Is 2016 the Year of the Pay Raise?

If you feel like you’re underpaid in your your current position, there is a wealth of recent economic data to suggest you’re probably right – and you’re not alone. SoFi’s Q4 2015 Career Trends Report revealed two overarching themes that suggest 2016 is a great year to ask for a pay raise: low unemployment numbers and an ongoing lag in wages.

Trends working in your favor

The national unemployment rate remained flat in Q4 at 5%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with college-educated workers enjoying an unemployment rate of half that. SoFi members outpaced these folks with an impressive 0.1% unemployment rate. Meanwhile, wage growth stayed sluggish, even among professionals with advanced degrees. SoFi applicants with JDs or MBAs have averaged just 2% to 3% wage increases over the last decade.

So, yes, this probably does mean what you’ve suspected all along – you’re likely under-compensated given the tight labor market and these less-than-spectacular wage growth trends.

In fact, we believe these wage numbers are flat at least partly because far too many people are falling short in initial salary negotiations or neglecting to ask for a pay raise at their current jobs.  Not coincidentally, a PayScale survey reports that 57% of respondents have never even asked for a raise in their current fields.

The big ask

This is a great time to confront any fears that might prevent you from asking for a raise that’s appropriate to your value. Whether you don’t feel comfortable making the ask or you don’t want to be perceived as pushy, my latest blog post on salary negotiation provides practical but unexpected tips for starting the conversation with your manager. We’re also offering a webinar on salary negotiation to learn the ins and outs of this vital career-management topic.

And if you’re looking to change jobs, take a close look at new research from CareerBuilder and Economic Modeling Specialists International (EMSI) showing which sectors are posting more job openings than are being filled.

Other career trends highlights

In addition to the wage vs. labor market findings, the latest SoFi Career Trends Report includes information on:

  • The top ten in-demand occupations requiring a college degree
  • Specific compensation trends by sector
  • Expected wage growth in the legal job market, where average starting salaries for attorneys are expected to jump 3.5% this year

Read the full SoFi Q4 2015 Career Trends Report here.

And don’t forget to register for our Career Strategy webinar: Negotiation Series.

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