I'm also well ahead on my finances and quality-of-life by shifting my two-kid three-generation household from "two-mortgage two-income" to "no-debts-at-all one-income".  Yes, I'm banking and investing the effective delta;  hope you get to do the same with the extra US$ 7-10k/year.

And I'm with Senegoid and the others.  Work out the development plan with your higher-ups specifically shaping what you need to be solid "raise" material.  Do the salary research too so you can at the same time work out what's reasonable for the value you provide.  I presume "plant manager" here is operations, not profit-and-loss -- my impression is P&L-responsible would be "general manager", with at least a half-dozen more non-ops folks, requiring experience as a true manager since some of the directs would be true managers as well.  Compensation for P&L-responsibles also has factors outside your control which would influence compensation.

antbug1978's picture

I did a ton of research both on the internet and with my mentors and finally decided to have a discussion with my boss about:

1. where I would like to be in a few years based upon market value

2.  the results I expect from myself and the plant.

They offered me a review in 3 months so they can have some metrics and performance to back up any decisions.

I did NOT just barge in and ask for "fair pay" or more money because I need it.  However, if I were to do it over again I would like to have been better prepared during my initial interview and get it done then. 

Time to get some results!


antbug1978's picture

I did a ton of research both on the internet and with my mentors and finally decided to have a discussion with my boss about:

1. where I would like to be in a few years based upon market value

2.  the results I expect from myself and the plant.

They offered me a review in 3 months so they can have some metrics and performance to back up any decisions.

I did NOT just barge in and ask for "fair pay" or more money because I need it.  However, if I were to do it over again I would like to have been better prepared during my initial interview and get it done then. 

Time to get some results!


dmb41carter36's picture

I actually had a friend of mine have the same thing happen to him. He said after about two years, his boss came to him and handed him a fat raise to be better in line with the market rate.

Assuming you are at the lower end of your band (and you have data as others have indicated), if you perform well, the company should notice. After a certain amount of time, if they are smart, they will not want to lose you. Hopefully then you can get closer to the median salary. If not, and it becomes a big issue for you, you can take your talents elsewhere.

Best of luck in your new position!

DiogenesPerez's picture
Licensee Badge

A review in 3 months sounds great no matter which industry you are! 

campbellronald7's picture

 Yes you can only if you are in Duration but not after getting promoted, if you think that you deserve much more than what you are getting as per the work then you may give it a chance by asking for a hike in salary. As you will be the person performing the task and if they have trusted you for this job and position then asking for a hike won’t be a problem.


tedtschopp's picture

BLUF:  Be happy you got 15%.  This is a good thing for your career if you manage it correctly.

I have been given eight promotions over the course of the last 20 years working at just two companies.  Several of these promotions were given during times of corporate stress and economic downturns, and one was a skip promotion where I went from a level 2 to a level 4.  This is my advice I would give my friends:

They probably have pay bands, they are generally set up so you spend a couple years below average, a couple years at average and a couple years above average. If you can't get a promotion after that many years your career is stalled and you end up maxing out that pay band or you take a different role that requires different deliverables and behaviors.

The reason I bring this up is that generally if you are in the lower band you want to be there as someone new to the roll as it will lower expectations for your performance and give you the ability to receive high marks on a performance appraisal.  If you do this then you turn those several years into 12 to 18 month cycles and you justify them giving you larger raises more quickly and you get a reputation as someone who out performs.  

That being said, a 15% increase sounds very generous and probably put you at 5 - 10% below market / band.  Accept that happily and start making statements about tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year and then go make those statements a reality.  Soon they will see you can foretell the future by delivering results and they will gladly give you more money to keep making the future a more predictable place, and thereby reducing risks associated  with unknowns.  If you can do that, there are more than plants you will end up managing.  

Also, I would recommend you go get the book The Goal (  Jeff Bezos recommends people at Amazon read it.  It's a business book dressed up as a novel that talks about a guy taking over a plant and all the problems he runs into and how he solves them.  From a novel perspective it suffers from a bit of Marty Stu ( but overall you might find it an interesting read to put along side all the stuff you have learned listening to MT.

Ted Tschopp
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