How To Negotiate A Raise In Tough Times

Don’t let fear and complacency keep you from asking for a raise.

I was recently quoted in a Forbes Women article on negotiating a raise in tough times.  Journalist Emma Thompson writes:

You know you deserve a raise, but do unemployment reports have you frozen in fear? Ask for a pay hike anyway, experts say.

“If your performance is where it should be or exceeds expectations, you should absolutely ask for a raise,” says Dustin Dumas Weeks, a Jersey City, N.J.-based career strategist and author of Lessons from a Recovering Worker Bee.

You may be bombarded with messages from management that you should be thankful to have a job, but there is often money available for deserving employees. A report from Culpepper and Associates, a global compensation and benefits consulting firm, estimates that base salaries in the U.S., including companies with salary freezes, will increase by an average of 1.66 % in 2009 and 2.68% in 2010. Excluding those companies with freezes, salary increases are projected to rise slightly from 3.05% in 2009 to 3.08% in 2010.

Keep in mind that layoffs usually save companies lots of money–and they generate plenty of extra work for the remaining workers. A good manager knows that it pays not to ignore those facts, says Frances Cole Jones, author of The Wow Factor: The 33 Things You Must (and Must Not) Do to Guarantee Your Edge in Today’s Business World.

“Asking for a raise reminds both you and your boss of all you have been doing to contribute to the company’s performance,” says Jones. “Downplaying that for fear of upsetting the financial apple cart increases the possibility you’ll continue to do your work with a chip on your shoulder, which will likely cause your future performance to suffer.”

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