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You should ask for a raise—now

December 1, 2021, 5:24 PM UTC

Hi, it’s me, a newsletter writer who believes in you. I’m here to tell you: This is your moment to ask for a raise at work.

First, the caveats. I don’t know the specifics of your situation, dear reader. Perhaps your company is not doing well, even as the economy roars ahead. Perhaps you work in the travel industry and the future is murky because of the Omicron variant of COVID-19. Maybe you’ve been phoning it in for months. Or you just took a new job. Maybe you don’t like money.

If you’re still reading and you do like money, here’s what’s up. It’s a workers market. Americans are quitting their jobs in record numbers, a sign of a job market with lots of opportunity. There are about 11 million job openings right now, up 54.5% from before the pandemic, according to Indeed.com. There are about 10 job openings for every seven workers, says the Wall Street Journal.

This means that employers, finding it harder to hire new workers, are more desperate to hang on to the ones they already have. Typically, it’s cheaper to keep you than to replace you.

“It’s a good time to ask for a raise,” said Andres Lares, managing partner at Shapiro Negotiations Institute, a corporate training and consulting firm that’s advised recruiters and executives on hiring and compensation packages. His clients are reporting that more employees are asking for raises, and new employees are requesting bigger pay packages, as well, Lares said.

Inside Lares’s own firm, more people are asking for raises. In a few cases, even after they’ve gotten a pay bump, these workers have still quit—accepting a bigger offer elsewhere.

And that’s something to also keep in mind before asking for a raise. You probably could make more money by switching jobs. “Job switchers” see higher average wage growth on average, then “job stayers,” according to data from the Atlanta Fed.

But maybe you’d rather not start all over again somewhere else. Perhaps you like your job. That’s great! If so, Lares had some good advice on how to ask for more money:

Know why you deserve a raise “If you are asked to justify your request and you don’t have a compelling justification, that’s a bad idea,” said Lares.

So think back on the past year or six months: Maybe some of your coworkers have left and haven’t been replaced. So, you’re doing more work. Maybe you completed a project that’s bringing in new customers or revenue or both. Perhaps, your skills have improved. You took on more direct reports.

Build your case Write your justifications down. You can role play with a friend. (This is a great way to prepare for job interviews, too.) The end goal is to have a strong case that you feel confident about. (Do not read from your list when the time comes.)

For women, the need to build a strong case is even more crucial. Women are more likely to get turned down for a raise even when they ask, according to recent research. Making a strong objective-seeming case should help.

Meet in-person or close to it You don’t want to make your ask over email or slack. Those kinds of asynchronous mediums are fertile ground for miscommunications and miscues. “Use the richest medium possible,” Lares said. Meet in-person, if possible. The next best choice is video chat or phone. If you do a Zoom meeting, Lares recommends a neat and clean background but not a blank wall. And looking to put together subjective factors like these will add up, he said.

Use the inflation argument Here’s one more arrow in your quiver: Inflation. Consumer prices rose 6.2% in October, the biggest jump in inflation in 30 years. So actually, without a raise, you’re making a little less money.

(Or so you could argue. Everyone’s situation is specific. So the uptick in gas prices you’re paying could be more than offset by the increase in your equity holdings, etc. But you don’t need to go there with your employer. Facts are facts and prices for a lot of stuff are higher.)

“Inflation is a real thing,” Lares said. “The nice thing about inflation is that it’s an objective standard you can point to.”

Be confident: You need to project confidence. “Nothing convinces like conviction when you’re negotiating. You have to be confident and instill that confidence in other people,” he said.

So don’t just say, I deserve a raise, and immediately launch into your list of justifications. “Act like you deserve it,” Lares said. So make your ask, and wait and see what the boss says.

Here’s how it could all play out in an ideal scenario: Say, you’re making $100,000 and you ask for $120,000 (Yes, in an ideal scenario you earn six figures). Your manager says something like, “that’s a big raise. It’s unheard of, tell me more.'”

You’re toast, if you say something like, “Well, I just deserve it. This lady at Fortune.com said so.”

Instead, you could say: Well there are a few factors. Then you tick off the reasons you’ve already prepped.

“Now it’s a different thing,” Lares said.

Good luck out there! And let me know how it goes.

emily.peck@consultant.fortune.com

Emily Peck

Visit Fortune’SmarterWorking Hub. And read more here:

1 quote, 1 story, 1 number

  • “Belief in yourself is overrated. Generate evidence,” said Ryan Holiday, creator of @DailyStoic
  • “The 91-year-old nun who runs triathlons,” by Jo Piazza. This one is inspiring. For anyone who feels like they’re “too old” to try something new. Sister Madonna Buder didn’t even start running until she was 47-years-old. (Full disclosure this piece appeared in The Distance, a weekly newsletter that I edit at Fundrise where I am content director.)
  • 15 — Number of years Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has had some kind of role at the social network he co-founded. On Monday, Dorsey became a high-profile member of the Great Resignation club, announcing he was stepping down from his role.

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