How Much Is An Average Raise?

I don’t know if this belongs in GQ or if it’s more of an opinion thing. Is there a standard amount? On research, I learned that in 2003 the average raise was 3%, down from 4- is that normal?

By the way, I got an 8% raise today and am freaking ecstatic! Should I be? Woot!

Congrats Alice, that’s a pretty healthy raise. I don’t know what the average is, but I’d guess it’s under 5%.

I used to work in remuneration in NZ and the average ‘across the board’ increase was usually around 3.3 - 3.5%. YMMV in other countries.

8% strikes me as a very good pay increase - well done!

dunno. I work for corporate america and got a whopping 3%. claimed that this was the “maximum allowed.” Ya right, I may suck it up and take a 3% raise like a man but not naive enough to believe for a second this is the maximum. I think HR are the scum of the earth - they lie like dogs, completely lack transparency, and there is really nothing us cow-orkers can do.

I disagree. HR is a necessary interface between management and “cow-orkers” in most companies. They tend to ensure a level playing field for salaries and most certainly hand-pick the outliers when it’s lay-off time. But hey, that’s their job. I have no issues with good HR folks. They manage resources like any other group does. Their resources are me and you though.

I’d be pissed if I found out “Joe” in the other group was making twice what I was. As mentioned, HR levels the playing field.

I haven’t had a raise in 2.5 years. In fact I’m making 27% less than what I was making 2.5 years ago. Life in high-tech. Whoopee!

It is not unusual in Australia to have pay rises in line with the Consumer Price Index which is a measure of average inflation. Our previous contract called for CPI + 1% each year, our current contract gave us some improved overtime payments and increased the base salary for some employee groups but “cut”* our pay to an increase of just CPI each year. CPI has been around 3% for as long as I’ve been with the company.

I’d say your 8% is good, though it depends on how often you get it.

*Some people are so used to getting at least CPI that they consider a CPI rise each year as just keeping up with the cost of living and therefore not a raise at all. There are others who haven’t even had CPI for years and are happy to get anything.

I have heard figures that suggest 2 1/2 to 4 percent is average. 8% is outstanding.

Congratulations. Enjoy your day.

I’ve worked at one place where I got a semiannual 12% raise. Then again, they started me a jack shit, and by the time I left, they were paying me diddly squat.

My other substantial pay increases I’ve had have been a result of either promotion or moving to a new employer.

I’ve since learned that it’s really, really important to negotiate as high a starting salary as possible.

My boss at my first job told me that when he had worked at Microsoft, the maximum raise was set at 10%. (And then he proceeded to give me a 10% raise!)

8% is unheard of in my company. Congratulations! 3% is the norm, I’ve gotten as 5% several times.

Where I work (public library) the scale varies from year to year depending upon what the county gives the library in the budget. They decide the range from that, and within the range it’s merit-based. This year I got 3%, which is less than I really deserved, but I’m very high in the band* for my position, so I don’t complain.

  • read that as “about 12% above maximum”

Where I work there’s a salary grid where your position is classified (A-H) and you go up one step every year you’re there (up to 10 years) unless you have a bad performance review then you’d stay at your step that year.

But, on top of that we get a cost of living increase. This is especially good for longer-term employees who aren’t getting a step raise anymore but don’t want to be earning less each year just because of inflation.

In the past they sometimes didn’t give a COL increase if inflation was low; the three years I’ve been here we got anywhere from 1.5 to 3.5% - this year it’s 5%! But the local economy is really hot (Edmonton, Alberta) and won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

So, barring a bad performance review this year, I’ll get a raise of about 2% (next step up on the pay grid) plus 5% for cost of living.

My wife got a small raise this year. She got a 2% increase, but it was more than we expected. She works for a non-profit mental health group, but the question was not how much they would get in a raise, it was if the unit she works in would have enough funding to stay open. We’ll take a 2% increase, for now, but she’s still looking for new jobs.

Brendon Small

Mr. Woodhouse gets 3-6% depending on the year (often his raise will also be tied to the previous year’s raise as well. If he maxed one year he wouldn’t get the max the next year.) The only time he’s gotten more than that was when he switched employers or when he was promoted.

Congrats on the 8%! I’d say that’s a great raise.

I finally got a raise this year after 3 years of nothing (for good reason… life in a Startup Company!)
I got about 15% – or about 5% for each year (yes, I know about compound interest :)). And I know for a fact my boss was very happy with my performance.
8% is GREAT, IMHO.

Note: I’m not in the same country as you are, so YMMV.

Thanks for the replies! My ecstatation continues!

I think the reasons I got so much was 1)I’ve been working very hard at controlling my mouth. I used to get in trouble a lot for it, can you imagine that? :stuck_out_tongue: But I’ve been doing much better lately under threat of getting fired. And 2)We’ve had a lot of key people leave lately, and I’ve been working very, very hard to compensate for them being gone.

I feel really good about this!

In the past 8 years at my current company my raises have ranged between 3% and 25%, so I really don’t know what’s normal in the tech sector.


Large raises aren’t unusual early in a career, especially if they come with a promotion in title or responsibility. Double-digit raises (10% or more) are typically considered promotions unless there’s some weird demographic stuff going on that drives the salary of your career field up – everyone I know who’s gotten a double-digit raise has been told that it comes with increased responsibility.

An 8% raise says to me “you have been kicking ass and taking names, we owe our survival/profitability as a business to you in some way, and please understand that we appreciate what you do.” Businesses don’t give out raises like that unless you have earned them.

The US military, on the other hand, gives out raises like candy. In the military a newly commissioned officer makes just under $30,000/yr, and gets no raise his first year unless Congress approves a cost-of-living raise, typically ~2%. At the end of his second year, however, he gets both a rank increase and longevity increase, totaling about 28%, bumping him up to about $37,000. The next year he gets a longevity increase of 15%, and the following year a rank increase and a longevity increase of another 17%. That’s a 77% increase over starting pay in four years, which is basically unheard-of. Later longevity increases tend to be more modest, and the next rank increase isn’t until the 8-10 year mark… but it’s another 20%+ raise.

So 8% is pretty damned good, especially if you get it early on, because then every 5% and 3% raise thereafter is going to be 8% larger than it would have been.