Now Is the Time to Ask for That Raise

Wages for employees as a whole are rising faster than at any time since the Great Recession—especially for women.

A job fair sign during the Choice Career Fair in San Antonio.

Photographer: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg

It might be time to ask your boss for a raise—that is, if you haven’t gotten one already.

According to new data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, most categories of workers are seeing wage growth hit post-financial-crisis highs. In fact, Bespoke Investment Group points out that the 3.9 percent year-over-year growth expected for full-time employees is faster than at almost any other point in U.S. history.

“In real terms (relative to the Consumer Price Index; a measure of inflation), median wages are growing faster than almost 95 percent of prior occurrences,” the team said in a research report. “Overall, the monthly Atlanta Fed analysis continues to show quite a dramatic acceleration in wage growth across the labor force.”

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Some groups are faring better than others, and one trick to getting an even bigger raise may lie in switching jobs. The tracker’s data show that job switchers tend to see faster wage growth than those who stay in the same role. This also means that more people are switching jobs for a pay raise.

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One group, however, saw wages decline: males. While women saw some of the fastest increases in wages, men saw a slight decline last month, reversing the trend of males getting bigger raises earlier this year. 

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While wage growth has remained elusive for a large portion of the economic recovery, things began picking up earlier this year. During the summer, RBC Capital Markets LLC Chief U.S. Economist Tom Porcelli pointed out that, with signs of the labor market tightening, a continued uptick in wage growth is likely.

So if you haven’t asked for a raise, it might be time to talk to your boss or look for a new role. Especially if you’re a woman.

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