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This Percentage of Americans Got Raises in 2018

By Maurie Backman – Dec 24, 2018 at 6:34AM

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It's respectable, but perhaps smaller than you'd think.

If you got a raise in 2018, you were in pretty decent company. This year, an estimated 30% of employees saw their salaries increase, according to data from GOBankingRates. Still, that means that the majority of workers didn't see a bump in their earnings, and that's unfortunate. If you didn't manage to snag a raise over the past 12 months, here are some steps you can take to improve your chances of getting one in the coming year.

1. Ask

In an ideal world, a pay increase would fall in your lap without you having to so much as utter the word "money." But often, snagging a raise boils down to coming out and asking for one. An estimated 71% of workers haven't asked for more money at their current jobs, according to Jobvite, yet of those who did ask, 84% were successful in getting an increase.

Man counting hundred-dollar bills


If you didn't get a raise this year, schedule some time to sit down with your manager and talk money. If you can't squeeze in a meeting before the end of the year (which might be the case, since folks tend to take a lot of time off for the holidays), schedule it for early January. This way, if your manager agrees to boost your pay, there's a chance that increase might take effect by the time your first paycheck comes in for the new year.

2. Know what you're worth

If you want to make a strong case for a higher salary, you'll need to know what number your job title can really command. Before having that discussion with your boss, do some research to see what the average person in your position makes in your city (keeping in mind that you'll generally make more in a large city than you will in a smaller one). If, for example, you learn that your salary is $5,000 lower than what the typical worker with your job title makes, showing your manager that data will be far more effective than simply stating that you feel you're underpaid and deserve better.

3. Take on a project with a measurable result

Often, employers will only pay top dollar for an employee once they're convinced that they're getting value. And sometimes, that value needs to be measured. In other words, you might think that being a helpful employee with a good attitude and willingness to work late as needed would be enough to score you a salary boost, but in your company or to your manager's mind, that might not be enough. On the other hand, if you take ownership of a project that's designed to save your company money, increase revenue, or do something that can be similarly quantified, you'll increase your chances of getting a raise once you pull it off successfully.

Let's say there's a new sales training program about to kick off, and your boss needs someone to manage it. If you volunteer, and your company sees sales increase by 20% over the next quarter following the completion of that program, you'll be in a strong position to argue that you helped bring about that uptick and therefore deserve to be compensated for it.

Just because you didn't get a raise this year doesn't mean there can't be one in your future. The more money you make, the more opportunities you'll have to save for different goals and enjoy life's luxuries, so rather than bemoan the fact that your earnings didn't go up in 2018, pledge to do something about it.

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