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​What to Do if You Are Denied a Raise

over 2 years ago
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It’s that time of year – Review day. You’ve been working hard for the past 12 months and you’re hoping for a raise. You turn up at your meeting with your boss, armed with all the reasons why you deserve a salary increase, deliver them with such conviction and confidence, you know you’ve got it in the bag. But after you deliver your incredibly well-thought-out reasons, your boss says, “I’m sorry, let’s review in 6 months and keep up all of your great work!” Ouch. 

Asking for a salary increase or promotion can be a difficult task, so when that request is denied it can leave you feeling rejected – or worse, undervalued by your employer. Now, there are several reasons why your employer might deny a salary increase; your payments may be in line with anyone else in a similar position and therefore cannot be increased due to company policy, or perhaps your boss feels like you’re already paid in line with market value so there isn’t a scope for an increase. Whatever the reasons, you are not alone; a survey conducted by TotalJobs indicates that 2 out of 3 (UK) workers were denied a pay rise or promotion in 2017. 

Armed with the information on why your raise request was denied, you can begin to piece together a plan of action. Put evidence forward– if you haven’t already, demonstrating;

  • How efficient you are in saving the company money.

  • How many deals you have closed (significantly more than your colleagues?).

  • Your commitment, attitude, and motivation to the job.

  • How you have gone above and beyond for the company and the role. 

If despite this, your request is still denied, no one would fault you for considering resigning. However, there are thousands of factors that contribute to compensation levels, it’s not just about your contribution or your success. 

Whilst you may feel like the star employee with your current employer, resigning and moving into a different company and environment might set you up for different goals, demands, technology, processes, and most importantly a different culture who might not have the same views on support and recognition as you do. At Finlay James, we have had several what we call ‘boomerang hires’ over the past few years –who have left for pastures new only to realise the grass is not always greener.


Most importantly, before you resign you should ideally secure another job role elsewhere. If you know that a new role offers you the pay you deserve for the same job and your salary is at the forefront of your priorities in your career, then resigning shouldn’t be a big deal. 

There are a couple of factors that determine your salary. Those are:

1. Availability of skilled resources to perform your responsibilities.

2. Average, minimum and maximum range of salary of the people having the same skills and expertise in the market

3. Type of employment (permanent/temporary or short-term/long term)

4. your geographic location organisation's salary and benefit policies (which may be a little different from the market, as some organisations intentionally position themselves in the lower, middle, or upper third quadrant of the curve and still offer a better career).

5. And last but not least, your company's profitability and growth. Put yourself in your supervisor’s shoes and think thoroughly why do you think your salary should be reviewed or raised considering all of the above. If your supervisor thinks that (s)he is paying you more than you deserve (by comparing yourself with people of the same skillset and experience), (s)he would not be interested to talk about salary raise.

Try to find the reason for your supervisor’s decision. If your skillset is abundantly available in the market and your experience does not add much of a value to your supervisor, (s)he has all reasons to deny any such proposal from you.

If you work in a large organisation, chances are there that you already have performance management and or appraisal system that determines your raise. If you work in a small privately held company.