This article appears in Family magazine February 2018.
More than half of American workers did not receive a salary increase in the past 12 months, according to a new Bankrate.com report. The percentage is even higher for older workers: 64 percent of those 53 and older did not see a recent wage increase via a pay raise or a new job, compared to 47 percent of those who are younger.
What does it take to get a raise? Listen to some advice from the experts:
“A lot of people hold themselves back from for a raise because they’re scared of having that conversation. And it can be an intimidating conversation to have, but consider the worst case scenario: the answer is no,” said Brie Reynolds, senior career specialist at FlexJobs, a search site specializing in remote, part-time, freelance and flexible jobs. “The best case scenario is that they say ‘yes’ to your request, and even in between those two outcomes there are some positive potential outcomes. They may say ‘yes’ to some, but not all of your request, but that’s still more than you started with.”
“Start the conversation sooner rather than later. Don’t wait for your manager to bring up the subject. The last thing you want is to get caught off-guard by your boss and have to discuss your compensation without warning — and before you’ve had time to properly prepare for such an important conversation,” said Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for TopResume.
Wait for right time
“If you’ve gotten a raise in the past six months, then you should wait another six months before asking for another one. Also, wait until you accomplish a major project before asking for a raise because it will be easier for you to justify the increase,” said Dan Schawbel, author of “Promote Yourself” and “Me 2.0.”
Be worthy of it
“Never ask for a raise just because you want it or think you deserve it. You must clearly demonstrate why you should get a raise,” said Ford R. Myers, president of coaching service Career Potential. “The way to do this is by sharing compelling accomplishment stories with your boss. These stories need to articulate your value in tangible, measureable ways. Your compensation will only increase when you can prove that your contributions to the company have increased.”
Know what to ask for
“Use sites such as Paysa, Salary.com, PayScale and Glassdoor to research the going rate for the role you’re currently performing, taking into account your company’s size, location and industry. This data will provide you with a pay range you can use to base your salary request,” Augustine said.
Find out why
“If you don’t get a raise, then ask your manager what you need to do in order to earn one the next time you ask. This will set expectations so that you know what you have to do in order to earn it next time around,” Schawbel said.
Look beyond money
“If a raise isn’t in the cards, you can ask for other benefits or perks that can affect your salary more generally. For example, asking for flexible work options is a fantastic idea. People who work from home can save an average of $4,600 per year, which is the equivalent of a significant raise for a lot of people. Or having a flexible schedule where you can shift your start and end times each day can help you avoid peak commuting hours and save a tremendous amount of time (and gas money) each week. Consider other options if you feel a monetary raise isn’t going to pan out for you,” Reynolds said.