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What Will You Do When You Get Promoted Without a Pay Raise?

You’re excited because your boss tells you that you’re being promoted, and then you feel let down when you find out that your salary will stay the same, even if you are already earning a high salary as a lawyer or doctor. Does it make sense to do more work without receiving more money?

Accepting a promotion without a raise can be a smart career move, and a growing number of employees are doing it. Almost 40% of companies frequently award promotions without pay increases, and 64% of workers are willing to accept them, according to a recent survey by the staffing firm Office Team.

What will you do if your boss offers you a new title without adjusting your paycheck? Prepare yourself by studying this quick guide.

Weigh the Consequences:

  1. Gain experience. Moving into a more senior role enables you to pick up new skills, knowledge, and contacts. You may have a greater voice in company decisions, and you may be able to focus more on the tasks you find fulfilling.
  2. Broaden your options. These new experiences will add to your qualifications when it comes time to look for your next position. You may keep rising in your current company or find yourself being courted by recruiters for openings elsewhere.
  3. Earn recognition. Any promotion is usually a sign that you’re performing well, and your boss appreciates your efforts. You may value positive feedback just as much as financial compensation.
  4. Consider related costs. It’s easy to see the benefits of a promotion, but there can be challenges too. You might have extra expenses if you need a more formal wardrobe or eat out more frequently. Think about your life balance as well, especially if you’ll be working longer hours.
  5. Avoid dead ends. While it’s usually wise to accept a promotion, there are some exceptions. Talk with your colleagues and investigate the background of the position to ensure it’s really a move up for you.

Negotiate the Offer:

  1. Understand the context. Find out why the promotion lacks a salary bump. Maybe it’s company policy to adjust salaries at year end only or maybe there are legitimate issues about fair compensation.
  2. Know your worth. Research average salary ranges for comparable positions in your industry. You’ll be able to negotiate more effectively if you know what it would cost your company to hire an outside candidate for the same job.
  3. Ask for a raise. You may want to take the initiative to ask for more money yourself. It’s reasonable to expect your boss to be willing to discuss the possibility under most conditions. On the other hand, you could look like you’re out of touch if you ask for a raise when you know the company is having financial difficulties.
  4. Seek other benefits. Keep in mind that compensation can include much more than salary. You may be able to gain other valuable perks like flex time, training, or free parking.
  5. Schedule a review. If you’re still seeking a salary increase in the near future, talk with your boss about creating a timeline. Maybe you can agree on a plan for you to reach a few specific milestones within six months to qualify for a 5% raise. Ask for a written contract to summarize your discussion.
  6. Decline gracefully. If you do need to turn down your promotion, try to be diplomatic. Let your boss know that you remain committed to being a valuable employee.

A promotion without a raise can still be an opportunity to advance your career. Keep your long-term interests in mind as you consider the impact on your personal and professional life and negotiate the most advantageous deal possible.