What To Do When You’re Offered A Promotion Without A Raise

promotion without a raise

Pexels/Christina Morillo

Being offered a promotion at work is a big deal. Whether it’s an unexpected surprise or a long time coming, a promotion is one of the first steps in leveling up in your career. Often times promotions come with a new job title, more responsibilities and an increase in salary. However, it’s not uncommon for companies to skip the pay bump and hope that the employee will appreciate the other offerings. If you’re dealing with this now or think it could happen to you in the future, here’s what to consider when you’re offered a promotion without a raise.

Don’t accept the offer yet.

First things first, it’s important to know that you don’t have to accept the offer on the spot. When the offer is made, say thank you and show your gratitude, and then ask for the details in writing. It’s important to have everything outlined in the clearest way so there are no questions left to be asked when you make your decision.

Once you have the promotion details and new job description on paper, ask if you can take 24 to 48 hours to review it. You may want to discuss it with your SO if the new role means longer hours, or maybe you want to talk it through with your financial advisor to see if a bump in salary is really something that could impact your current financial situation.

Whatever you do, just don’t accept it on the spot. It’s important to take the time to review it and think it over. Just because you’re offered a promotion doesn’t mean you have to take it.

Do your research.

promotion do your research
Pexels/Christina Morillo

During the time you tak to review the offer, do your research to better understand what this promotion means for your career. Is it in line with your career goals? Will the new title and responsibilities pay off in the long run? Is it worth the experience without the salary increase?

Check out websites like Glassdoor, PayScale or Salary.com and see what an average salary is for an employee with this title. If the industry standard is much higher than you’re currently making, then definitely negotiate. It’s important to know your worth at work and make strides toward earning a salary that compliments the work you’re doing for the company. If you’re offered a promotion, you’re most likely a high achiever, so you deserve to be paid more for the awesome job you’ve been doing thus far.


If you decide you’re going to take the promotion but your boss didn’t offer a salary bump with it, get ready to negotiate. You’ve done your research, so you should have a figure in mind that you feel makes sense for the work you’d be doing in this new role.

Schedule a meeting or send an email thanking your boss for the promotion. Then ask if the company can increase your salary to better match the requirements of the new role. Explain that you’re excited about the opportunity and know that you’d be able to continue helping the company move forward in this new position. Once you put the ask out there, you’ll probably have to wait for an answer. During that time, start thinking about your response should your boss say no.

Consider your next steps.

Now that you’ve asked for a raise to go with the promotion, there are a few things that could happen. For starters, your boss could say yes and you get exactly what you asked for and can move forward into the new role with a new salary. On the other hand, your boss could come back with a number that’s between your current salary and what you asked for in your meeting or email. Think about the counter offer that she made you before accepting. If you feel it’s worth it, then accept the offer! If it’s not enough, then there are a few things you can do.

promotion next steps
Pexels/Christina Morillo

If your boss counters your salary ask with a low number, weigh your options. Maybe you accept the offer but negotiate for more vacation or work-from-home days, or even request an annual bonus. You could also ask to discuss a higher salary after three or six months in the new role. There are a lot of things to negotiate beyond a higher salary at work.

You could also decline the promotion, explaining that you’re happy in the role you’re in now and want to continue strengthening your skills at this level before moving up the ladder. By declining the promotion, there’s no pressure to take on more responsibilities at the same salary that you’ve been making.

However, you may also want to consider whether the company you’re working for is the right fit for you and your career goals. You’re a hard worker and deserve to be paid a salary that meets your level of performance. If that opportunity isn’t available in your current company, you may be able to find it elsewhere.

The last thing to consider is whether the promotion could help you find a new job elsewhere, too. If you have a higher title, you can apply for those same positions at other companies where you may be able to make a higher salary. Of course, job hopping isn’t always the best strategy, but it could help you level up in your salary and career much faster than if you were to stay at the same company for years.

Whatever you do, know your worth at work. If you’re a high performer who’s been offered a promotion, then you also deserve a higher salary. Take the time to consider all of your options before accepting the offer so you can make sure you’re truly thriving in your career.


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