What to do when you are denied a raise – 5 steps for future success

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So you’ve been at your job for awhile and feel like you deserve a raise. You strategically planned how to ask for a raise and you were………..denied! What do you say and what do you do when you are denied a raise?

Related: How to ask for a raise successfully in 3 steps

You are probably very disappointed because you were depending on that raise, and that’s ok. Take some time to yourself and recuperate.

But now you need to figure out what your next steps are. You need to strategically plan what to say and do when you are denied a raise to make sure you are successful the next time.

The company can give you any response under the sun when they denied your raise. The end result is that it does not matter what the reason is – the end result is that you did not get a raise and you do not have more money.

So what do you do when you are denied a raise? What are your next steps?

What to do when you are denied a raise in 5 steps

Remain calm

The first step you need to remember when you are denied a raise is to remain calm. This advice should be applied to your work life in general. Always be professional.

Do not take your raise denial personal. Do not get angry or defensive and take it out on your boss. Your boss may just be a messenger.

You never want to burn any bridges.

Schedule to revisit the issue at another point in time

Thank your manager for their time and work. They may have investigated possible raises for you with upper management or tried to look for opportunities in the budget to give you a raise.

Whatever they did, thank them for their time. Your raise denial may be a decision from upper management or HR and not necessarily your boss.

Regardless of the reason you did not get your raise this time, tell your boss you would like to revisit this issue at another point in time – perhaps in 6 months.

Ask for a performance review

Have an honest discussion with your boss. Ask your boss what are the things you can do to ensure you are successful at your next raise negotiation.

If you boss mentions the things you can improve on, listen. Work on these things and improve. Bring your success stories and examples up when you revisit your raise discussion in 6 months.

Your boss will have a hard time denying your raise again because they told you exactly what to work on, and you worked on it!

Get your raise at a different job

If you cannot wait to revisit the issue of your raise in another 6 months, you can look for your raise at a new job.

Getting a new job is the fastest way to increase your earning salary. The average salary increase employees get at a new job is between 10-20%. 

This will require work in finding a new job, and we all know how much work that can be! But this time is different.

This time you will have job experience. You will have leverage to negotiate your salary. Worst case scenario, you still have a fall-back job to go to and so you will not be desperate in your job search.

You should be careful not to job hop too often as this can be seen negatively on your resume. You can look like a flight risk to future employers. They may not want to take the chance in training you, only to have you leave shortly.

This should not be too much of a concern – just don’t job hop more than once every two years on average. Meaning make sure you stay at one job for at least 2 years.

Use your raise at a different job for leverage

If you were able to successfully get a salary increase at another job or company, I personally think you should take it.

However, if for some reason, you absolutely love the job and company you are at and do not want to leave, then you can use your job offer as leverage.

Bring up to your boss how you would love to stay at the company, but you have a competing offer. Word of caution that you should be prepared to walk away if your boss does not give you a counteroffer.

So there are 5 steps you should do when you are denied a raise to make sure you are successful the next time!

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