Should You Accept a Promotion Without A Pay Rise?

| 5 min read

For the first time, you receive the biggest news in your career; “you earned a promotion!” At first, you’re excited about taking on a higher role with greater opportunities. You believe this is a ticket to your financial growth, however, the promotion doesn’t come with a pay rise. Same salary, greater responsibilities and contributing much more to the company. Should you accept or decline the offer?

The Value of A Promotion

Growth is an inevitable part of everyday life. Every manager you see today was once a subordinate just like you. Like babies grow into puberty and later adulthood, so are you eligible for growth in your career. Getting promoted is a big deal and not just an opportunity to give orders around. Promotion ushers you into a higher role, exposure and more responsibilities.

Will You Accept the Offer or Decline?

Learning about your promotion for the first time is very exciting. But, when hit with the “no raise” news, it can definitely cripple you. In the beginning, it will seem like a dubious act of honor, fake or even an insult to your intelligence. You are then left with a difficult decision to make whether to accept the offer or to decline.

How prepared can you be for the task ahead especially if it is without a pay raise? Hearing this can be heartbreaking, but, don’t say no, at least, not yet. Let’s take a look at how you should react when this fearful phenomenon occurs;

1. Negotiate for A Raise Anyway

The best time to ask for a raise is when you’re getting a promotion. Regardless of the fact that nobody mentioned a pay increase, don’t leave the room without knowing your stance with a salary increase. When given the big news for the first time, prioritize the list of all the things you’d like to negotiate; salary, title, advanced training, and inclusion in special projects. The earlier you bring this up in your promotion discussion with your boss, the better.

2. Find Out How Much Others are Making

Do you research, know how much others in your new role are snagging and go to the negotiation table with your facts. If your organization is to find someone in the market, they’d have to pay more for a qualified candidate. Truth is, knowing the in and out of the company already puts you in a better position than any other talent they can hire.

That alone is your niche for a salary increase as you take up a higher and more demanding role. Many people are paid less after probation because they don’t have insight on how much others in their position are taking. Get the salary range and that is going to be your undeniable advantage during your negotiation for a raise.

3. Check for Non-Pay benefits

If your manager insists that money isn’t an option, go in for non-pay benefits. You can negotiate for more personal time, flexible work arrangements, or expanded training and development. Bottom line is, you must always negotiate. Don’t just roll over and say, ‘Thank you”. If you don’t negotiate immediately, you can lose motivation and this can ultimately affect your performance in your new role. Create the awareness that, part of keeping you motivated in your new role is giving you financial remuneration or non-pay benefits at least for the time being.

4. Find Out When You Can Expect A Pay Rise Down the Line

Some companies do not offer raises immediately as part of promotions. They prefer putting additional pay for such advancements after the employee’s assessment. If this is not the case, still hold the company accountable to a pay increase down the line, based on specific goals you set together.

Thus, map out a few milestones you’ll achieve in the first six months, and confirm that you’ll receive a raise afterward. Make sure the goals are measurable and achievable and build it into a timeline. If at the end of the period you don’t hammer out measurable results within your timeline, you’ll become resentful and feel like a doormat.

5. Use the Promotion to Boost Your Resume

Promotion without salary increase is becoming common as companies are becoming more creative in filling open positions internally to save money. Regardless, your boss still expects a lot of hard work from you without compensating you fairly.

Take the position and gain as many new skills and experiences as you can. You can factor the experiences you garner from your new role on your resume to help you find your next job.

Give the new position a shot for at least a year. You don’t also want to come off as a job hopper if you leave too quickly. You still would need your referees in your current job for the new one and the impression they have of you today truly matters.

Are you getting a promotion without a pay rise or have you got any such experiences? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

Nelly Sadongo-Bawa
Social Media and Community Marketer at Jobberman Ghana || Blogger || Motivator || Radio host || "Knowledge is like a garden. If it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested."