Average % raise with promotion?
April 16, 2016 7:57 PM   Subscribe

I was promoted at work, but the raise accompanying it was only 5%, which seems low to me. I'm trying to figure out if my expectations are out of line, so I'm curious what % increases others have personally received (or given out) when getting promoted in your company, as well as what general field you work in for context. I'm also interested in strategies for going back to press for more in a pretty corporate environment, or if I should even bother trying?
posted by annie o to Work & Money (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What sort of promotion? Has your role changed or is just a title change? Going from a team member to a team leader with direct reports is going to be different than being promoted from "associate worker" to "senior associate worker" with no work change.
posted by brainmouse at 8:02 PM on April 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

There's really no "average" you can point to without comparing job titles / responsibilities across companies in an industry. Five percent could be great in your industry, we can't really tell here.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:20 PM on April 16, 2016 [6 favorites]

For us this is about position in range for your salary grade. There is a target position in the paygrade for hires, for promotions, etc. Some companies might target newly promoted employees at the midpoint of the paygrade or other companies might say they should be a 25% of the paygrade. How much of a raise you get is actually based on what your prior pay was. You might get a larger raise if you are further from the target.

Compensation philosophy is a big part of company strategy. Add to that that some companies are very strict in their compensation policies, while other companies are pretty darn flexible. It would be very difficult to aggregate across companies whether or not 5% is an appropriate raise for any promotion.
posted by 26.2 at 8:46 PM on April 16, 2016 [5 favorites]

5% is what I get as a normal yearly raise, so it seems a low for a promotion. But like others have said, it's hard to say.
posted by kevinbelt at 9:18 PM on April 16, 2016

The general wisdom at this point is that to get sizeable raises (other than for things like making VP or partner), one has to switch companies. Unless one is changing pay grades, what I hear most often of is people getting 5-10% raises with promotions.

If the 5% is supposed to include your cost of living adjustment as well, the official CPI change from last year was about 0.7%, though if you're still in Seattle, real estate costs and the minimum wage change may be making your actual cost of living change significantly higher.

Overall it really depends on your field and what the change in responsibilities are. If you got a separate cost of living adjustment and the new duties are not that different, 5% may not be that unreasonable.
posted by Candleman at 11:35 PM on April 16, 2016

It also depends on whether you get other raises or not during the year. Where I work, raises are done once a year, but promotions are done twice a year. If you get a raise as part of the promotion window that does *not* coincide with the raise cycle, you would get a smaller raise (often in the neighborhood of 5%) with your promotion, and then a second raise six months later. If your promotion happened at the same time as the annual raise cycle, you would get only one raise, but it would be larger.
posted by phoenixy at 12:39 AM on April 17, 2016

This will vary wildly depending on job title, company, industry and country. With all of this information missing, it's not possible to give a valid answer.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:37 AM on April 17, 2016

Response by poster: So by way of clarification since it sounds like there is a lot of variation, the promotion does coincide with the raise cycle and there was no separate COL adjustment. This is for a job in the architecture/engineering/construction industry in Seattle, and the promotion does involve taking on people/financial management tasks. Honestly, my salary is not that high to begin with so 5% is like, "I can go out to dinner an extra time per month" money and does not feel very substantial at all for the responsibility I'm being asked to take on.
posted by annie o at 7:43 AM on April 17, 2016

Depends a lot on your organization and other factors. In the last several years, I've received a few promotions, heard of a few, and bestowed a few, and this is what I saw:

Me #1: "specialist" to "senior" role (including supervisory duties) - 3%
Me #2: "senior" to "manager" role (running a department) - 25%
Me #3: Corporate title change, no add'l duties - 8% (includes COL increase)
I'm kind of a weird case. before i was running my dept, i was running it in the background. Incompetent management, etc., so was really underpaid for what i did until recently. According to my boss, he had to do a bit of fighting for the #2 increase - I believe it.

Husband: "analyst" to "senior" role - 10% + 5% yearly COL increase (the +5% was calculated after the promotion went into effect)

Others I know of or have bestowed:
A: "analyst" to "senior" role (+ minor "team lead" duties) - 10%
B: "investigator" to "senior" role - 8%
C: "specialist" to "senior" role (+ training duties) - 3%
D: "analyst" to "supervisor" role (+ supervisory duties) - 5%

That said, it seems that 5-10% is the norm, as mentioned above. Again though, it really depends on your organization, what structure they have, and sometimes where they are on the pay scale. I noticed in my career that some of the individuals i didn't mention here had pittances for increases because they were near the top of the pay scale for their job.

As far as going to your management and attempting to negotiate, approach them from an angle of "here are the valuable contributions I've made to this company", and mention that, with a promotion of this sort and the additional duties it bestows, you were looking for an increase more along the lines of x%.

However, keep in mind that this type of increase may be normal for them, and that's when you need to evaluate whether or not you want to look for a new position. It's possible your company just underpays/underpromotes. Best of luck.
posted by Verdandi at 8:46 AM on April 17, 2016

Re: the update - if they're pushing you into management and offering that small of a raise while underpaying you already, it sounds like the best thing to do is to leverage your increase in job title to get a better job elsewhere. Salary is effectively a statement from the company to the employee about how much they feel you're worth to them and you have two data points now that says they don't value you that much (or are not doing well financially and can't afford to pay you more, but that's a good sign to leave too). All companies want to pay their employees as little as they can, of course, but *good* companies realize that figure is not a pittance and that it's wise to offer good employees a reasonably high amount of money because recruiting, training, etc. new employees is expensive and disruptive.

Generally people shoot for 10-20% raises when they move between companies, so put feelers out and see what options are available to you elsewhere and take a better offer if you get one.

If you want to try to negotiate for something higher where you are, it likely won't hurt to do so. You can bring up local COL. You can use Glassdoor and industry figures to show that you're underpaid for the new duties. If your company uses pay bands/grades, you can try to argue that your new role is an increase in those and should have a corresponding increase in pay.

If you haven't read it, I would suggest reading Women Don't Ask by Linda Babcock. It will cover a lot of information on salary negotiations and discusses gender differences related to raises.
posted by Candleman at 8:49 AM on April 17, 2016 [4 favorites]

My suggestion would be to immediately start looking for a new comparable position - a 5% raise and no cost-of-living increase (especially when you are self-described as not a high earner already) does not seem significant to me at all.

You use the job search to help confirm that you are being underpaid (and if you've been with your current company long enough to get promoted, you can almost certainly earn more by jumping ship). With a new offer in hand, you are in a much stronger place to negotiate from.
Using that better idea of how the market values your labor, you ask your current employer for a corresponding increase, secure in the knowledge that if they do not counter, you have an offer in your pocket and can safely leave.
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:37 PM on April 17, 2016

> the promotion does involve taking on people/financial management tasks.

It really depends on the company, how much the salary bands overlap, and where you are in your current band. I know a department on campus who's most senior software developer makes 90k, whose direct manager makes 92k. If she left and he were promoted to the vacancy, I doubt we'd offer much more. Which might explain why he didn't get the promotion the last time someone left.

For comparison, our unionized IT employees at his level get COLA bumps, plus 2 percent for a satisfactory performance review, plus whatever extra the union negotiates.
posted by pwnguin at 10:55 PM on April 21, 2016

« Older CMEF French Language Summer Camp   |   Some Questions that Arise from my Ancestry... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.