With the economy continuing to sputter, complete with a seemingly jittery stock market, lower than expected consumer spending, and continued high unemployment, many employers are reticent to offer raises. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t respond positively to a deserving employee who’s in need of a salary bump. So how can you go about landing a pay raise? And if you’re deserving but still can’t get your employer to budge, what should you do?
Simply ask for a pay raise
One reason that you may not have received a well-deserved pay raise is that you haven’t asked for one. Sounds simple, right? Dave Ramsey likes to say on his nationally syndicated radio show that 100% of the homes that are foreclosed on have mortgages. The same kind of logic can be applied to pay raises too. You’re almost guaranteed to fall behind the salary curve if you don’t request a bigger paycheck from time to time.
Far too many employees fail to ask their employers for a pay raise. And, especially given the current economic realities, many employers will be content to maintain the status quo unless you ask them to do otherwise. If they’re not concerned about losing your valuable service, there’s no incentive for them to pay you more. Simply asking for a pay raise can make all the difference in the world. Just be sure to pick the right time to do it and state your case convincingly.
Prove your worth to your boss
Of course, if you’re going to ask for a raise, you better be sure you’re worth it. Do you bring in more business than your coworkers? Did one of your brilliant ideas save your company thousands of dollars in annual expenses? Do you routinely cut costs without negatively impacting productivity? Or did you come up with a new way to save time when completing an important task? The perfect time to ask for a raise might be right after you land a big new client. Or you may be able to tie the amount you ask for to the additional revenue or savings that you’ve generated.
Direct contributions that you have made are a great way to justify to your supervisors why you deserve a higher salary. If you can directly quantify how much value you’ve added to your employer’s business, you’ll have a basis to start the negotiations and you’ll be in a much more powerful bargaining position. The more specific you can get and details you can show your boss will help boost your case for a new pay raise.
Jump ship and go job hunting
If all else fails, consider looking for greener pastures — leaving your current job in favor of a higher paying position (assuming you can find one) is a surefire way to improve your bottom line. This can, however, be a risky move. You’re taking a leap into the unknown, and the new office politics (or whatever) might not be to your liking.
If you’re willing to risk it, there are numerous websites out there that can help you determine what your skills are really worth on the open market. And while the job market is tight, there are still opportunities for truly valuable (and patient) workers to improve their lot in life.
On average, American workers change jobs every three years or so. This lack of job loyalty is even more prevalent with workers under the age of 30 who tend to find a new job every 18 months on average. While there are many reasons to leave one job for another, landing an offer for a higher paying position is a great way to increase your salary.
What about you? Have you ever asked your boss for a pay raise, or have you been content with your current salary plus whatever adjustments have come your way without asking? Would you consider jumping ship and looking for a new job just to get a higher salary, or is that simply not an option given your circumstances?