Requesting a Pay Raise in a Tight Economy


Q.  I’ve been with my current agency for two years, and the pay freeze from last year was just lifted at the same time I’ve been offered a job by another firm.  The offer, however, is for only slightly more than I’m currently making.  What should I expect raise wise from my current employer?  Shouldn’t an offer to move elsewhere come with a bigger bump than I’m being offered?  Since nothing has been said about a raise, how can I determine what to expect?  -TG

A.  The tough economic climate of the past few years has wreaked havoc on salaries and increases.  

In the last couple of years, many companies and agencies froze salaries and some simply delayed raises and promotions.  Now that there are signs of economic recovery and companies are becoming increasingly concerned about keeping talent, raises will perk up this year.  Compensation experts suggest 2010 raises will range from 2 to 7 percent.  As companies attempt to attract key talent, job offer salaries also will go up.  But currently, the market is still driven by more available talent than jobs.  Therefore, don’t expect to see sizable increases for jumping to a new position. 

Normally, organizations have a pay raise routine tied to anniversary dates of your being hired or your last promotion.  You should simply ask your supervisor to explain the process.  This request alone may be sufficient to trigger action, especially if it’s been a year since your last increase.  If you feel you need to build a case for a salary increase, you might want to check out the free sample salary increase memo from Quintessential Careers.

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