pay cut


Annual reviews have just been completed and your raise was paltry at best.  Why didn’t you get the raise you wanted?  What can you do to address it today and for the future?


Did you ask for a raise?  Did you question the raise your supervisor gave you?  Don’t assume they know what you want or that you are unhappy with what they’ve offered.  You must tell them.  This is the number one mistake employees make in not getting the raise they want.


Do you have reasons why you should get a better raise than you received?  If you are asking for more than the “norm” for the year, why?  What have you done that warrants you getting more than your associates?  What are your success stories for the previous year?  You can reference pay websites and salaries advertised for jobs like yours, but your value to your current company is what you have to defend.

Company Performance

Is your company going through tough times?  Have certain economic events adversely impacted your division or product performance?  If there genuinely isn’t enough money for everybody, weigh how even the best rationale for a raise will be received.  Are you pushing for something that isn’t even feasible?  You may want to postpone asking for the raise you wanted until the company performance has improved.

Contingency Plan

You’ve given it your best effort and you still didn’t get the raise you wanted.  What can you do now?  Are there alternative forms of compensation that might suffice?  What about a spot bonus or equity participation?  Is there a certain project you’d love to be on or take responsibility for?  This could improve your day-to-day work and have dividends for your next salary review.

Accurate Self-Assessment

Did you fail to get the raise you wanted due to your own performance issues?  Is your self-assessment off?  Meeting your goals might just be viewed as adequate, not top performance.  Exceeding your goals is what is going to get you a better raise.  Are you a team player, well-liked by your associates and your supervisor?  Attitude and relationships can often be as important as completing a project on time.  Make sure you don’t fall short in the intangibles of job performance as well as exceeding goals.


Is your salary butting up against the top of your position’s salary range?  If your tenure at this firm has been in one position at the same level, you may be at the top of the viable range for the level position you are in.  Is there an option for a promotion?  Is that something you want to do?  Sometimes subject matter experts don’t want to manage or have the bottom-line responsibility that goes along with promotions, but that typically means a lower salary range.  Of course, some skill sets are very valuable to a company even without management responsibility.  Proving your worth can raise that viable range.

Look Around

The best way to assess your value is to job hunt.  A real offer from another company goes a long way in proving your value.  Presenting this alternative offer to your current supervisor requires great tact, in order not to get fired, but presented correctly it is your best argument to get the raise you wanted.

Need some help in your job search?  Contact the Executive Recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates or review our open positions at



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