With inflation still running hot, many employees are hoping to bring home a little extra in their paychecks next year. But if you're gearing up to ask for a raise, don't wait: Now is the time to strike.
Rico Donald runs a food stand, but like a lot of workers, he is barely making ends meet.
"Rent is high, gas and electric is high, food is high," Donald said while preparing chicken and fries for his lunchtime customers.
He, like so many people, would like some more money to keep up with the nearly 4% inflation in the last year.
Liz Supinski is the director of research and insights at World at Work, a human resources specialist firm.
"Budgets for pay increases are the highest level we've seen since 2001," she said.
Based on their survey results, she predicts average raises of 4.1% in 2024 as companies fight to retain workers.
"There still remain more job openings than workers to fill them," she said. "Competition for workers often leads to wage increases as companies compete to attract and retain employees."
While that's great news, how do you cash in if the boss offers you a meager 1.5% or no raise at all?
"When it comes to getting a raise, your performance matters," Supinski said.
Raise predictions go up or down, she says, depending on you.
What to bring to the table
When talking with your supervisor, she says, "Be prepared to talk about why the quality of your work justifies an increase."
Next, she says, bring data to back up your argument, using facts to avoid feelings.
"Know what's going on in your industry. Look at pay ranges and job postings for jobs similar to yours," she said.
Just going in and asking for more money to keep up with rising expenses rarely gets more money. You need to show your worth.
What not to do
What is the biggest mistake people make? Waiting until the new year, figuring that January brings the best chance of getting more money.
By Christmas week, Supinski says, most companies' budgets are locked in for the new year.
"If you start talking to your manager now," she said, "that might allow them to include a pay increase for you in their 2024 budget."
Donald says he loves his boss, who owns his food stand. But he thinks a little more money in his paycheck would go a long way.
"Absolutely," he said. "Give me a raise, I could definitely use it!"
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