If your New Year's resolutions include getting a raise in 2019, prepare yourself for an uphill battle.
This year, experts repeatedly stressed that the best way for workers to get a raise in the current labor market is to find a new job. Wage growth is limited, employers are decreasingly likely to promote internally and the tight labor market has employers willing to pay high salaries for new employees with in-demand skills.
Wages are currently growing just 1 percent faster than inflation, but the average increase in compensation for a worker who quits their old job for a new one is about 15 percent.
Of course, not everyone wants to quit their job. "There's a lot of folks that aren't willing to change companies for all sorts of reasons such as healthcare, they might have a commitment to the community, they might like their coworkers, there are all sorts of reasons," Brian Kropp, vice president at research firm Gartner tells CNBC Make It. "I think there's a responsibility to actually understand the labor market from that perspective."
Given these dynamics, here are three things workers do to earn themselves a raise in 2019, without leaving their current employer:
Before you ask your boss for a raise, workers should understand what measures their managers use to define success.
"The best way to earn a raise is to over-perform," Marc Cenedella, Founder and CEO of job-site Ladders tells CNBC Make It. "Have you asked your boss what her or his goals are for 2019? And how you can best [help] her or him achieve them? You should, and then help double them."
Setting and surpassing ambitious goals gives workers bargaining power when asking for a raise. Furthermore, quantifiable measures of success can make a potentially awkward conversation simple and straightforward.
Kropp says the next step towards getting a raise in 2019 is understanding and conveying how much someone with your skills and experiences is worth on the open market.
"You need to have that conversation with your manager as to whether or not you're fairly compensated based upon what the market rates look like," he says. "Most organizations are not going to do that work for you. That's really up to you as the employee to do that work."
Do some research online and look at job postings for positions that require your skills and experience to gauge how much you are actually worth. If you really want to get a firm understanding of how much other employers are willing to pay you, apply to other positions and see much they offer.
If you do receive an offer, workers should tell their managers, emphasize that they wish to stay at their current company and give them the opportunity to match the new offer. "The best way to turn an offer into a raise without threatening to quit is to address it, head-on," Cenedella says.
The final, inevitable step towards getting a raise is having a conversation with your manager — as soon as possible if you want to take advantage of the current labor market. "You need to have a conversation right away," says Kropp.
The trick to acing this conversation is to clearly present the facts to your manager. "You don't want to go in and say, 'Hey, I want to get a 10 percent raise or I'm going to quit!'" explains Kropp. "But you want to be able to have that conversation that sounds something like 'Gosh, I've been working really hard. Here's what the market rate looks like for these jobs. I want to stay, but I feel like I've paid below market. What can we do to solve this problem?"
Another way to approach this conversation is to break down your earnings goals. "Define what you're looking for," says Cenedella, who recommends saying something like, "Boss, I'd like to make $10,000 [more] in 2019. There must be something I could do that could deliver 10 times the value to the company — what would you need to see from me and my performance in 2019 in order to earn a $10,000 raise?'"
"If they say 'No way,'" he says, "perhaps it's time to reconsider if you're really going to hit your financial goals at your present employer."
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