How to ask for more money or for a promotion

Are you looking for a promotion or higher salary?
What are the processes to grant these kind of requests?
Can you ask for this right away or is there a specific timing?

When I started my career, I had no clue about this topic so I made a lot of mistakes and learned it the hard way.

The right approach to this depends on number of things. One is considering the size of your company. If you are in a small company, the chance of directly negotiating with the owner of a CRO is bigger than the big companies. While in bigger companies, you need to undergo a certain process in the HR department.

Today, I’ll be sharing with you my learnings on how to ask for more money or for a promotion. Here are some important points:


  • Know the process
  • Understand your market value
  • Know your unique contribution
  • Overdeliver expectations and add value
  • Observe what others do that you can’t do – fill in the gaps
  • Right timing


  • Never bring in your personal situation
  • Be unprepare to be challenged
  • Don’t ask for something the company doesn’t provide or allow

Good luck with your promotion!

Share this episode with your friends and colleagues who might learn from this!


Alexander: You’re listening to the effective statistician podcast, a weekly podcast with Alexandra Schacht,  Benjamin Piske and Sam Gardener designed to help you reach your potential lead, great signs and serve patients without becoming overwhelmed by work. Today, we are talking about how to ask for more money or for a promotion. Stay tuned. And now the music… 

When I started early in my career, I had no clue, really no clue about this topic. And even over time. I learned it. Let’s say the hard way, I made lots of mistakes and that’s completely fine. There’s a couple of things that are really important that I learned over the years. And, of course, the overall setting depends a little bit on the setup, so, In a very big company, it will be a little bit different or very different than in a very small company, where you may directly negotiate with the owner of the zero, something like this. So, take this and learn from it and all the best for your next negotiation, for your promotion. I’m producing this podcast in association with PSI, a community  dedicated to Leading and promoting the use of Statistics within the healthcare industry for the benefit of patients. Join PSI today to further develop your statistical capabilities with access to the video on demand Content Library, free registration to all PSI webinars and much much more. So, the reduced rate is only 20 pounds for non high-income countries and 95 pounds for high-income countries. Any early check out the PSI website at PSI web and become a PSI member today. 

Welcome to another episode of the effective statistician, today we are talking about how to ask for more money, or for promotion. Well, the first thing is, of course, you need to know the process, whenever you are working in a bigger company.  In some companies that have a buildup HR System and a couple of different layers and with more statisticians, there’s more programmers who usually have some kind of process, you can only apply for a promotion at a certain time in the year. . Maybe there are criteria that you need to fulfill, maybe there are certain kinds of requirements that you need to meet. Maybe there’s some kind of grid that shows okay for that level. You need to have demonstrated these kinds of skills for that level,  You need to have demonstrated these kinds of skills. So, understand that, Also, understand who’s involved in the process. Who makes the decisions? Is it your supervisor? Is it your step Supervisor? Is there community? If there is,  You need to understand these people and they need to know you. If they don’t know you, likely, it will be an uphill battle to get any kind of promotion. Also, in terms of money, you know it is usually some kind of process and you need to understand how this process works. Have a discussion with your supervisor. When is the budget coming on which, you know, topics does it depend whether you get more money? Does he have the freedom? Is there some kind of other thing he can do, know, this money is just one thing. Maybe, There’s some other perks said he has better access to. Maybe he can put you on training more easily because he has some kind of training budget or maybe he can help you to work more from home, or maybe he can help you to get to a specific conference that you would like to get to money is just one thing, you know, maybe there’s other things in the process as well. So understand these processes and understand the rules behind it. The written and the unwritten rules and see what’s there. And then over the time before you actually ask for more money or promotion, document how you have helped to achieve your company, your organization goals. Hopefully you already know this,  if you don’t, then, well, you have a clear task now. Understand what are your organizational goals? What are your supervisor’s goals? What are your step supervisors’ goals? How are they measured because you want to help them to achieve their goals? You want to help achieve your company’s goals. If you’re working on something that doesn’t support that, maybe you don’t need to work on that at all. Also, understand your market value. Where are you compared to others at a similar level and Market is, of course. is something really specific. It usually depends on the location. Yeah, So. If you’re located in Germany, don’t compare yourself with someone that is located in the U.S. If you really only want to, you know, work in, I don’t know Idaho. Then, only compare yourself to other statisticians who have a similar situation and of course, and only those drops apply where you can actually live in Idaho. Yeah, so if you can’t compare your salary to someone that works in San Diego. If the job requires them to be in San Diego. It’s just a different market. So the market of course, depends on your mobility. Yeah. So if you, for example, work in Spain, but you can easily move to Germany, it might come with a very different Market, but of course, it also comes  what’s the different cost of living and all kinds of other things. So, understand what is your market and understand what is your market value within it, for that actually helps from time to time to check what is out there and maybe even apply, even if it’s just for understanding your market value and maybe it’s just for having a pulse on the market value, having a pulse on what’s going on out there, you know, an employer Market this employee Market. I have thought about statisticians for years. It’s an employee Market where the employees are in a much better kind of situation because there are lots of open positions and you can likely apply for many positions. And so if you’re really good, If you can work in different environments. If so, maybe you can work from home for a lot of different companies. Yeah, then have a look into that and see whether they’re something open. And you’ll also train your skills in terms of selling yourself in terms of going through the hiring process successfully, maybe even if you don’t really need it, maybe something positive comes out of it, but you’ll always learn. So, invest some time into that and of course, that will also help you to understand where you are in the company. Yeah. Maybe it’s a company really paying far below market value, or far above market value. Yeah, so, and  of course, paying I mean all benefits included. So understand that if you wanna ask for more money or promotion, you also need to have allies outside of your team, you need to have people that have recommended you. People that have praised you if you don’t know VP of medical, and said, “great job done!” Yeah, save that email, send it to your supervisor. And these kinds of stories will help you to show how you have changed the project, how you have impacted a compound, how you have helped the company to achieve its goals, often, of course, we work in teams and now it’s becoming a little bit tricky. We are rewarded for team behavior and all these kinds of different things, but, when it comes to promotion it’s very often about what was your unique contribution? What was it very specifically that you did that helped to move the project forward? Maybe it was, you helped that, you know, in terms of negotiation within the team. Maybe you helped to kind of solve a couple of conflicts or maybe it was some kind of very technical thing, like you  did all the simulations to understand the probability of success for the project, or maybe you came up with a very innovative way to analyze or visualize or communicate the data. Well, maybe, You had the idea for the study or you had the idea for this specific project and you convinced others to act on it. So all these kinds of different things have a thought about what was your unique contribution, if you want to explain that. There is a really nice framework that I very often recommend. It’s a Star framework, S.T.A.R. (spelled out)  S is for  Situation,  So what was the specific situation that you were in? T is for Task, What Task was set on your plate? A, for Action. now describes specifically what you have done here. So not just I fulfilled the task, but what have you done specifically? Have you pulled in other people, have you created an alignment? What have you done?

