Got a Raise Last Year? You’re Lucky!

If you didn’t get a raise last year, you’re not alone. Without union representation, automatic, across-the-board pay increases are becoming a thing of the past in the private sector.
Fifty-two percent of working Americans didn’t receive raises from November 2016 through November 2017, according to a survey by the financial services company Bankrate. Only 30 percent of workers got increases on their current jobs, while 10 percent landed better-paying jobs with new employers and eight percent achieved both.
For the fortunate 48 percent whose earnings increased, educational credentials, “performance,” and new job responsibilities all mattered more than ever.

    • Educational Credentials Matter: Thirty-six percent of college graduates increased their earnings, compared to only 26 percent for those with a high school diploma or less. That’s one reason why 43 percent of workers already earning $75,000 or more got raises, versus only 17 percent of those earning less than $30,000.
    • Raises Aren’t Routine: Thirty-seven percent of raises were “performance-based,” compared to only 27 percent that were based on cost-of-living increases.
  • Promotions Pay Off: Twenty-four percent of pay hikes from current employers resulted from promotions and increased responsibilities—a big increase from only 10 percent the year before. Millennials (ages 18–36) were twice as likely as Generation Xers (ages 37–52), and six times as likely as Baby Boomers (ages 53–71), to get raises for those reasons.