It’s worth it to bring up inflation at work, even if you don’t get a raise now

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Employers are bumping pay and adding perks to offset workers' inflation concerns, but if you haven't seen anything come out of your own workplace, it could be a good time to apply some pressure.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. employers said they increased their compensation budgets this year due to inflation, according to a recent report from Gallagher that surveyed some 800 companies. Indeed, in the second quarter of 2022, job-switchers saw their pay grow by 9.5% year-over-year, while wages for job-holders went up by 7.2%, according to ADP data.

But with inflation hitting 9.1% in June, a lot of those wage gains aren't enough to keep pace with rising living costs. If your recent raise didn't match inflation, or you didn't see a pay adjustment at all in the last year, it's worth bringing your concerns and some solutions to the table, says Madelyn Machado, a reverse recruiter in Tampa, Florida.

One is to ask for a raise — focus on how you helped the company save or make money, she says, and tie in that inflation and a tight job market make this a good time to adjust your pay.

Even if you get a "no" at the moment, Machado says it's still worth communicating that you're worried about inflation. If you're concerned about it, your coworkers probably are, too.

"When enough people have this conversation," Machado says, "it's data that managers are going to bring to their compensation and finance teams. They'll be able to say, 'we're having a lot of conversations about inflation. What are we going to do about it?'"

These discussions could lead to real action across the board: Recently, simPRO, a business management software company, announced an inflationary pay increase of up to 10% for every employee that earns less than $80,000 per year "to combat the impacts of inflation on simPRO's employees."

Even if you don't secure a permanent raise, another solution is to ask about other non-salary perks to offset inflation and return-to-office costs. So far this year, Gallagher reports that employers are supporting workers' increased living costs by providing:

  • Flexible work schedules (61%)
  • Extended timelines for remote work (29%)
  • Free meals or snacks (19%)
  • Transportation reimbursement (11%)
  • Additional paid time off (10%)
  • Child-care assistance (4%)
  • Housing assistance (1%)

Machado wants people to remember that salary changes can take weeks to be approved and go into effect. Others, still, may not be able to make any changes for the foreseeable future.

"Even if you do all this, it doesn't mean you'll get the raise you're looking for," Machado says. "If that's important to you, it's time to get into the [job] market."

Check out:

What's a good salary or raise to ask for right now? How to find your number in this wild job market

3 reasons your recruiter ghosted you, according to a hiring pro

This recruiter got laid off and landed a new job two weeks later—her best job-search tips

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Lauren Simmons reacts to a 25-year-old making $150,000 in Los Angeles
Lauren Simmons reacts to a 25-year-old making $150,000 in Los Angeles