 R is for Result. What’s the  impact? Did it change the needle? Did it help others to make a decision? What was the outcome? And that is a really critical piece. I once was kind of working in a team and that completely went off on a tangent and some team members said “yeah, we need to create some kind of probability of success”, and then, they did lots of simulation studies. But I couldn’t tell what the impact was. They didn’t know whether it was helpful overall to solve the business problem and that’s really bad. You need to understand what was actually the impact. Now for promotions, more money. One other thing is, of course, important. You get already paid for delivering value. So, you only get an increase if you over deliver on your expectations, so if everything you do is already expected from you is just kind of in line with your current role. There’s no reason to pay you more. There’s no reason to promote you. You basically need to already play on the next level before you get promoted. You need to have demonstrated that you can act on this level that you already deliver value on this level. So, think about that. What is on the next level? What’s happening here? Look around other colleagues that are already working on this level. What do they do? that you don’t do? so, of course, the positive things. Yeah. Don’t try to copy the negative things. Understand that, maybe have a discussion with them. What helped them to get to this level, have a discussion with your supervisor. How does your supervisor understand where you are? Where are the gaps?  and of course that also comes back to your development plan? Yeah, so if you want to ask for money tomorrow, but you haven’t done your homework. Probably bad timing. So, prepare for asking, for more money, prepare for asking, for a promotion overtime and then get the timing right. Yeah, timing is really important. Of course, from the process perspective. It’s really important. If the promotion process just ended, it’s probably pretty difficult to ask for a promotion, it’s probably good, then to have a discussion about what the next promotion cycle is and when that will start and what will be required? Also, So if your company just had laid off lots of different people, maybe it’s not the best time to ask for more money. So think about that. Have in mind, what is the overall situation within the company? Is it growing? Is it stagnant? Is it currently lacking resources? Where are you? What is the state of the company? And then, with all these different things in mind, at the end I also want to talk about a couple of Don’ts. What you shouldn’t do or never do. First, never bring in your personal situation. I know I have a longer commute, I’m buying a house, my spouse got laid off, or

Whatever, these are not reasons for your company to give you more money. It’s not a charity organization. Even if it is, they will give it to someone else. So, come with the value that you bring, not with your personal situation, Second, be prepared to be challenged. I hardly ever think that, when you ask for more money or for promotion the other person will say “Oh sure,  How much do you want? be ready? Yeah, don’t come unprepared with these kinds of things. That’s highly unprofessional and we’ll only kind of make it harder for you next time, also ask for what your supervisor or company cannot provide. There’s probably certain rules from HR whatsoever, that just that’s not what we do. For example, if you ask for a company car, but nobody in your company or at least your level has one. It’s probably difficult or a long shot. If your supervisor is not allowed to give you more freedom in terms of working from home. Don’t ask for it. That doesn’t make sense. Maybe you can find out what’s allowed and what’s not by looking into HR rules or kind of having a discussion about, generally benefits with your supervisor over lunch or something like this, you can ask for these kinds of things and the situation and stuff like that. Also in just general discussion, where you’re not directly asking for, “I want a company car” or something like that. So be aware about what’s possible and make sure that you can demonstrate the value you bring to your organization that is beyond expectations already, if you have set it clear and if you can show that consistently, yes, that is also really important just because you deliver this one nice project will not change things. You need to have delivered it consistently over time. Just because you have done one database look is really nice, that doesn’t mean a lot. Yeah, if you have shown consistently delivering value beyond expectations and consistently of course, kind of depends on where you are and what is the requirement for promotions? Maybe it’s, you know, a year consistently working above or maybe two years that always depends a little bit on the company culture and also, of course, depends on how big the steps are in terms of promotion. Yeah, if there’s only, let’s say three levels within the company and the steps are probably bigger. If you have 20 levels, then steps up, probably smaller and the process will look very different or maybe there’s certain steps that are specifically big and others are smaller. So, know policies of different kinds of things before you go into these discussions, don’t come unprepared. If you have any thoughts about this, Send me a message on LinkedIn. I’m always really happy to have a discussion about this on LinkedIn and help you to progress. 

The show was created in association with PSI Thanks to Raine showing the background and thank you for listening. Check out the effective for the show notes and lots of more things you can learn to boost your career as a statistician in the health sector. And of course, to harvest all the things that you invested. There’s also the Effective Statistician Leadership Program. We are starting enrollment for that soon again. So, stay tuned for that. Reach  your potential, Lead great signs and serve patients, just be an effective Statistician.

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