Does any of this sound familiar? If so, it’s about time you sat down with your boss for a serious discussion.
6 min read
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To paraphrase Donna Summer, you work hard for your money. After all, it's what you need to pay your bills, eat and have fun. Despite this, little more than 20 percent of employees in the United States feel they are paid fairly, according to PayScale's 2018 Compensation Best Practices Report.
Chances are, you've felt this way from time to time. But that pay raise you really deserve typically isn't going to just fall in your lap. You have to do your part to earn it, and more often than not, you'll also have to communicate to your employer why you deserve it.
In some cases, simply presenting your case can be enough to get your boss to recognize your value and give you the pay raise you deserve. If he continues to brush aside your concerns, however, it's probably time to start looking for a better job.
Do you think you might deserve to be paid more? It's well worth considering — after all, this is your money we're talking about. Here are seven signs that you desperately deserve a pay raise, whether your boss wants to give it to you or not.
1. You nailed the performance review.
While a lot of people dread their annual performance review, this is also a good time to gauge how your boss views your overall performance. However, these meetings can be much more than simply a time to get tips for improvement or receive verbal praise. This also provides an opportunity to show how you've increased your skills or contributed to the company's growth.
Performance reviews are often a time when your boss will give you new responsibilities or a new project. Be mindful of how this will change your work. More often than not, it could provide the perfect segue into discussing why you need a raise.
2. You consistently exceed goals.
Dependability is frequently cited as one of the most important attributes any employee can have. In fact, a survey from CareerBuilder listed dependability as one of the top soft skills employers value, with 73 percent of those surveyed selecting it as a key hiring factor.
From sales quotas to tight deadlines on major products, being someone who consistently follows through on requests and exceeds expectations is one of the best ways to deliver value to your employer.
This is a great thing to bring up in performance reviews, and is definitely a top reason why you would deserve a raise. Demonstrating your dependability time after time will make your employer far more willing to do whatever is necessary to keep you onboard.
3. Customers are happy.
While not everyone has a client-facing role, there's no denying that customer satisfaction is often a direct reflection of your own quality work. If your efforts are resulting in highly satisfied customers (and as a result, increasing company revenue), you're certainly justified in asking for a raise.
Related: How to Ask for a Raise — and Get It
4. You've increased your own skills.
Whether you've earned extra certifications or completed additional coursework by taking night classes at a local college, going the extra mile to improve your own knowledge and skills should typically qualify you for a raise. Your new abilities will allow you to contribute even more to your company — don't be afraid to communicate that.
John Rampton, founder and CEO of Due, used this mindset in hiring and retaining high-quality freelancers as he grew his business. "Over time, as their skills, knowledge and expertise increased, I compensated them for that," he explains. "I now have several earning nearly double what their employee friends are making … and it's totally worth it on my side."
5. You just helped your company to a "big win."
Whether you made a big sale or helped finalize a successful product prototype, helping your company to a "big win" is a clear demonstration of how you bring value to the team. After all your hard work on behalf of your company, this is often the perfect time to ask for a pay raise.
If you haven't been much of a contributor to your company's successes, you're not likely to qualify for that raise. Because of this, digital marketing expert Jonha Revesencio recommends that "instead of thinking of ways to get out of the company, try various ways to increase your value within the organization by providing more impact than you used to."
6. You're getting enticing offers from other recruiters.
Even if you're not actively looking for a new job, it isn't unusual to get messages from industry recruiters trying to lure you away to a different company. Unsurprisingly, those recruiting pitches are going to sound a lot more enticing if they offer a higher salary and better benefits than what you currently receive. Websites like Salary.com and Paysa can also provide insight into industry averages for your position.
While applying for new positions can be somewhat intimidating, it can make a big difference for your short-term and long-term financial well-being. Don't be afraid to look into these other opportunities, but before you go, try asking for a raise before accepting a new job offer. This additional leverage will create a compelling argument for getting a raise without leaving your current job.
7. You've seen your company making other investments.
As companies grow and experience success, it isn't unusual to see them start investing in new tech tools or making upgrades to make the office look nicer. While such improvements can certainly be helpful, the fact remains that people are by far the most important investment any business can make.
As the Harvard Business Review reports, "Higher levels of productivity allow society to reinvest in human capital (most obviously, though not exclusively, via higher wages), and smart investments result in higher labor productivity."
If your company appears to be hitting a financial high point, this is a good time to remind your boss of the value of investing in the resources (or people) that ultimately make the biggest difference.
Related: How to Get Paid More Today
Working hard and getting paid
Regardless of what industry you work in, there's no reason why you should continue to be underpaid. By highlighting the ways you bring value to your company and contribute to its growth, you are much more likely to convince your boss that you deserve a raise.
By evaluating your own performance, you can also find ways to keep improving or gain the motivation you need to start looking for a higher-paying job. Either way, by taking action now so you get paid what you deserve, you'll be that much closer to achieving your financial goals.