For young professionals, when and how to ask for a raise is a source of constant conversation. And that makes sense—after all, salary growth should accelerate as resumes and careers grow. However, these conversations are often awkward, for a variety of reasons.
First, some people are uncomfortable talking about money among friends, and yet there's still a human temptation to benchmark earnings against those of one's peers. In particular, it's useful for friends (or possibly, colleagues) in the same industry to share information about pay at different companies. (Thankfully, there are websites like Glassdoor, which boasts over three million salary profiles from anonymous employees.) Secondly, the people who have advice on how to get that raise are usually people making more money than the person seeking help—good resources to have, if they'll share their secrets. And lastly, some are so shy about raises they won't even talk to their employers about them.
A recent study by Payscale surveyed over 30,000 workers about their experiences asking for a raise. They found that 43 percent had asked for one, but only 44 percent of those who asked got the amount they wanted, with 25 percent not getting a raise at all. Among the 57 percent who didn't ask for a raise, the top reasons were that they got a raise without asking (38 percent) or that they would be uncomfortable asking (28 percent). Only eight percent reported that they were satisfied with their salary. Those surveyed who didn't ask for a raise tended to be at the lower end of the income spectrum, working in the service or public sectors.