Asking for a raise in a competitive market
I am Network Administrator in London. My employer is paying me a low salary and if I ask for an increase, my employer always threatens me by saying, "There are lots of people looking for jobs in the IT sector. If you want to work, fine; otherwise, I will hire someone else." What should I do?
Although the market is tight, it's not entirely accurate to say that it's completely a buyer's (that is, the employer's) market and that no increases are therefore forthcoming. Perhaps he's trying to keep you in place with no increase, but to me his strategy is forcing you to ask for my advice which is: "Start looking for a new position immediately. Don't let any word of this get to your current employer, but as soon as you find something else that suits you--hopefully, with at least a modest increase from your current pay levels--you should submit your notice on the shortest term possible."
Your employer is making it clear that he values money above your services. Thus, it's only fitting that you should seek to find a new position where your services (and who knows, perhaps even your self) will have more perceived value and a greater contribution to make to a company's or organization's future.
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This was first published in January 2005