How to Get a Bigger Raise in 2013

 In Career Tips

How to Get a Bigger Raise in 2013Raises have been minimal, or non-existent from 2010 to 2012 according to a compensation-planning survey from Mercer, a New York human resources consulting firm. Most organizations have not even covered the 2012 cost of living adjustment (COLA) of 3.6 % as reported by the Social Security Administration and responded with paltry raises in the 2.7% range this year.

It’s clear that the US Labor market is still in slow recovery. The supply and demand of quality workers is clearly skewing the equity of salary increases as many Americans are still looking for work. Highly specialized fields such as technology, engineering, and health care are still seeking experienced workers and those employees are more likely to see pay raises that happen faster and more regularly.

While the compensation projection is less than robust, you can take a more proactive approach to your annual salary review. Here are four ways to better your chances of earning a higher raise in 2013.

Manage Up – Don’t assume that your boss knows everything that you are doing, including the accolades and successes you have earned on the job. Unless you are doing a poor job, most bosses leave you to your own devices and rarely check-in.

It’s your responsibility to let your boss know on a regular basis what you are accomplishing. Write a brief monthly report to outline the goals you have met and the solutions you provided that meet the strategic plan of your company or department. Be specific because you are a building a case for a merit-based raise. These mini reports for your boss will add facts to back up why you deserve a salary increase much more effectively than the generic annual performance review. Plus, it helps you keep track of what you have accomplished so you can talk about this effectively during your evaluation and beyond.

Plan Ahead – In this economy, it’s common for a boss to say “You’ve done a great job this year but we just don’t have the budget to give you a raise right now.” Instead of sulking back to your office feeling deflated, ask your boss to plan for your raise in the next fiscal year or some shorter time period. Ask in advance for a percentage that reflects your outstanding work so it can be figured into the line item budget for the next period.

“No” doesn’t mean “No, Always” – it simply means “Not Now” and it’s your responsibility to follow-up and offer a plan for the future which indicates your value-add to the organization and your desire to stay with the firm for the foreseeable future. Management is more likely to invest in you if they believe you will be sticking around.

You can also be creative and ask for a bonus or professional development funding during a given time period to make up for the lack of increase to your base pay. These alternative incentives are often more affordable and easier to grant so be creative and come to the bargaining table with multiple options.

Become Indispensible – It’s not just about pulling your weight anymore since raises are not a given in this economy. Employees really need to earn their keep and illustrate why they are exceptional at what they do.

Become a go-to expert in your area and provide solutions to issues that are a necessity to the company success. If you can distinguish yourself as someone they cannot lose, your chances of being promoted will grow significantly. If you need to develop additional skills or competencies, consider this an investment in your career future and ask for work that will help you demonstrate these skills visibly within your workplace. Being indispensable will also help make you less vulnerable when mergers, lay-offs, and right sizing occur.

Ask for It – Don’t take a passive role in your salary increase. Ask your boss for a raise and make a strong case for your request by backing it up with comparative salary data as well as results of your accomplishments during a given period. Be clear about what you are asking for but enter the discussion with a negotiating mindset, open for revision, and up for the discussion.

Don’t suffer from low expectations, set your sights high and be clear about what you want and why you deserve it. In this economy you can’t wait for a raise to come to you no matter how stellar you are at work. You must make the powers that be aware of your value-add, ask for what you deserve, and come to the negotiation with facts and a strong ability to negotiate.

With over a decade of career and professional development coaching experience, Caroline Dowd-Higgins has a desire to empower and energize people to achieve their personal goals.  Her training style is engaging, high energy, and positive with a focus on unlocking the self-advocate within each of us.  Read more from Caroline at

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