When To Take a Promotion Without a Raise

When to take a promotion without a raise

You walk into a meeting with your boss, not knowing what to expect, but hoping that this meeting will finally be the one where you are recognized for your hard work. In return, you receive that bonus you’ve been dreaming of. The conversation begins, and all seems normal until your boss begins to thank you for your hard work and dedication to the team and company. The anticipation built up to this moment has finally come to a head. Your boss continues to offer you the promotion but ends there. A promotion with no raise? Is that even a promotion? Take a breath. There was no way you could have prepared for a promotion without a pay raise, right? Wrong. We’re here to walk you through this situation should it arise.


There might be a very solid reason as to why a raise was not included in your promotion. Whether it was based on company policy that salary increases are given only at certain times during the year or a decision from upper management, you won’t know until you ask. You could opt for a direct conversation with your manager or you could inquire with HR, but either way, be sure that the way you approach the subject is respectful. If you didn’t want the promotion, you wouldn’t care about not also getting a raise, so come about the conversation in an inquisitive and curious manner rather than out of anger and frustration. Need additional help knowing what you should be making? Check out our resource on negotiating your salary here.

Get some Zs

Take a breath, inhale, think, and exhale. As mentioned above, it is important to continue the conversation in a calm and professional manner, and not of rage or anger. Set aside the negative thoughts that they just want you to do more work without extra money. If you are feeling extra worked up, ask to take the night to sleep on the proposed promotion and if you could meet about it again the next day so that you can gather your thoughts. Express your interest in the position, but also be sure not accept anything you may regret later down the road. Taking the time to think about the offer on the table will give you the opportunity to think about what you like about the promotion, other than just a title bump, and what you would be willing to negotiate, whether that be a more flexible work schedule or expanded learning and development opportunities.

Take the title and run

At the end of the day, you may just be looking for a new title, and are content with your current salary. Of course, a few extra dollars on your paycheck would be nice, but you will be gaining new experience and have a new title to add to your resume. Take advantage of the new promotion and learn as much as you can to be the best you can be in that position. Then, when the time for a raise comes, you will have proof of your contribution to the company and be better suited for a salary increase. The title bump will also boost your resume for a job search, and with your new experience and skills from the promotion, you will be able to find a new company that will give you the salary and benefits your skillset deserves.

Are you ready for your new promotion? Be sure to check out our Ultimate Job Toolkit to ensure you have the necessary skills and resources to thrive in your new position.