Clever Ways To Get A Raise
Perks You Might Not Have Thought About.
By Jack Chapman

“We could have gone with a more junior person…you're expensive”.

Executives hear those phrases a lot nowadays, and they discourage people from thinking there's any way to increase their income at work. It seems the best you can hope for is a cost-of-living adjustment.

Consider this; there are ways you can get bigger compensation without having to push a salary increase through personnel. Company Cars, other transportation expenses, health club memberships, extra days off around training events and conferences, tax assistance, performance bonuses, etc.

The best two ways to sweeten the pot don't cost employers money out of their pockets: time and bonuses. Those ways are easier for them to "swallow," and can provide real extra income to you.

Ask for your "raise" in terms of time.

Back in the 70s, there was a debate about the "leisure society," and how we were going to cope with all the labor-saving devices that were coming down the line. Funny thing is, it hasn't turned out that way. The highly vaunted 4-day work week really never came to pass. We're more efficient now, yes, but we work longer anyway--we're just expected to produce twice as much.

So time is a really valuable commodity. If you can't get a cash raise, why not ask for more vacation? One week more of vacation can mean a 2% raise. Two weeks is 4%. If you arrange it all correctly, you can still do the work you need to do, and take the time off, too!

An interesting example of time negotiation happened with a client of mine who wanted to earn $100,000 a year as a big-city head librarian, which is a COO-type role. She interviewed for a position that paid $50,000 a year. Instead of turning down the interview, she spent time finding out the specialty library's needs. She discovered that they needed total reorganization, software upgrades, software training, security, and better access for users. She noted that they needed more than 40-hour/week coverage and planned to handle that need by having a librarian there 40 hours and using $10/hour clerks for the balance of the time and some routine work.

She proposed that she take on the project and
--1) work only twenty hours a week on high-skill jobs, and
--2) train the two clerks to do higher-level library work besides just clerical tasks.

Once these clerks were trained, the library would have 100 man-hours of skilled coverage instead of the 40 hours skilled plus 80 hours clerical that they had been using originally.

Net result? She found a way to be paid the full $50,000 but only work 20 hours a week--the equivalent of a $100,000 job, taking into account that she would work only half time. The library was happy, too, because with the team of three, they had better coverage all-in-all than even a full-time librarian could give them in a week.

Of course, it's unlikely you can cut down to half-time for full pay, but note this example: I worked with a client who was putting in 10-14 hour days on the job. It was stressful, but he felt he needed to be there to do the ongoing problem-solving.

Since he was putting in those days already, I coached him to go to his supervisors and propose a 4-day week of 10 hours each (knowing he'd put in 11-12, but no matter). They agreed! So he was able to take something he was doing already (long days) and negotiate a day off he never would otherwise have had.

There are plenty of other ways to negotiate time, too. There's flextime, there are personal days, there's payment for unused vacation time. Many people don't negotiate "comp time" for days they spend at conventions, trade shows, late with customers, etc. By paying attention to getting compensated for that time (either by money, or more likely with comp time) you can increase your income dollars/per/hour.

Try a little "gambling" on the job.

Now, don't panic! I'm not advocating running a poker game in the cafeteria; I mean betting your boss that you will meet or exceed a target. Construction deadlines, production deadlines, sales quotas, customer satisfaction survey results, cleanliness awards, employee productivity measures, accident-free days, newsletter excellence award recognition--these are just a few of the things bosses like and will pay for.

These are called Bonuses!

Discuss these compensation items with your boss at review time, or any time there is a change in your company's operating procedures. Bosses like to reward excellence. Your job is to tie the excellence in to a measurable quantity and link some dollar compensation to it, not just a "nice going" letter. You want a specific dollar bonus for this type of work.

Sometimes these things can even get you a raise outside the normal channels. For instance, I worked with a client who had a boss who was receiving criticism from the board for the high turnover in the company. The boss's compensation was tied to the overall profitability of the organization. High turnover wreaked havoc on profitability, since the organization was constantly training new people and cleaning up messes from people who dropped the ball when they left in the middle of a project.

Because she knew this mattered to him personally, not just as a company goal, my client was able to get a bonus for lowered turnover. She got to go to a seminar on "employee retention" which she was able to turn into three days' work and seven days' vacation. And all this when the board had declared that the top raise would be 3% that year.

So, when looking to increase your compensation, consider taking extra value in terms of time and bonuses. Both can enrich you outside the parameters of a traditional raise.

Bonne chance!


About the Author: Jack Chapman.
Clever Raises is a salary strategy. In addition to salary, Jack has developed eight proprietary innovations in executive job search over his 28 years in Career Coaching.

Jack's other innovations generate high level referrals in the job market, win interviews, and his book puts thousands extra dollars in the paycheque. Jack's book, "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute," is North America's most widely read "how-to" source on salary and raise negotiations. Now in its 5th edition, it's available from the author or

For information on consulting consulting on these or any aspect of accelerated job/career search, email Jack at, call 847-251-4727, or visit

Canadians are invited to contact leading Canadian private career advisor Mary-Frances Fox at, 1.888.315.0003,


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