Ask and Ye Shall Receive … a Pay Raise

Income growth over the past several years has slowed and the majority of American workers aren’t earning their desired salary. But relatively few employees are taking steps to remedy the situation.

According to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, nearly two-thirds of full-time workers say they don’t earn what they desire. Just 39% of men and 30% of women say they’re satisfied with their current salary.

At the same time, fewer than half (44%) of workers have ever asked for a raise. Women are especially unlikely to bring up the subject of higher pay: only 38% have requested a pay bump, compared to 49% of men.

If it’s the fear of getting turned down that’s stopping us from talking about our paychecks, these statistics might embolden us: As many as 66% of workers who asked for a raise received one (the numbers were about the same for men and women).

Unsurprisingly, the survey also found that, as workers earn more, they tend to be more satisfied with their income. The tipping point seems to be a $75,000 salary—most people making this much say they’re earning what they desire.

But satisfaction is not the same thing as success. While those earning less than $75,000 generally feel they deserve more, most people would consider themselves successful making under $70,000. Only 22% of people think that career success requires a salary over $100,000, with men nearly twice as likely to need that much to feel accomplished in their career.

The good news is that most people feel career success is within their reach. According to Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder, survey respondents tended to associate success with either their current salary range or the one directly above it.

If you want to earn more, but don’t know where to start, you don’t have to head into a salary negotiation blind. Ask the right way, and you could surpass that tipping point.

What Are Your ‘High-Earning Years’? A Guide to Your Pay in Your 20s, 30s and 40s

Overstaying a (Job) Welcome: Tales in Lost Earning Potential

10 Things You’re Embarrassed to Ask About Negotiating

They Did It and You Can, Too: Real Women’s Secrets to Getting Raises