What To Do When Your Manager Turns You Down for a Raise


You finally decided to ask for a raise. You have been doing well in your job and your accomplishments over the past 12 months speak for themselves. So, you gather your labor market data, rehearse your talking points, and set up a time to speak with your manager. Everything seems to be going well, until your boss tells you "sorry, that's not possible right now."

According to a Career Builder, 66 percent of people who ask for a raise get one. That's a lot, but it's not everyone. Even the best negotiators suffer a few losses. When you get turned down for a raise, don't fret! Take the opportunity to look at the situation objectively, evaluate your tactics, but also take into consideration the restraints of the company.

Just because you were turned down doesn't mean you will never be able to get a raise. Keep in mind that how you act after a disappointment can tell your boss a lot about you as an employee. Here are some suggestions of what to do:

Be appreciative. Being turned down is disappointing for sure, but you have to stay professional. Remember to thank your boss for their time and make sure they know you will continue to keep up the good work.

Ask why. There might be a very good reason. One of the most helpful things you can do is respectfully ask why your request was rejected. Getting turned down because of budget constraints is very different from being turned down because your boss doesn't think your performance is deserving of a pay increase. Inquiring why you didn't get a raise shows your commitment and dedication. If it is a performance issue, this creates a great opportunity to discuss some ways you might be able to improve.

Propose alternatives. If circumstances won't allow for a monetary raise, perhaps you can suggest an alternative. Maybe a change of title, a new parking space, or a few additional vacation days. This doesn't close the door on conversations for a pay increase in the future, and it shows that you know the work you do is valuable.

Look to the future. Suggest revisiting the conversation in another six months. This shows that you are thinking long term, and that your commitment to the company will continue. You will also want to do some reflection of your own. If you didn't get the raise because the company truly does not value your input, perhaps it's time to look for a new job. Make sure you are being realistic in your evaluation, and separating your emotions from your decision.

Rejection is tough, but it's a part of life. Getting turned down for a raise is disappointing, and you have a right to feel that way. Just remember to make sure that your temporary disappointment doesn't turn into a long-term problem. Hold your head up high, continue to work hard, and plan your strategy for the next time you ask for a raise.