How to negotiate a higher salary without having a college degree?

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Question by woodybmi: How to negotiate a higher salary without having a college degree?
I have been with the same company for 13 years. I started out in production and have worked my way up to Application Engineer in our R&D Center. My problem is that my salary is about 20K less than the new “degreed” Engineers that we are now hiring. I have been given the task of training these new hires. During my last performance review I scored excellent, but only received a 3% pay raise. Why am I not compensated at the same level as the new hires? Even without a degree I feel that my work experience is more than adequate to qualify me for the appropriate pay grade. If anyone has any suggestions as to how I can better negotiate with my employer please advise. Also, it would be very difficult for me to attend college now as I work full time and have every little “free” time.

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5 Responses to How to negotiate a higher salary without having a college degree?

  1. Explain it to your boss the way u did here. Your experience makes up for a degree. you should be entitled to it.

    Jessica S
    January 24, 2014 at 12:59 pm

  2. If they’re not giving you the pay you deserve, I’d go and do some external courses, take the completed certificates in and show them on paper what you’re worth if that’s what they really need.( as they seem to) If they don’t give you a pay rise then, you’ll certainly be able to get a new job where they will, particularly with your newly acquired skills written in ink. Oh, write off the cost of your courses at tax time, it is a work expense because it’s based on improving your income from the workplace, just check with an accountant what exactly you can claim before you enrol in anything. Good Luck, don’t let them keep taking advantage of you because they know you’re capable!

    January 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm

  3. sounds like you are very well spoken and you have your “ducks in a row”.
    i would present your case to your supervisor and ask why you are compensated signifcantly less than the people that you are training.
    are you getting compensated for training?? often times, in my experience, trainers usually received more money for training or some other type of compensation or “perk” for the extra work.
    it’s very tricky because you don’t want to “rock the boat”, however, long term employees get the “short end of the stick” sometimes when it comes to wages b/c the employer forgets about their wages and does not perform a wage “wrap” when inflation raises wages in the entry workforce.
    i have also known management employees fight the company b/c they have dedicated many years to the company and someone with a degree comes in and in 2 years they are making the same or more than they are….after many more years of experience.
    this often leads to management turnover in companies…which i wish they would realize.

    i would present your case to your immediate supervisor (or who ever has influence over your salary) and inquire about the possibilty of a raise due to the wages of the newcomers and the fact that you are training them.
    be prepared for them to tell you that obtaining a degree will help you get there….try to compromise on this. see if they will increase your wage based on credits earned. this way you can take one or two classes a semester and start to earn more after 1 semester. also, get in writing exactly what you agree upon.

    i experienced this at the last company i worked for….a supervisor was being deterred from promotion because of his education. first, he was told that any degree would help. so, he got his associate’s. then, they said he’d need his bachelor’s. well, he never got anything in writing so he had to deal with the “run around” he was getting from upper management and HR.

    i wish you luck, but please have a back up plan in mind in case they tell you “tough luck”.
    start looking into other opportunities at other companies. perhaps, you could find a better salary somewhere else.

    take care.

    keep any negotiations to yourself. i’ve seen people blab about their agreements with the company and b/c of it the company renegged or retaliated in some way.

    January 24, 2014 at 1:45 pm

  4. Unfortunately that little piece of paper carries a lot of weight and seems to be worth more than all the experience in the world. I feel for you. Been there too.

    In order to negotiate a better rate of pay, you should schedule an appointment with your supervisor, preferably before you are due on the work floor. Prior to the meeting, make a list of all of your work duties as well as any positive contributions you’ve made to the company. Present to them a positive image as to why you deserve more than you’re making presently. But be prepared to receive some positive criticism at the same time. If you are turned down due to a lack of education, then ask if the company has any programs for education advancement that you can utilize, pointing out that you do work full time for them and that you feel that you may be able to benefit the company more with the college education.

    While it’s not a guarantee, I’ve always found that to be the best approach and as a business owner myself, I appreciate it when an employee thinks enough about why they deserve a raise other than “because I show up”. Other options for education would be to check into internet courses through your local colleges. I know how precious time is but I also realize how precious that little piece of paper is.

    Good luck!

    January 24, 2014 at 2:37 pm

  5. This might be cheating… but the easiest way to negotiate better benefits is to hire a professional to help you. As a professional salary negotiator myself, I have negotiated higher salaries for over 700 people. My trick is to handle the entire salary negotiation over email. Negotiating by email improves the odds for an amateur negotiator. That’s because it takes away your employer’s ability to “read you” in person and bluff you into taking less. Over email you can carefully choose every word. And a professional like me can squeeze HR to get every penny you deserve. The only rule is that you can never tell ANYONE that you had outside help. To learn more about hiring a professional salary negotiator to get you more money, watch a free tutorial video at:

    January 24, 2014 at 3:05 pm

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