Should You Ask for a Raise? How to Tell When It’s Time

hen thinking about improving our financial health, most of us focus on our spending. We resolve to create a budget and stick to it, skip the daily latte at our favorite coffee spot, become a one-car family, cut cable or trade an exotic vacation for a staycation.

And it’s true: All of those actions can improve your financial health. But they only address one side of the financial health equation: spending. The other way to improve financial health is to increase your income (while keeping your spending in check, of course). SEE MORE How NOT to Sell Your Idea at Work

But increasing income is often overlooked by my clients. Somehow, reining in spending seems more virtuous and doable than negotiating a higher salary. However, many of my clients aren’t earning as much as they could be.

I’ve seen hundreds, if not thousands of salaries — and I’ve seen some huge deltas. Even accounting for education and experience, company size, cost of living and industry, salaries vary wildly. For example, I’ve seen client salaries for what appear to be pretty similar jobs range from $60,000 to $150,000.

The time to evaluate and possibly increase your income has never been better. During the Great Resignation, the U.S. “quit rate” reached a 20-year high, according to Pew Research . Worker shortages are apparent everywhere.

Almost two-thirds (63%) of employees told Pew that the top reason they quit their jobs was salary. That’s a lot of people who believed they weren’t getting paid what they were worth. If you feel like you could be one of them, here are some practical suggestions to negotiate a bigger paycheck. Step 1: Determine If You’re Being Paid Enough

Salary is a taboo subject, so it’s difficult to find out what others are earning. Online databases such as Glassdoor and PayScale rely on anonymous salary data with no way to verify their accuracy. Plus, the databases may be out of date and not reflect the current job market.

However, online databases can be a good starting point to get a feel for what other similar firms pay for an employee with your experience and responsibilities. Just don’t make them your only resource.

The best way to find accurate salary data is to ask someone in a similar position to yours. Awkward? It can be, but hopefully you’ve nurtured a network of peers and more senior people who are willing to share what a reasonable salary range would be. You’re not asking them to disclose their salary but what they think the salary range for your job should be.

You could also reach out to people through online networks such as LinkedIn or through professional associations you belong to.

Titles can be misleading. A vice president of marketing at one company could have drastically different responsibilities than a vice president at another firm. When you’re broaching the pay topic, ask about their job responsibilities as well.

Sadly, gender and racial pay gaps still exist . In 2022, women earned 84% of what men earned. It would take a woman an extra 42 days of work to earn what a man did in 2020. The disparity is even greater between black women and white, non-Hispanic men. Black women earned only 63% of what their white male counterparts earned.

When doing your research, the best approach is to ask as many people from as many diverse groups as you can. Otherwise, your ballpark salary range may be an anomaly and not the norm. Step 2: Ask for a Raise

Let’s say you do discover that your salary is at the low end of what you should be paid. What’s next? You could l ook for a job at another employer and negotiate a bigger salary. It’s pretty common to request a 10% to 20% pay increase when you switch jobs.

But leaving isn’t always the best option. What if you like your co-workers, the work and the company culture? Don’t leave; instead, ask for a raise.

Many of us dread asking for a raise, so we simply don’t. Women are especially hesitant, not wanting to rock the boat or appear too aggressive. During the pandemic, 42% of employed men asked for a raise compared with only 27% of women.

Women aren’t asking for raises, and they are also less likely to negotiate salary during their initial job offer. More than two-thirds (68%) of women accepted the salary they were offered and did not negotiate compared with 52% of men. Over the course of a career, not negotiating salary or asking […]

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