Surveys are showing that salaries are only expected to increase 2.9% across the board this year, according to Fast Company. Experts are calling the economy “job rich and pay poor.” While it’s becoming easier for workers to find jobs, moving up on the pay scale is a challenge, so much so that predictions call for workers not to receive raises for years to come, according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. No wonder that our Employee Engagement Report found that 25% of employees would leave their current job for a 10% raise.
In the past, most workers could expect a raise at least every year — more often than that if they were a strong performer. These days things are less clear. How do you know if you’re getting paid what you deserve? Ask yourself these questions before you go looking for other work.
1. How much are my peers being paid?
This is when having a good network of contacts comes in handy. Ask others in the business, especially veterans with a lot of experience. What’s reasonable to expect? This way you can find out if there are problems in your industry that might be causing pay stagnation.
2. When was the last time I got a raise?
There’s no magic number, but if you haven’t gotten a raise in the last 18 months, then it’s time to start thinking about why that is. After all, the cost of goods and services increases every year, so should your pay. Bankrate reports that the cost of services will increase 2.5% in 2016.
It’s reasonable to expect that your employer should at least explain why you’re not getting a raise. Although there are plenty of other factors that determine why you might stay at a job, a survey by Robert Half found that 38% of employees who left their jobs did so because of inadequate salary and benefits.
3. How often do I ask?
With the constant demands of day-to-day business, it’s entirely possible that your employer has simply neglected to consider how much you’re being paid. If you feel you’re not being paid enough, schedule a meeting with your supervisor. Come prepared with a case for why you should be paid more. And don’t be afraid to negotiate.
4. What’s my long-term outlook like?
You can make a better case for a raise if your career track lines up with staying at your current employer. If you can take on more responsibilities, you’ll be in a stronger position to ask for better pay. If you don’t see a long-term future at the company, then maybe it’s time to move on.
5. How important is salary?
While many employees go into negotiations over pay, that isn’t the complete compensation package. For example, strong health insurance or a good retirement deal might be big incentives. Tell your employer exactly what you need, then be ready for a bit of back and forth.
Although the salary forecast isn’t strong, you should still pursue fair pay. Maybe it’s time to evaluate where you see yourself within the company and how you can move up.