By Joni Lindquist

I found an interesting article in USA Today by Maurie Backman about getting promoted without the raise.

The article points out three things to do if you are promoted yet are not given a salary increase:

  1. Ask your boss
  2. Negotiate other benefits
  3. Decide whether it pays to decline

Ask your boss. This one is obvious.  I always tell clients the worst thing that can happen is your boss would say “no.”  Just ask in a respectful manner of course.  There may be a logical reason for it, although I suggest you question the “policies” that allow this to happen.

Negotiate other benefits. This is one of my favorites. knowing that time is often a more finite resource than money, if you can’t get a raise, then ask for more vacation days or other benefits.  Then make sure you take them!

Does it pay to decline? This one is tricky. I like the suggestion to assess the situation and determine if the promotion is allowing you to develop new skills that will make you more marketable.  If not, and you are merely doing more of the same, the article suggests you consider turning down the promotion.  This often depends on the company culture.  In some companies, you may be marking yourself as a troublemaker.  In other cultures, you may win respect by sticking up for yourself.  Know the organizational politics and culture before determining your move.

If the promotion does provide an opportunity to build new skills and a more impressive title, it may elevate you to higher level jobs outside of your current company.  If your employer won’t pay you what you are worth, at least you’d be gaining valuable experience and leverage for a better job elsewhere.  Don’t get too focused on the short term if there are potentially longer term benefits.  However, don’t let the company take advantage of you and not pay you fairly for any length of time.

This situation is not ideal and it can be a balancing act.  You may want to seek advice from a career coach before making any definitive moves.  For help with awkward work situations, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Joni Lindquist –, or call (913) 345-1881.