Raises are back in style again. The 2011-2012 WorldatWork Salary Budget survey predicts companies will pay the average Joe 2.7 percent more in 2011 and top performers 4 percent more.
Don’t confuse top performers with top executives. Pay for performance tends to be fairly evenly distributed among all levels of organizations, says Alison Avalos, research manager for WorldatWork in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Not only is the amount of the average pay raise slightly higher this year (the 2010 average raise was 2.5 percent, according to WolrdatWork), but more companies are also planning to give raises. Last year, 10 percent to 20 percent of organizations gave out no pay raises, Avalos says. This year, just 3 percent of companies plan no raises, and only one industry -- public administration -- is not showing signs of a salary recovery, she adds.
That said, workers in some professions and industries have a better chance of seeing higher average salary increases in 2011. These include:
Anyone in a Revenue-Generating Position
Salary.com’s Economic Outlook survey predicts hiring will be strong for sales, marketing and product development engineering professionals, leading to pay raises, says Mark Szypko, managing director of international compensation at Kenexa’s Salary.com division, which powers Monster’s Salary Wizard.
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Niches Where Workers Are in Short Supply
If you’re in an employment niche where new graduates aren’t keeping pace with demand -- think engineering or advanced-degree healthcare workers -- your salary and bonus will continue to outpace the market.
Medical technician salaries are also moving along at a better-than-market pace, likely to due to labor shortages in that field, Szypko says.
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Technology workers will also get a little bigger average raise particularly if they work in mobile application development, can increase Web sites’ popularity or can analyze which applications are safe to operate in the clouds, says John Reed, executive director of the Robert Half Technology division of Robert Half International in Menlo Park, California.
IT security workers who know how to prevent data breaches, particularly certified ethical hackers, will see pay raises of 5 percent to 7 percent, Reed predicts. Having a security clearance can add as much as 10 percent to your salary range, he says.
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Business Intelligence Analysts
Companies seeking to integrate business intelligence into decision making are pushing average salary raises for business intelligence analysts up 4 percent to 6 percent, Reed says.
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Oil, Gas and Mining Workers
Look for salary increases almost a full percent higher than the 2.8 percent national average, thanks to labor shortages in mining, oil and gas, Avalos says.
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Those Living Where the Economy Is Hot -- or Never Cooled Off
When a local business market is hot, competition for workers drives up average job salaries. Think IT and startup workers in Austin, oil and gas employees in Houston, biotech and finance workers in the New York City metro area, or defense contractors in Washington, DC.
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While accountants, especially CPAs, may not see a larger-than-average pay increase, sign-on bonuses and annual performance bonuses are back, says Stacey O’Neill, managing director for The Mergis Group, a recruiting and staffing agency in Fort Lauderdale. If you’re a CPA and have Big Four experience, you’ll have a choice of openings and can move to a new firm to increase your salary range. Internal auditors with IT audit, financial and system-implementation experience will see modest average salary increases, too, she says.
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Your Industry or Profession Not on the List?
How quickly your sector will rebound is related in part to how early in the recession it got hit. The later your industry was hit by the recession, the longer it may take to recover, Avalos says.