What to do when you’re asked to do more work for the same money.
Promotions at work sound like good news, but sometimes they’re offered without a corresponding increase in pay. Yes, despite the fact that when you’re working at a higher level, you’re adding more to the company’s bottom line, this is a phenomenon that does occur. So here are some thoughts on what to do if (when) it happens to you.
First, if it’s a title you truly want, accept the offer. A higher rank carries nonmonetary benefits — more prestige, more potential for professional development, more access to the company’s higher-ups. Also, a promotion is a sign that your employer is happy with you, so don’t forget to say thanks for the great compliment and vote of confidence.
But don’t stop there. Seek more information. Perhaps the company is viewing your new duties as a trial run for permanent advancement. Perhaps the intention is that a raise will come with the next performance review. It’s even possible that the new title was only chosen to better reflect the work you’re already doing. It always helps to know the background for any decision.
No matter what the reason, however, consider trying to negotiate a better deal. Schedule a time to discuss the matter. Come prepared with a specific dollar figure in mind, preferably one based on some solid research, as well as a list of your accomplishments and recommendations. If the answer is still, “Sorry, no more money,” don’t forget that you can also ask for a better schedule, more vacation time, a company-paid computer or phone, access to continuing education and/or increased mentorship. Make a decision to revisit the question within a set amount of time, like three or six months.
If you still find it difficult to feel good about the fact that your company expects you to take on more responsibilities without paying you more, you may want to start looking for a new job. The good news is that your shiny new title is going to give your résumé a nice boost. Use it to leverage yourself a new position with a more generous employer.
Finally, remember that being offered a promotion without a raise is a very good example of a company looking out for itself, not you. Feel free to do likewise.