Can You Fight Salary Stagnation?


Will you ever hit a point where your earning potential begins to fade?

According to researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the answer is yes: Earnings tend to level off when people hit their 40s. (Hat tip to The Atlantic for breaking down the data.) And that’s a problem, because a leveled-off salary is subject to the ravages of inflation.

For many tech pros, such discussions about earning potential highlight the need to secure as large a salary as possible, as soon as possible. It should also inform any strategy regarding the minimum salary a tech pro is willing to accept for any particular job.

When negotiating salary with a prospective or current employer, it’s always good to know your limits. If you’re a valuable member of the team, chances are pretty good you’ll be able to secure a higher salary and an improved grab-bag of perks simply by asking; but playing games, or dragging out negotiations, can quickly try a company’s patience and put you at risk.

Before engaging in any sort of salary talk, sit down and list the following:

  • Your achievements
  • Your strengths
  • Your weaknesses
  • Your ideal salary/perks
  • Your bottom limit on salary

These will provide the basis for your talking points going forward. If you’re proven yourself in your current position, there’s no reason why your employer can’t give serious consideration to your ask for a larger salary. (You should also have an explanation ready for any weaknesses in your record, which might come up.) With a bit of luck, you can keep your earning potential increasing for many years to come.

3 Responses to “Can You Fight Salary Stagnation?”

  1. Unless the role is switched to an H1!! Like much of our professional IT talent, we are impacted by non- American folks.

    If the employer doesn’t want to increase your pay, they’ll find someone at lower cost! That’s the way things are these days. Pitiful huh??!!

  2. Joe Sixpack

    Maybe instead of whining about it, Ron C., you should work to make yourself stand out? I’m an American, but I don’t think only Americans deserve a good job. You can out-compete foreign labor by being more valuable – being excellent at what you do and developing strong “soft skills”, so people like you and want to work with you.