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No Raise in 2017? Here's How to Change That for 2018

By Maurie Backman - Dec 9, 2017 at 8:02AM

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Being denied a raise is never a great spot to be in. If 2017 wasn't kind on the pay-increase front, take steps to improve your odds for a boost in 2018.

If you're not getting a raise this year, you're in good company. More than half of U.S. employees saw no pay increase over the past 12 months, according to data from Bankrate -- but that doesn't make it OK. If you want to improve your odds of snagging a raise in 2018, here are a few things you can do.

1. Know what you're really worth

Your boss might dismiss your absent raise by claiming that you're being paid fairly regardless. But the only way to know that for sure is to do your research and see what the going rate is for your position based on where you're located (keeping in mind that salaries can vary in different parts of the country). Glassdoor has an extremely helpful "Know Your Worth" tool that lets you compare your earnings to what others are making based on your industry and job title, so do some digging and see where you stand. If it turns out you are being underpaid, bring that data to your manager and use it to fight for a raise next year.

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2. Take on more responsibility

It's easy to fall into a routine where you're coming to work, doing exactly what you're being told to do, and getting it done correctly. But there comes a point when staying inside your comfort zone could cost you a raise. If you want to increase your chances of a boost next year, pledge to be more proactive in seeking out different responsibilities. You might ask to be put on a high-profile project, or offer your services to another team in need. If you show your manager that you're willing to keep challenging yourself, it'll add to the argument that you deserve a bump in pay for your efforts.

3. Prove you're a leader

It's often the case that those who take charge are most likely to get rewarded when raises are limited. If you want a pay increase next year, show your boss that you're capable of heading up projects and managing others. Volunteer to oversee a major company initiative, or speak up at meetings when others seem to be knocking your team down. Prove that you have what it takes to be a leader, and your boss will take notice.

4. Boost your skills

Even if you're set in your role, there's no reason not to keep expanding your skill set. You never know when it might come in handy, or put you in a position where you're better able to cross-function with other teams. Not only that, but the more skills you have, the easier it'll be to argue your case for a raise when the next opportunity arises. So take a course to learn something new, or get certified in something you already do. It'll come in handy during your upcoming salary negotiation.

5. Add measurable value to your company

In any given organization, different people contribute in different ways. But if you're able to add value in a quantifiable manner, you'll likely fare better raise-wise come this time next year. If you're in IT, for example, implement a fix that reduces recorded system bugs from 50 to 20 per week. (That's huge!) If you're in marketing, develop a strategy that boosts sales by 5% from the previous year, or even quarter. While not everything you do will have a data point attached to it, the more you're able to prove your value with numbers, the greater your chances of being rewarded financially.

We all want to make more money at work, and sometimes, that doesn't come easy. You may need to be prepared for a bit of battle as you attempt to change your fate next year, but if you go about things strategically, you have a better chance of getting the raise you deserve.

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