Earning

Deserve More Than the Average 3-Percent Raise? Here’s How to Ask for It

Stacy Rapacon

The economy may be improving, but big raises and bonuses are still hard to come by. For 2018, a recent Aon survey found most of us can expect just a 3-percent bump—if that—about the same that we’ve seen for the past several years. (So-called “lesser performers” may come up totally empty-handed, as more companies move toward merit-based compensation strategies.)

And the hits keep coming: Spending on variable pay, like bonuses, is expected to make up just 12.5 percent of payroll, the lowest level since 2013.

But I thought the job market was looking good?

It is. As of August, the unemployment rate is at 4.4 percent, the lowest since 2007. And employers have even been reporting that they’re having trouble filling jobs. You’d think that means employers, in turn, would want to retain us with bigger raises and bonuses.

“But companies remain under pressure to increase productivity and minimize costs,” Aon’s Ken Abosch said in a statement. “As a result, we continue to see relatively flat salary increase budgets... with most organizations continuing to tie the majority of their compensation budgets to pay incentives that reward for performance and business results.”

So I have to settle for 3 percent?

Never settle, friend. If you feel you’ve earned a bigger paycheck, you’ve got to ask for it—especially considering how tightly employers are clutching the purse strings. In fact, now’s a great time to say your piece before companies square away budgets for the rest of the year and 2018.

How do I ask?

With confidence—and numbers to back you up. Hopefully, you’ve been keeping a running list of all the awesome work you’ve done. If not, take time to review your mental highlight reel. It’s not just about being prepared to talk about your achievements, says Kim Seeling Smith, founder of HR consulting firm Ignite Global. “Also try to quantify how those achievements have added to the company’s bottom line.”

Another number you need in your arsenal: your worth on the open market. Get an idea by checking compensation sites like Payscale, Glassdoor and Salary.com. Seeing what other people in similar positions are earning can help you ensure you’re fairly compensated.

Seeling Smith also recommends researching which skills are in greatest demand in your field and at your company. For example, in the tech world, IT executives rank database management, Windows administration and desktop support among the top skills they’re looking for in employees. If highly sought-after talents are in your wheelhouse, make sure to emphasize the value you bring.

What if the boss says no?

No doesn’t mean never. It’s possible you didn’t present a strong enough case. Or your manager may just be unable to pay up now—like if the budget’s already set or there’s a company-wide pay freeze. So, it’s worth asking.

Either way, “negotiate a specific time for a further review and work with the manager to determine key metrics, which, if achieved, will result in an increase or bonus,” says Seeling Smith. “If possible, this agreement should be put in writing.”

And if you’ve made a good case, and your boss really doesn’t have a good reason for denying you more cash? It may be time to update your resume.

acorns+cnbcacorns cnbc

Join Acorns

GET STARTED

About Us

Learn More

Follow Us

All investments involve risk, including loss of principal. The contents presented herein are provided for general investment education and informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation to buy any specific securities or engage in any particular investment strategy. Acorns is not engaged in rendering any tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please consult with a qualified professional for this type of advice.

Any references to past performance, regarding financial markets or otherwise, do not indicate or guarantee future results. Forward-looking statements, including without limitations investment outcomes and projections, are hypothetical and educational in nature. The results of any hypothetical projections can and may differ from actual investment results had the strategies been deployed in actual securities accounts. It is not possible to invest directly in an index.

Advisory services offered by Acorns Advisers, LLC (“Acorns Advisers”), an investment adviser registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). Brokerage and custody services are provided to clients of Acorns Advisers by Acorns Securities, LLC (“Acorns Securities”), a broker-dealer registered with the SEC and a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (“SIPC”). Acorns Pay, LLC (“Acorns Pay”) manages Acorns’s demand deposit and other banking products in partnership with Lincoln Savings Bank, a bank chartered under the laws of Iowa and member FDIC. Acorns Advisers, Acorns Securities, and Acorns Pay are subsidiaries of Acorns Grow Incorporated (collectively “Acorns”). “Acorns,” the Acorns logo and “Invest the Change” are registered trademarks of Acorns Grow Incorporated. Copyright © 2019 Acorns and/or its affiliates.

NBC Universal and Comcast Ventures are investors in Acorns Grow Incorporated.