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Can you ask for stock options after you’ve started your job?

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Your compensation package at work doesn’t include stock options, and you’re wondering if there’s a way to negotiate for stock options now.

Stock options are baked into the corporate culture at most startups, with everyone from seasoned executives to junior coordinators earning some amount of equity in the company.

Outside of startups, stock options are more rare, and instead reserved for the management team and key hires. If you’re working for a company that hasn’t offered you stock options yet, you might be able to negotiate for them in your next conversation about compensation.

Start by understanding who is currently earning stock options in the company. Are your colleagues earning them? Is your manager earning them? Is there a written policy in place describing who’s entitled to stock options and why?

If there’s a path to earning stock options in your company, consider ways to advance on that path — for example, by getting promoted into a management role, or transitioning onto a team where stock options are baked into the team’s compensation structure.

If there’s no formal path to earning stock options, you’ll have to ask for stock options in your next conversation with your company about compensation. Successful negotiations require you to demonstrate your value, ask for what would motivate you to stay, and be prepared to walk if you feel you can be compensated better elsewhere.

Good news: With the strong job market, more employers are willing to negotiate to keep their best employees. If they aren’t, they know those employees can find jobs elsewhere that offer stock options to everyone.

Want to learn more about stock options? Check out our educational resources at Secfi Learn.

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