Pay raise not keeping up with inflation? Here's how to negotiate

Inflation hit a 40-year high at 8.5% in March, but average pay raises this year are 3.9%, according to the research firm Conference Board.  So how can you negotiate a higher salary to help you keep up with inflation?

We asked negotiations expert Fotini Iconomopoulos, author of Say Less, Get More.  

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She says to start by doing your homework.

"Say based on my research, or based on my knowledge of the industry, here’s what I’m seeing," explained Iconomopoulous. "What that means for salaries like mine, for positions like mine. It’s important, instead of saying my opinion is, I think that."

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She says to approach the conversation from your employer's point of view. Ask yourself, what do they need?

"I want to make sure we remain a group that is super productive, or that everyone on my team feels really well rewarded, and I’m getting the most out of them," she suggested.  

When your employer makes an offer, how do you increase it?

"You can say I appreciate your coming to the table," Iconomopoulous offered. "It seems that based on this objective third party information, inflation rates are over 8.5 percent, or that others in the industry are increasing at a much faster pace."

You can mention whether you've received other job offers, but she says don't go into details.

"Focus on what can we do to get closer to what’s going on out there," she said. "Obviously, I’m getting phone calls. I have another offer, I don’t want to talk about that.  I want to talk about what can we do to make this more comparable."

And if they say no ...

"If they say we don’t have that in the budget right now, that is your cue to say, then when?" said Iconnmopoulos. "When are we going to be able to solve for this? When is the right time for that?" 


To shore up your confidence, she says to pull together notes on all that you do and your accomplishments, as well as notes of praise you've received. And practice your pitch first, so you know how you'll state your case and respond to rebuttals.