Want to make more money this year? You’ll need to be proactive.
Wages are growing, but you might not be able to prove it by looking at your bank balance. Factor inflation into account, and the buying power of your paycheck might actually be lower than it was just a few years ago — even if you consistently get raises.
According to The PayScale Index, real wages have declined 6.9 percent since 2006. Waiting for your employer to give you a raise won’t close the gap. Here’s what to do instead:
1. Ask for More
Seventy-five percent of respondents to PayScale’s survey who asked for a raise received some sort of a pay bump — but most people don’t ask. In fact, only 43 percent of respondents said that they’d ever asked for a raise in their current field.
If you’re one of the 57 percent who haven’t asked, the first step is to figure out what’s holding you back. Maybe you’re not sure that you deserve more money? The PayScale Salary Survey will tell you where you stand under 10 minutes. Answer a few questions about your skills, education and job, and find out whether you’re being paid fairly (or whether there’s room for improvement).
On the other hand, maybe you’re just uncomfortable negotiating salary. In that case, it might help to know that you’re not alone. Twenty-eight percent of respondents who didn’t negotiate held back because of discomfort talking about money. The key to overcoming your fear: information (see above) and practice. Review these salary negotiation scripts and make a plan to negotiate based on data.
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2. Get a New Job
The best time to make more money is when you change jobs. Why? Because the majority of hiring managers are expecting it. As long as your request is reasonable and in line with the market, prospective employers shouldn’t be surprised when you come back to the table with a counter-offer.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that negotiating a new job offer is easy. You’ll still have to contend with the occasional hiring manager who wants to base the offer on your salary history, for example. Your goal: steer the conversation toward what matters — your skills and experience, and what they can do for the company.
3. Don’t Forget About Bonuses
“…[G]iven the competitiveness of today’s market, businesses will need to offer some type of economic incentive to keep and attract top talent and we predict this will take the form of higher and more frequent bonuses,” writes Katie Bardaro, PayScale’s chief economist, in her compensation predictions for 2018.
What does this mean for you? Well, if you’re negotiating a raise or a job offer, don’t restrict your request to a higher base salary. A higher bonus might be an easier sell.
4. Upskill Yourself
Hot jobs are harder to fill, and employers have to pay a premium for qualified applicants. If you want to send your salary into the stratosphere, your best bet might be to upskill yourself … or retrain for an in-demand career. (Provided, of course, that you like tech: most of the fastest-growing, highest-paying jobs require highly technical skills.)
5. Negotiate Benefits and Perks
Finally, while you’d probably prefer to see your paycheck go up, there are other ways to add to your bottom line (without taking a second job). Negotiating for perks like telecommuting privileges or educational benefits can save you money now … or improve your bargaining position down the line.
Tell Us What You Think
Have you successfully raised your salary? We want to hear from you. Tell us your story in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.