What To Do When You Get A Promotion But No Raise

Your work is recognized with a new title and more responsibilities, but the company can’t afford to give you more money. Now what?

What To Do When You Get A Promotion But No Raise
[Photo: Flickr user Mike Poresky]

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: Your boss calls you into her office, compliments your stunning work as of late, and awards you a fancy new title and some exciting, powerhouse responsibilities to go along with it (hooray!).


There’s just one teeny, tiny catch—the company can’t afford to give you a raise right now. This became an all-too-familiar story during the recession, and it’s still common today as businesses cut costs while trying to maximize their talent, says Dan Schawbel, bestselling author of Promote Yourself and Me 2.0. “A promotion [without a raise] is an easy way to not spend more immediately while still pleasing the employees,” Schawbel says. If this sounds a lot like the boat you’re currently in, put the lifejacket away and capitalize on these five tips to max out the benefits of your well-deserved title bump:

1. First, Get The Facts Straight On The Whole Raise Issue

As in, “I understand a raise isn’t possible now, but I’d like to understand more about why—and how that may change in the future, assuming I succeed in this role.” “It will inform you on how your company gives raises and how you can improve, so that you can get a raise the next time around,” Schawbel suggests. The company may be on a tight budget, or perhaps raises are only available during a certain month or quarter. Additionally, your company may have given you the promotion without a salary increase to test whether you can succeed in the position first, Schawbel says, so it’s important to prove you can do the job.

[Related: 3 Reasons You’re Not Getting a Promotion]

2. Think Of How The Title Change Will Affect You Long-Term

A title change can be a big perk, should you decide to look for a new job. “When you move from company to company, your title is your currency more than your salary,” Schawbel says.

[Related: How to Ask for and Get a Raise]

3. Keep Track Of Your Accomplishments

“Once you’ve mastered your role and have shown real business results, you should make a case to your manager to get more money,” Schawbel says. “To best prepare for that now, write down the accomplishments achieved from your promotion onward so your boss can eventually see it in writing.”


4. Think Outside The Wallet

Remember that you can always negotiate nonmonetary benefits, such as working remotely or having the company pay for training and development opportunities.

5. Keep The Hustle Alive

It’s not sexy advice, per se, but the best thing you can do to ensure you eventually do get that raise is to keep working hard and building your case. “That hard work and evidence can be leveraged next time you’re looking to get a higher salary,” Schawbel says. (At your current company—or elsewhere, we might add.)

This article originally appeared on Levo and is reprinted with permission.