We could pick any arbitrary number of reasons why you deserve a raise. The simple fact is that you probably deserve one just because you’re awesome. Otherwise why would you be here?
But seriously: the proper functioning of the free market requires that workers constantly press for the best possible conditions from their employers. Not only is it ok to seek a raise, it’s good for everyone, employers included. By getting fairer compensation, you are helping yourself, and your company to retain its base of knowledge and skills, and to operate more efficiently as well. Getting a raise is not only a good thing for you: it’s good for the whole economy.
So with that in mind, let’s dive in with 11 ways you can get a raise this year:
1. Interview for New Jobs
One of the best ways to get a raise is to know your worth. And what better way to do that, than to go on some friendly recruiting interviews? Talking to recruiters or applying for new jobs isn’t a sign of “disloyalty” to your employer.
You have a right to seek new opportunities, and to know what your work is worth. If you get a better offer to work somewhere else, you can always go to your current employer with this information and ask them to match the new salary. You may be surprised at the result.
2. Point out that Business is Growing
If you’re anything like us, and many small and medium sized businesses have seen the same thing: sales are growing, and business is booming again after the doldrums of Covid. Even if the economy is slowing down a bit, there is still plenty of demand on growing businesses, and the job market is competitive.
If your business is growing, you should ask for a raise. A rising tide raises all ships, and so it should raise yours too.
3. Let Your Employer Know You’ve Upped Your Game
Since the pandemic, many of us have been asked to take on responsibilities and roles we never had before. As older workers begin to leave the labor force, their job responsibilities are becoming our own. Have you been asked to take on new responsibilities at work? Then you deserve better compensation as well.
Maybe you had to show up for “hero duty” during lockdowns. Or maybe you had to work at home with 2 small children driving you nuts. Either way, you’ve stepped up to the plate and continued to deliver in the face of enormous challenges. You’ve earned a raise my friend.
4. Point Out You’ve Made Sacrifices
Speaking of heroes: if your employer thought it was appropriate to label you as particularly heroic for continuing to work during the global pandemic, you are perfectly within your rights to ask that they back that praise up with something real: a raise.
You probably worked in less than ideal conditions during the last 3 years, and it’s time that companies made good on the sacrifices employees have made for the sake of their community, their coworkers, and yes, the company. Maybe you’ve risked your life. Maybe you’ve just had to endure soul-crushing loneliness as you sat at home and continued to do your job with no emotional support or companionship. Either way: show me the money.
5. Point Out Inflation is Rising
Inflation has been rampant over the past year or so. Inflation in developed economies approached 11% during 2022, and continues to hover at around 8%. This means that unless you’ve received raises of around 10% over each of the last two years, you’ve effectively taken a pay cut. Is that fair? No.
All in all, your life is just more expensive than it was a year ago, and that means a raise is in order.
6. Remember that Unemployment is Low
When lots of people are looking for jobs, employers can afford to take their workers for granted. But today there are more jobs than there are workers available to do them. The demographics don’t lie. More people are retiring than are entering the workforce, and that means you deserve a bigger share of the pie.
Sure, quitting your job is hard and scary, but don’t forget that losing you is also going to be hard and scary for your employer. Especially since you will be able to find work wherever you want, and they will have to compete with every other employer to try and replace you.
It costs more to replace an adequate worker than it does to retain them, and that should be your attitude when you seek your raise this year.
7. Point Out Cost Savings You’ve Made
While inflation is rising and the cost of living are going up, many of the costs of business have gone down. Offices who went hybrid or full-remote have saved money on cleaning, electricity, and food services. They’ve saved money on travel expenses, and per diem as workers have stayed home and telecommuted to conferences, making more sales over Zoom than in person.
Commercial real estate costs, unlike much of the rest of the economy, is still suffering a downturn as businesses shift to hybrid work. So with this in mind, you can argue that the company is able to be more profitable than ever before, given that fixed costs have decreased.
8. Argue that Your Costs Have Gone Up
Speaking of the cost of doing business, it’s likely that if you’re a remote worker, your costs have risen as your employer’s have dropped. You’ve invested in teleconferencing equipment, you’ve used more electricity and water, and you’ve made more of your own meals at home. You’ve probably also put more wear on your own personal computer equipment than you normally would.
All that translates to just one more argument in favor of a raise. After all, how is your employer going to see your beautiful face on zoom during that weekly meeting if you don’t have that brand new 4K webcam with autofocus? And don’t get us started on the rising costs of broadband, and in some countries dreaded data caps.
Plus, the costs of things like childcare, personal automobiles, public transit, and food have all gone up too, which impacts remote workers more than anyone else.
9. Argue Loyalty Should be Valued
The fact is that if you’re still with your previous employer after all you’ve been through the last 3 years, that deserves some recognition. Companies should be worried about appearances these days, and refusing to give a pay bump when it’s really needed just isn’t a good look.
Don’t be afraid to let your employer know that loyalty goes both ways. If your employer isn’t willing to demonstrate to you, right now, that they are looking out for your long term interests with a decent raise, then they may be signaling that things aren’t going to be any better in the future, and it may be time to move on.
10. Your Prices Have Risen
If you’re working in retail or SaaS, or really any business involving sales (which is most businesses), then it’s likely that you’re charging more for your products and services than you were three years ago. That’s in the nature of inflation. With that in mind, remind your employer that high prices mean that there’s more cash available to pay workers. If you happen to be an employee with a good sense of how much the business is making these days, then it’s not inappropriate to let your employer know that you expect better compensation based on better performance.
11. Talk to a Union Rep
This one is tricky. Frankly, particularly in a country like the United States, you risk your job by trying to organize your workforce with a union. However, unions fight for the rights of workers, by representing them collectively to an employer. Remember: your company’s HR department works for your company, and not for you. Unionization allows workers to seek the protection of specialists who are there to negotiate on your behalf, and secure better terms from your employer.
Talking to a union organizer or representative doesn’t cost you anything, and you may like what you hear. However, keep in mind the realities of labor organization: you may find yourself out of a job, or in a legal battle with your employer, if they don’t appreciate your efforts. In our view, a workplace should have the right to organize and be represented by a trade union, if they wish. However, employers often fear unionization more than anything else. You may find that your employer is willing to negotiate directly with you if there is a chance that your workplace will attempt to unionize. That means you have some leverage after all!
It’s Because You’re Worth it.
Remember that seeking a raise is a right you have as employee in a free market. If you feel your work isn’t being fairly compensated, you have a right, and in fact a duty, to seek better pay for yourself and your. coworkers. That’s how the free market works. You just need to remind yourself that you’re worth it. Because you are.