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So Do You REALLY Deserve a Raise: 6 Questions to Answer

Over half (57 percent) of the people looking for a new job within the next three months are doing so because they think they're underpaid, according to a survey of 13,500 people.

How many people are actually underpaid? If you go by the market pay for similar industries, the site found that only 19 percent are actually underpaid. Another 17 percent are overpaid and 34 percent are making a fair amount.

salary raise

How much do you really deserve to earn? Calculate your "raise-worthiness" using the questions below as a guide.

However, market pay and a person's view of what they should be making (based on self-worth, overtime, dedication to a certain position, etc.) are two very different things. In general, salaries in 2006 rose 3.7 percent, according to the 2005-2006 National Salary Budget Survey. Finding out if you really deserve a raise beyond this depends on a number of factors, and you can use the questions below to gauge whether you should ask for more money.

1. How does your salary compare to market rates in your region?

Only 36 percent of people who responded to the 2004 U.S. Job Recovery and Retention Survey knew how their pay rate compared to market rates. Yet, this is a key in knowing whether your salary is where it should be.

Of course pay rates vary by industry, but they also vary widely within industry based on location. For instance, while salaries rose an average of 3.7 percent in 2006, salaries in the Mountain State region rose 4.2 percent, the Philadelphia region rose 4.8 percent and Boston rose only 3.1 percent. Likewise, people who live in urban areas where costs of living are high can expect to earn more than those living in less pricey areas.

Also don't forget to factor in other aspects of your job's total "pay," like paid insurance and vacation, profit sharing, and other benefits.

2. How well do you do your job?

People who are reliable, perform consistently, save the company money or make the company money will generally be paid higher than those who do the bare minimum. Before asking for a raise, you should be able to demonstrate your value to the company, along with show concrete examples (sales generated, deals worked out, quotas met or exceeded, etc.) of your performance.

3. Are you easily replaceable?

Do you bring something unique to the company -- knowledge in a certain area, networking connections, experience, funding sources, creative expertise -- that would be hard to replace? People who are not easily replaceable are often more justified in asking for a raise.

In other words, would your company be affected if you left, or could they easily hire someone else to do your job? All are important things to consider.

What Kind of SUPER Rich
Person Would You Be?

super rich personIf you get that ultimate raise, or win the lottery, would you be a "Paris Hilton"? A "Bill Gates"? A Warren Buffet"?

There is some real value in learning what kind of fantastically wealthy person you would be because it is likely similar to the way you are treating your (much more limited) finances today.

Take the Quiz Now and Find Out What Kind of SUPER Rich Person You'd Be!

4. What are your company's pay policies?

Does your company regularly hand out bonuses and pay increases for a job well done, or do they only give annual pay raises to some employees? If your company has a structured salary review process, and you are asking for a raise outside of that, you'll have to be able to back up your reasoning of why you deserve a raise over everyone else. Likewise, you'll need more back-up reasons if the economy is facing a downward trend than if it is rising and the job market is heating up.

5. Do you bring more to the company than other employees?

If you are in a position similar to one or more other employees at your company, how does your salary compare to theirs? If you feel you should be paid more, can you demonstrate that you have put in more work or brought more to the company than others?

6. Are you willing to put in extra effort?

If you are given a raise, are you willing to take on the extra responsibility, hours and work that it may command? If not, it may not be the right time to ask for a raise.

Start Your Salary Research Now

There are several interactive Web sites available to help you determine pay ranges in your region, both with basic free reports and more detailed reports for a fee. You can use these to start your basic research to determine how much you should be making, compared to others in your area.

Recommended Reading

The 10 Best Careers -- By Starting Salary, Best Benefits, Job Satisfaction & More

Working Long Hours Now Proven to Kill You: How to Work Smarter, Not Longer


The Scoop on Salary Increases

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