Video: Responding to Pay Raise Requests

When denying a pay raise, be transparent and check for bias

Stephen Miller, CEBS By Stephen Miller, CEBS June 26, 2018
Video: Responding to Pay Raise Requests

Budget constraints are the most common reason managers give when they deny someone a raise: 49 percent of denied employees reported they were told this.

However, only 22 percent of employees believed it, a recent survey shows.

When workers are turned down for a raise and don't trust the reason why, their level of satisfaction with their employer plummets, and their intent to look for a new job soars, according to a survey by PayScale, a compensation data and software firm.

Another finding suggests that decisions about raises may be influenced by managers' unconscious bias: White men were much more likely to be given a raise after asking than were people of color.

To address these issues, a manager's response to a requested raise should be "transparent and rooted in data," said PayScale Vice President Lydia Frank.

The firm surveyed more than 160,000 respondents about their history of asking for raises and reported the findings in its 2018 Raise Anatomy report.

Promotions Without Raises

A better job title doesn't always come with a bigger paycheck, according to new research from staffing firm OfficeTeam. Nearly two in five HR managers (39 percent) said it's common for their company to offer employees promotions without salary increases—a 17-point jump from a similar 2011 survey.

How do employees feel about this practice? Nearly two-thirds of workers (64 percent) reported they'd be willing to accept an advanced title that doesn't include a raise, up from 55 percent in 2011.

"Awarding promotions without raises isn't ideal, but budgets are often a limiting factor," said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. "The employee's existing salary may also be a consideration, particularly if they're already making an above-market rate."

Even without an immediate raise, employees may welcome new challenges that could enhance future career development. Employers may also be able to offer other perks to sweeten the deal, Britton said. "Aside from pay, [employees] may be able to negotiate a flexible schedule, extra vacation time, a bigger bonus, professional development opportunities or stock options."

The survey included responses from more than 300 HR managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees and more than 1,000 U.S. adults employed in office environments.

Related SHRM Video:

Some Workers Would Take Drastic Steps for Immediate Pay RaiseHR News, April 2018 



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