Wages Are Rising — Here’s How to Get Your Cut

Thankfully, after wage levels remained stagnant for many years, wages are finally rising! Annual gains could hit 4% by 2017.

That said, employers are still conservative and not rushing to pay you more. Here are some helpful tips on getting your share.

1. Join an Industry on the Rise

Information technology positions such as programmers, developers, analysts, and engineers continue to fare well. Cities are battling each other to court IT companies. Have a background in mathematics, science, or information systems? Start interviewing for jobs in that arena, where the starting salary is already higher than the average.

Health and medicine professionals are also riding a higher tide. Nurse practitioners, registered nurses, and practical nurses are all making more, but nurse practitioners are especially in demand with the expansion of health care coverage to more citizens.

Financial sector workers like traders, bankers, and fund managers continue to do well (surprise, surprise). Due to the continued need for credit and asset analysis, there is room to join the financial sector with the right experience.

Areas that do not see much growth are categories in which tons of eager candidates compete for jobs: teaching, marketing, public relations, and customer service. If you find yourself in one of those categories, try spinning your experience to applying for positions at companies in information, health, engineering, and finance.

2. Ask for a Raise

If you are currently employed, now would be a good time to ask for a raise. When was your last raise? It should typically happen every year. If you have gone longer than two years without a raise (and thanks to the recession, many have), it will be fairly reasonable and easy to ask. (See also: 5 Things to Say to Your Boss to Get a Promotion or Raise)

When to Ask for a Raise

Try asking three to four months before the annual review. Annual reviews tend to happen at the end of the fiscal year, when the money is spent and companies are more conservative. Asking before your company's annual wage hike is ideal because you can state your case before the bosses evaluate the staff. Plus, you likely do a lot of great work that your bosses do not know about. Make them aware of your worthiness and negotiate your slice before the pie has been cut.

Leverage Your Education

Have you spent most of the recession going to back to school in the summers, nights, and weekends? It's always a good time to take advantage of your new income potential. Those who can boast a college degree for entry-level positions can ask for more than those with a high-school degree. Try asking your employer to review your new experience and education level when considering your raise.

3. Relocate to a High Minimum Wage State

Many students and working parents find themselves in need of extra minimum wage shifts in industries such as retail, fast food, and customer service. If you are work for hourly wages, now might be a good time to relocate, as 13 states raised their minimum wage in 2014. Even more good news: Those same 13 states are seeing faster job growth than the states that did not increase their minimum wage. This may also be a good time to leverage a higher paying position elsewhere for an hourly raise at your current job.

How are you planning to boost your wage? Please share in comments!

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