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Business

Pay raises not out of the question

Compensation and BenefitsAdecco SAHewitt Associates

I recently got a nice pay raise. I didn't have to negotiate for one becausemy salary increase was guaranteed under a contract.

But how many of you think you deserve a raise, only to hear thesewords from the boss: We can't afford it. Workers cited getting a raise astheir No. 1 priority this year, according to a New Year resolution surveyby Adecco Staffing North America.

Here's the bad news: Next year, increases for salaries are expectedto remain relatively unchanged at 3.7 percent, according to HewittAssociates, a global human resources firm. Salary hikes have not generallykept up with the rate of inflation -- 3.8 percent in the past 12 monthsending in August, according to government data. (Feel free to complainnow.)

Complicating matters is some companies have replaced across-the-boardsalary increases for performance-based pay.

But that doesn't mean you should settle for little or no raise if youbelieve you're worth more. You could snag a raise by making a strong caseto your boss, especially now when the labor market is tight, experts say.

Here are some tips:

  • Do your homework. Research the market salary for your position andexperience. There are plenty of salary surveys and data out there. Jobsearch engine www.indeed.com recently launched a new function where workerscan retrieve salary data by titles and certain skills, such as foreignlanguage or certification.
  • Get prepared for the meeting by putting together a list of youraccomplishments. Give specific examples of successful projects orbetter-than-expected sales. Steve Schneiders, a director at Sudina Search,a Timonium-based recruiting firm, says workers need to show the value theybring to the organization."You have to have concrete evidence," he says. "You can't just say,'I deserve it because I worked hard.'"
  • In some cases, an alternative job offer or interest from otherrecruiters can help boost your case. But be very careful in how you usethis potential leverage because it can backfire. Paul Forster, chiefexecutive officer of indeed.com, says you don't want to come off asblackmailing your employer.
  • And if you still don't get a raise, Forster suggests asking for otherperks, such as more vacation time or further training and educationopportunities. Forster says additional skills and training will increase aworker's value and "justify a raise when the company is in a position topay it."From the mailbag: Tracy, a reader from Philadelphia, wrote about awork quandary.She was fired from a job a year ago for not working an event that wasmandatory because of an emergency.Now, Tracy says she has an interview with the same company butdifferent department. Should she go on the interview? If she does, shouldshe come clean about her employment history with the company?Eileen Levitt, president of the HR Team in Columbia, who frequentlyinterviews job candidates, questions why Tracy wants to work thereconsidering "apples -- in this case managers -- don't fall far from trees."But Levitt says Tracy should be honest if she goes on the interview."That way, when she runs into her old boss, her new one will have allthe details, and it will take away the old boss' ability to diminish herin the eyes of her new manager," Levitt says.Have you been successful getting a raise? And what else is on yourmind about life at work? Send your stories, tips and questions to working@baltsun.com. Please include your first name and your city. Subscribe to Hanah Cho's podcast
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