Q. What is the percentage range for raises in public accounting? Is the average really 4 to 5 percent? If I expect 10 percent, am I kidding myself?

A. Companies determine their merit budgets for the coming year typically by late summer of the previous year. Merit increases are based on the employer’s ability to pay. Given the current economic situation, some companies have opted not to give merit increases this year because they can’t afford to.

Over the past four years, the average merit increase has hovered around 4 to 5 percent, so I think it’s unrealistic to expect a 10 percent raise. A raise as high as 10 percent is generally reserved for employees whose salary is not competitive with the market. A company may also give an employee a merit increase as part of a promotional increase. Or, you might expect a 10 percent increase if you have done an exceptional job during the past year and the company would like to reward you for your work.

Good luck.

– Erisa Ojimba, Certified Compensation Consultant