Average Annual Raises: What’s Standard And Tips For Beating It

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 24, 2020

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A raise is a monetary offer that symbolizes all the strong work you’ve done for your company. Even when you feel well-deserving of receiving a raise, that doesn’t make asking for one any less intimidating. Most people are uncomfortable bringing up the discussion of being paid more money with their supervisor.

Nerves are common in anticipation of requesting a pay raise, but going into the interaction prepared will improve your boss’s chances of responding positively.

The Best Time to Ask for a Raise

The perfect timing to ask for a raise depends on a culmination of factors. Many of which, you’ll have to evaluate for yourself to decide if now is the best time to ask for a raise in your position and company. Consider both introspective and external aspects that will impact your supervisor’s decision.

For example, an important external factor is the financial status of your organization. As an employee for a while, you know if your company is thriving or not doing well in the current market. While this scenario won’t be directly linked to you as an employee, a company in a time of turmoil can negatively affect the approval of your salary raise request.

Alternatively, thinking about your personal work performance is crucial to your employer giving you a raise. Asking for a raise after just finishing leading a successful project that generates revenue for the business will be more effective than during a lull in your performance. While you don’t need to have just accomplished an impressive goal to ask for a raise, it can definitely help provide a recent example of a time you’ve excelled.

The Situations in Which You Should Ask for a Raise

Deciding to ask for a raise should be based on more than just a feeling. Raises are given based on tangible evidence of reason. If you’re experiencing one of the following situations, it’s a good bet that it’s the time for you to ask for a raise.

  1. You’ve taken on more management responsibility. Employees in supervisory roles are automatically expected to receive more compensation for their services. Once you’ve been asked to take on more managerial responsibility, your employer will probably already be considering the possibility of giving you a raise. After settling into the role, it’s a good situation to ask for a raise.

  2. You just finished a big project. While you shouldn’t be asking for a raise after every project you complete, successfully completing a big goal or project gives strong reasoning for a pay raise. It should be an endeavor that you excelled in and noticeably improved your company.

  3. It’s been a year since your last raise. Another situation that you should ask for a raise in is when you’ve been working for the company for a significant amount of time. Usually, raises are given yearly unless your employer has discussed a specific salary increase schedule during onboarding. After about a year with the company and consistent good work output, you’re in a secure position to open a discussion with your boss about a raise.

  4. You’re having a performance review. A performance review is used to evaluate how well you’ve been handling your responsibilities over a given time-frame. If you’ve been meeting or exceeding your supervisor’s expectations, a raise will likely be on the table. Either way, this is an ideal scenario to discuss a raise in.

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    Your supervisor is already thinking about your accomplishments during your time working and open to discussing your position. Go into it prepared with how you’ll ask for a raise if the topic doesn’t get brought up.

  5. You’re being paid less than the market average for your role. Research is a useful trick when it comes to gathering data about how well you’re being paid. The market average for salary in your position acts as a standard, and if you find that you’re being underpaid, this can be a situation when it’s appropriate to ask for a raise.

    Before you present this information to your boss, make sure your facts are from a reputable source. Try to acquire multiple sources that have the same information to strengthen the impact of your argument.

How to Measure Your Performance Before Asking for a Raise

One of the key elements to making a successful case for a raise is coming prepared with talking points about your performance. To do this, you need to measure the success of your performance before setting up a meeting with your supervisor to discuss.

Measuring professional performance can be done in several ways, depending on the field you work for. In an industry related to sales, looking into the analytics of your client retention and profit margins can help demonstrate your accomplishments while working. On the other hand, a teacher might turn to statistics in grade improvement among their students to illustrate their impact.

Performance measurement is unique to you and the business you work in.

10 Tips for Getting More Than the Average Pay Raise

  1. Request a meeting. Discussing the details of a potential raise isn’t something you can do with your boss in passing. Doing so will look unprofessional. You need to set up an allotted time to talk about your salary raise and have their full focus.

  2. Write down your reasoning and practice. Having a vague idea of why you’re a good candidate to receive a raise isn’t enough preparation. Write down your reasons clearly and edit them for clarity. Once you have a few points that you’re comfortable talking about and make a strong case for deserving a raise, practice how you will present them to your boss when the meeting comes.

    Speaking the words you intend to say out loud is key in coming across confidently when you do it in real-time.

  3. Know how much of a raise you want. Picture the scene of you going in to speak with your supervisor about the possibility of you receiving a raise. You articulate your points clearly, and they’ve been positively responsive throughout the whole meeting. It’s reaching the end, and you think you’re about to be given the salary raise. When, instead, your boss says, “Okay, how much of a raise are you looking for?” and you’re left mumbled a series of elongated “Uh’s.”

    This makes you appear unprepared. You should go into a pay raise meeting with an appropriate number in mind. Look into what the typical raise for an employee in your field, location, and experience level. In the United States, a 3% increase in salary is given for the average wage raise.

  4. Be confident. Half the battle in any form of negotiations is going into it with confidence. No matter how deserving you are of a raise, if you present these reasons with insecurity, your manager won’t be convinced. Confidence in asking for a raise can be built up by practicing your approach beforehand.

  5. Ask for feedback. One way to improve the success of a salary raise meeting is by asking your supervisor for feedback. The process of receiving a wage raise is a discussion, not a demand. By asking for feedback about your performance in a given time, it allows your boss to say in their own words what you’re doing well.

    If they present you with things that you could improve on, this can also help secure a raise in the future. Having a detailed list of things you could do better makes it easier to focus on these areas and bring them up in your next potential raise meeting once you’ve fixed these issues.

  6. Focus on your accomplishments. While your employer might be sympathetic to all the reasons why you want a higher salary, they’re more likely to give it to you when you focus on why you deserve one.

    Their primary concern is doing what’s best for the company, which means providing their best employees with adequate pay. Demonstrating your value is done by making the conversation mainly about your professional achievements and what you’ve brought to the company by working there.

  7. Be prepared for questions. There’s a possibility that your supervisor will ask you how much of a raise you want, but that may not be the only question you get. Go into a salary raise meeting with the expectation that you’ll need to answer questions.

    Some tough questions you may be asked during a pay raise discussion include:

    • Would you be willing to take on more responsibility after receiving a raise?

    • Do you feel there’s anything we could do to improve your employee satisfaction, besides a raise?

    • Would you be willing to accept paid time-off or more benefits/perks instead?

    • Can we revisit the possibility of a raise next year?

  8. Discuss your plans for the future. Your company appreciates the work you’ve done in the past, but it’s considered an investment in the future when they offer you a raise. Inform them of how you plan to keep performing well for their company to ensure that they’re willing to invest in you.

  9. Be realistic. Presenting your employer with an overzealous pitch for a raise or exaggerating your accomplishments will dissuade them from taking the conversation any further. Be realistic in the portrayal of your work for the company, why you deserve the raise, and how much you’re asking for.

  10. Be open to the possibility of them saying no. The idea of your boss turning down your request for a salary raise is a hard pill to swallow. While this outcome may not be the one you’re looking for, use it to your advantage instead of sulking. Take the chance to ask your supervisor what actions you could take to make you eligible for a raise in the future and how you can improve your performance.

    If you’re feeling a lack of upward mobility in your position concerning raises, consider looking for a new job. There’s a position out there that wants to pay you what you deserve for your hard work.

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Chris Kolmar

Author

Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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