One of the rising conversations in the architecture world in recent years has been the issue of architects' salaries. But how much are you worth? When is it time to ask for that much-needed raise? Two key elements to successful salary negotiation are timing and asking for the right reasons.
First, what do you deserve? Raises are earned, but there is a certain amount of money you deserve. For US salary data, check the AIA Compensation Report, which is updated annually. If you live internationally, see if you can find a similar resource for your country or city. Unless you are performing below average (coming in late, not being productive, or worse, setting back the office’s productivity), you shouldn’t be making a below-average salary.
Once you have an equitable starting salary, how can you tell if you’ve earned a raise from there? You may have earned a raise if...
...you’ve added to your skill set.
Perhaps you've learned new software, from Autocad to Revit, or from InDesign to the entirety of the Adobe Creative Suite programs. Maybe you’ve even lent a hand in marketing, landscape, or interior design. What can you add to your resume today that wasn’t there a year ago? Your continuing education adds not only to your skill set but to the company’s skill set, too.
...you’ve added to your responsibilities.
You’ve gone above and beyond what was expected of you. Consider an average week now compared to when you first joined the firm or at the time of your last raise. If your current day-to-day is busier or otherwise different than it used to be, chances are you’ve taken on more responsibility.
...you’ve become a clear leader.
If co-workers, and even the bosses, often come to you with questions or concerns, you’re probably doing something right. A variety of personalities exist within the walls of an architecture office. Some co-workers are trusted confidants with whom you would share private information with. There’s those tech people—they didn’t go to school for tech, nor is it their job, they just aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty and fix the plotter or take a look at what’s slowing down your computer. And then there are people who are good communicators, organized, on-top-of-things—a real delegator. If you’re running a team or managing people you weren’t before, chances are it might be time for that raise.
...you’ve increased productivity at work.
This does NOT mean overtime and all-nighters. Some productivity tips: come in early, put your phone away and be organized. Productivity is a tricky thing to prove. Create a raise portfolio to show what you’ve done. Include time frames or hours. How long does it take you to build a quality Revit model? Time is money people!
...you’ve leveraged relationships to bring new projects to the firm.
Talk about taking initiative. If you are networking, making connections and securing work for your firm, it’s time to get some commission! Just kidding, architecture is a team sport. But in any event, growing clientele is no easy feat and should be recognized.
Remember, you only deserve a raise because you earned it. Consider what you have done to earn your next raise. Earning a raise isn’t only fiscally responsible, it is also a sign of self-improvement.
Images for this article were kindly provided by Andrea Vasquez.