What to Do When You Don't Get the Raise You Requested

Next Steps To Take After Not Getting a Raise

businesspeople in lobby
Copyright Westend61/E+/Getty Images

It's wise to ask for a raise: after all, if you don't ask, you generally don't get. But merely asking, even if you have a good case, doesn't guarantee you a raise. If you were denied a raise, here are some next steps to take.

What to Do When You Don't Get a Raise
 

A Few Don'ts:

Let's start with what not to do: unless you have another secure job offer waiting for you, it's probably wise to avoid quitting in a huff.

(In fact, think carefully before quitting dramatically even if you do have an offer.) Don't get personal or insulting in your response: sometimes managers or companies are under constraints. State your objections to the decision professionally.

As well, don't change your day-to-day work habits in the weeks and months following your raise request being turned down. Being frustrated by the decision doesn't negate your responsibilities to the job. Gossiping with co-workers, slowing down work, or having a bad attitude will not endear you to colleagues or managers, and could endanger future requests.

Evaluate Your Own Request

It's not easy to ask for a raise — even if you put in solid prep work, it's possible you could have timed your request better or phrased it more effectively. Consider how you made the request, and review some of the common reasons companies decline raise requests, many of which are totally unrelated to your performance.

Use the Feedback

Treat the feedback you received from your manager or human resources about why your raise request was declined as a blueprint for your next steps. If you did not receive helpful feedback, schedule a time to meet again. Ask direct questions, about what types of benchmarks you'd need to meet to get a raise.

You can also request a timeline, or schedule a follow-up meeting. Ask questions non-confrontationally: your goal here is to get practical information about why you did not get a raise and where you need to improve. 

Consider Your Next Goal

As you evaluate the feedback you received, consider what next steps you'd like to take. If you feel that you will not receive a raise, and deserve one, starting a search for a new job might be your next step. Or, you might want to establish a timeline for when to ask for a raise again.

Switch Strategies: Seek Non-Salary Benefits

A raise isn't the only way to get ahead at work. You can also request a bonus in lieu of a raise, or additional vacation days. Or, consider non-financial benefits, such as being able to work from home a day a week, or reimbursement for work-related classes or training.

How to Ask for a Raise
Prepare for your next time requesting a raise with these helpful tips, including investigating your company policy, requesting a meeting, and rehearsing your talking points.

More on Raises: Do's and Don'ts for Requesting a Raise | Sample Email Request for a Raise | Can You Get Fired for Asking for a Raise? | How Often Can You Ask for a Raise?