In fact, since the past decade, salary growth has not been able to keep up with the rise in consumer prices. In summer of 2006, consumer prices went up by 4.2%; however, the salaries for non-executive white-collar jobs were expected to rise by only about 3.6%, according to consulting firm Watson Wyatt Worldwide. With the United States facing an imminent slow down this year, things certainly don't look very good on the salary front.

Also, a new trend seen in the job market is that more money is tied to performance, as compared to previous years, when raises were more across-the-board. According to Hewitt estimates, bonuses accounted for 11% of payrolls, compared to 4% in 1990.

How Do I Get A Pay Hike?

The fact that is clear form the above data is that you will need to be among the top employees to expect a decent pay raise - good employees seem to be getting a raise at the cost of others. But still, this is only the starting point. To get a good pay raise, you will need to develop a comprehensive strategy. Doing a first class job simply won't give you a pay hike. So what can you do to obtain that much deserved raise?

Promote Yourself

Well, it's not about going about broadcasting your achievements like an over-zealous politician, but it is about letting your boss know how valuable you are both to him personally and to the company. Contrary to popular belief, bosses are often unaware of the value that you as an individual bring to the company. Even if they are aware of this fact, it usually gets buried under your boss' ever-increasing workload. So it is up to you to refresh his/her memory.

However, beware being vague - in a world run by statistics, you will probably need figures to prove your case. Any increase in sales that you have achieved, decrease in costs that you have managed, and other such things will speak clearly and loudly in your favor, and this will help you present your case in a very good and "easy to digest" manner.

Research Salaries

Before asking for a raise, research the salaries prevalent in the market for your job level. and are two sites that can help you do this, based on your location, your experience, and any special skills that you have. This will give you a fair idea of what you should be earning, any possible gap, and how much of a raise you should ask for. It is always a good idea to ask for a bit more than what you expect to receive. This will give you a room for negotiation, which is most likely bound to happen.

Asking for a raise is something that most employees don't like doing - but by being prepared and presenting your case in a sound and convincing manner, you have every chance of success. After all, as the old adage goes, you can't get what you don't ask for.

Tony Jacowski is a quality analyst for The MBA Journal. Aveta Solutions - Six Sigma Online -, offers online six sigma training and certification classes for lean six sigma, black belts, green belts, and yellow belts.

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