We are still digging out from the experience of the financial crisis and Great Recession from 10 years ago, which is one reason why more than half of American workers did not receive a salary increase in the past year, according to Bankrate.com.

Senior Economic Analyst Mark Hamrick says even though the job market is fairly strong and the unemployment rate is close to 4 percent, the reality is that 52 percent of workers did not receive a pay hike last year. The percentage is even higher for older workers. About 64 percent of those ages 53 years and up did not see a recent wage increase.

The Bankrate.com survey also finds that 18 percent got a better paying job while 27 percent got a cost-of-living increase.

"It's worth noting that inflation by most measures remains remarkably low, so a cost-of-living increase isn't the same as winning a lottery jackpot, but it's something."

So how do you get a pay raise? Hamrick says some workers can jump ship and get a new job that pays better. But at their current jobs, about a quarter of workers got a promotion or new duties.

He says Millennials are nearly twice as likely as Gen Xers to have gotten a pay bump and six times more likely than Baby Boomers.

Hamrick says Millennials come into the workforce at a lower pay rate so over the course of their career they'll most likely move up. Also, Millennials are the most mobile in the workforce, meaning they either move from job to job or move to a location that provides better pay.

Many older workers take part-time jobs to earn some extra money. Hamrick also says many are in a better position to retire because they are the beneficiary of a pension plan from years past.

More than a third of workers got performance or merit-based pay raises, which is down from 52 percent a year ago.

Hamrick also says it's smart to have an aggressive savings plan and to start saving at a young age for retirement.

"Too many Americans, 40 percent of them, simply cannot afford an emergency expense and that underscores the fact that emergency savings is one way to head off financial disaster down the road."

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