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How to Justify Upgrading a Job Position & Salary

by Lisa McQuerrey, studioD

If you regularly perform job functions that go beyond the scope of your original job description, it might be time to propose a change in position and an increased salary to better reflect your professional responsibilities. Make plans to talk to your boss in private, preferably in relationship to an annual performance evaluation. You can outline your successes, detail your work efforts and demonstrate why you think a raise or promotion is in order.

Job Duties

Take a look at your current job description and amend it with notes that detail any additional work responsibilities you handle. Separate these contributions into employer-directed job functions and extra things you do on your own, as a way to demonstrate your commitment to the job and your company. For example, complying with your manager's request to write a monthly sales report, even though it's not part of your job description, is an extra responsibility. Volunteering to collect recycling at the end of each week is a nice gesture, but it's not something you're being asked to do or being compensated for.

Oversight Responsibilities

If you're regularly asked to act in a supervisory capacity with colleagues, keep track of what this entails. Managers typically have greater responsibility than non-managers, and if you're being asked to take on this role without the benefit of an appropriate job title or salary bump, it's worth discussing with your boss. A change in job position and title can earn you additional respect and make you more effective in a supervisory position. Extra headache often comes with the role, particularly if you have coworkers challenging your authority, so you should be compensated for your efforts.

Salary Research

Consider the type of position you want. Look at other departments in your company for clues. For example, if titles are traditionally “coordinator,” “manager” and “director,” follow these accepted guidelines and determine which title best reflects what you do. Research national salary statistics to get an idea about the average going rate for that position. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook is a good resource to start your research.

Talk to Your Boss

Arrange a time to meet privately with your boss and pitch him on the idea of your change in position and salary upgrade. Emphasize the successes you've had meeting or exceeding the job responsibilities you were hired to perform. Transition into talking about the additional responsibilities you've been handed and the above-and-beyond contributions you're making in an effort to be a supportive team member. Finalize your presentation by asking for a specific job title and appropriate corresponding salary. Be prepared to negotiate with your boss just as you would if you were asking for a raise or negotiating salary for a new position.


If your boss denies your request, ask what the objection is. There may be no money for a salary increase, or higher-ups may object to giving you a new title. In this case, you can maintain the status quo and ask to revisit the issue again in a few months. If you feel slighted by the decision, you can ask that your responsibilities be pared back to the essentials outlined in your job description, so you aren't continuing to perform work above your pay grade without compensation.

About the Author

Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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