10 Steps To Take If Your Salary Isn’t Keeping Up With Inflation

“The market is on your side these days – it is painfully difficult and expensive for businesses to hire and train new employees, and they would rather keep you if your ask is reasonable and backed up.” — Roman Peskin, CEO of ELVTR

Ask for a raise if your salary isn’t keeping up with inflation/Getty

According to ELVTR, an online education platform, searches for ‘how to ask for a cost of living raise’ increased by 420%. Roman Peskin, CEO of ELVTR and serial entrepreneur with 20 years of executive leadership experience, offers these five tips for getting a raise:

1 – Be a “painkiller”

“Every business, every company, and every employer has pains. If, as an employee, you are a “painkiller” to your employer’s pains, you will always be able to negotiate a raise.”

2 – Do your research

“The first thing you need to figure out is that your current salary meets the market benchmark. This defines your negotiation strategy. Go to websites such as Indeed or Glassdoor, or google search average salary for your job and seniority level. If your pay is below, appeal to market benchmarks to negotiate fair pay.”

3 — Prepare visuals and hard data

“The average person responds far better to visual information than plain conversation, so prepare a short deck with clear indicators of your valuable input and progress. Show what you bring to the table and how the company has benefited with you on board. Show how your responsibilities have changed over time, and how the company closed more deals or saved money with your efforts. Be specific and include examples.”

4 – Master new skills and ask for more responsibility

“Invest in improving your skills and expertise – it will get you a long way and fuel your career at any stage. See what skills are in high demand in your niche, research high-priority jobs on LinkedIn to see what kind of abilities they require and ask your manager for advice on what skills would be good for your career within the organization…..Make sure that the leadership is aware that you’re ready to apply these new skills and take on more responsibility.”

5 – Avoid common negotiation mistakes

Peskin advises raise-seekers to give their manager time and not to expect an immediate answer. Don’t present ultimatums to leave unless you’re ready to follow through (your employer may call your bluff, or at the very least, question your commitment). Don’t complain — keep your raise discussion positive. Finally, don’t give up if your raise request is declined — ask for alternative perks that can still increase your career growth, such as the opportunity to work in a different department, training for new skills or a more flexible schedule.

Keep in mind that, even with the best preparation and Peskin’s actionable tips, you may hear No to your raise request. Sure, you could ask for alternatives that pay off down the road (e.g., lateral move, skills training or flexibility, as Peskin suggested) but these may not be good enough substitutes right now. If you are declined a raise and looking for ways to keep up with inflation in the immediate term:

6 – Start a side hustle

Give yourself a raise by redirecting any extra energy you have to a side hustle. In addition to improving your financial situation, a side hustle gives you valuable skills that can help you land your next promotion.

7 – Dedicate your extra efforts to finding a new job

Pay attention to your current employer’s financial condition and appetite for raises in general. If the company isn’t doing well or if they’re doing just fine but not granting raises to their employees (or your department, region, or level specifically), then sharpening your negotiating skills and strategy has long-term value but won’t help right now. Earmark your extra time and energy to looking for a new job, paying attention to employers who are paying competitively.

8 – Consider a career change

Your current employer’s inability or unwillingness to grant raises may be a function of your industry. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks sectors with declining wage and employment growth. If you’re in a struggling or shrinking industry, think about a career change into a growing industry.

9 – Consider relocation

You can keep up with inflation by decreasing your spending, not just increasing your earnings. If your company offers fully remote jobs, relocating to a region with a cheaper cost-of-living is one way to stay ahead of rising costs. If you can rent out your current residence, you can experiment with being a digital nomad and work out of different locations, before moving permanently.

10 – Don’t wait a full year to revisit the negotiation

If you love your job, you can always revisit your raise request at a later date, but sooner than a full year later. Companies hire year-round, so they onboard people at new salaries year-round. Why not you? A good time to negotiate is when you have had a win at work – a completed project positively impacts the bottom line, a valued client sings your praises. If your department has a good quarter, lobby for raises as a group. If your company announces new funding or other win, ask for reconsideration on your earlier raise request – since the company is now in an improved position. None of this guarantees you a raise, of course, but if you don’t ask (and ask again), that answer is a guaranteed No.

By Caroline Ceniza-Levine, Senior Contributor

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