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Use creativity to come up with alternative ways to raise a salary

CareerBuilder | October 3, 2022

alternative ways to raise a salary

Instead of giving up or switching jobs when getting a raise isn’t a possibility, consider some of the alternative ways to raise a salary.

As you work in your role and become more experienced, the time will likely come when you want to request an increase in your salary. Asking for a raise isn't easy, but doing so can help you demonstrate your worth and the value you bring to the organization. However, in some cases, a company may not be able to meet your request for a raise. Consider alternative ways to raise your salary instead of giving up or switching jobs.

Tuition reimbursement

If you haven't completed your higher education degree requirements yet, tuition reimbursement may be a benefit you could ask for instead of requesting a salary increase. Having your company pay for your tuition can help you increase your knowledge while qualifying for higher positions. Some companies require employees who use this benefit to commit to working there for at least a year after graduation. Tuition reimbursement is often viewed as a direct investment into the employees and the organization, making it an attractive offering for companies across all industries.

Student loan repayment

If you've already completed your education but have outstanding student loans, consider asking your employer to pay off the debt. Companies that offer student loan repayment can typically offer up to $100 per month, which can add up over time. If you have $10,000 in outstanding student loans, your employer will pay off more than a tenth of the total balance each year.

Increased end-of-year bonus

Many companies offer year-end bonuses to employees as rewards at the end of the year. Some are tied to individual or company-wide performance metrics, while others communicate thanks for a job well done throughout the year.

An employer might refer to this compensation as a holiday bonus since several holidays occur in December and early January. Employees at all professional levels can qualify for a year-end bonus, although the amount may depend on the individual's progression with the company.


Negotiating for a higher year-end bonus can be a way to earn more money without receiving a bump to your annual or hourly rate.


Negotiating for a higher year-end bonus can be a way to earn more money without receiving a bump to your annual or hourly rate. Some end-of-year bonuses are calculated based on specific metrics, such as the company's revenue or sales and profit results for the year. You could ask for an increased percentage if your bonus gets tied to metrics. For example, if you currently receive 2% of the annual sales, you could request an increase to 3%. On paper, that jump doesn't look like a lot, but your efforts could increase sales, resulting in a higher bonus each year.

Signing bonus

When considering whether to accept a new job, it's helpful to review the job offer in its entirety before making your decision. If the company can't adjust your salary, you could request a signing bonus at the start of your employment. A signing bonus, also known as a sign-on bonus, is a lump sum paid to new employees when they enter new roles.

Additional PTO

If your company offers a fixed amount of paid time off each year, one non-salary perk to consider requesting is additional PTO. Getting a few extra paid days off could help you disconnect from work more often, making you feel more recharged and productive when you're there.

Some companies have also altered their PTO offering to provide unlimited time off to employees, as long as they get their work done. If you want to work for one of these organizations, upload a resume to CareerBuilder and filter your employment search.

Improved benefits

When your position includes health care benefits, it's worth determining whether you can qualify for expanded perks, such as the following:

  • Some companies offer different insurance plans to employees based on their level. For example, C-level executives might get access to a plan with a lower deductible or an expanded coverage network. Talk to your employer to find out what's available and what you can qualify for before you complete the open enrollment process.
  • Another benefit that might be worth negotiating is access to a wellness plan. Many companies have started offering wellness plans to employees to provide mental health resources and other tools to help them improve their overall health and well-being.

Additional wellness perks that you might quality for include the following:

  • Gym membership reimbursement.
  • A standing desk.
  • Access to a company fitness room.

Child care reimbursement

The costs associated with daycare during work hours can be astronomical if you have children. The average weekly cost for infant child care in the United States is $216, which translates to 17.1% of the nation's median household income, according to Move.org. Living in an area where the cost of living is higher means child care is even more expensive. The most expensive states for daycare include:

  • Washington, D.C.: $21,678 per year
  • Massachusetts: $18,004 per year
  • Indiana: $14,210 per year
  • Minnesota: $14,170 per year
  • New York: $14,116 per year

Child care reimbursement or other daycare alternatives provided by your employer can offset some of this expense, so it's worth asking about what's available. Some companies offer child care flexible spending accounts, allowing employees to set aside pretax funds to pay for qualified care, while others provide on-site daycare options.

Flexible schedule

A flexible schedule is an appealing perk to ask for that doesn't cost the company anything. You could request to work a few days from home, trimming your commuting cost, or you could ask for one day off per week in exchange for working longer hours the other four days.

Alternatively, you could request an adjustment to your regular working hours. If you live a substantial distance from the office and you must report in person each day, you may want to consider asking to work from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to avoid rush-hour traffic.

Higher commission rate

If you get paid commission based on your performance or sales, consider negotiating for a higher commission rate instead of a base salary increase. Since commissions directly connect with your performance and overall success, such an increase puts the opportunity to earn more money in your hands.

As you succeed in your role and make more sales for your employer, the company benefits as well, making this an option that most organizations are willing to consider for top-performing salespeople.

Mileage reimbursement

Commuting to the office can get expensive, especially if you have to report to the office daily. Although some employees work remotely, many work in an office setting that requires them to drive (or take another form of transportation) to get there. If your job requires you to visit different locations, transportation costs could be eating into your take-home pay. Asking for reimbursement for these expenses could help you earn more money without asking for a salary increase.

Calculate the average amount you spend on transportation over several months. Present this information to your supervisor. Request reimbursement for some or all of your transportation expenses as a term of employment. You could also request a company car to reduce wear and tear on your vehicle.

Although a raise might seem like the only option to make more money in your career, you can get creative when discussing opportunities with your employer. These alternative ways to raise your salary can help you keep more of the money you earn while taking advantage of programs offered by your company.


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