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What Happens When You Don’t Get the Pay Rise You Wanted?

It’s July! Most of us are enduring cold Melbourne mornings whilst the other half are splashing EURO summer all over their Instagram stories.  Alas, it’s EOFY = pay review time!!! 

So, what happens when you don’t get the pay raise you wanted? Do you stay or leave?

Maybe your Boss gave you a 5% increase? Or perhaps you were hit with the old one liner “Sorry, we have a pay freeze across the company” and didn’t receive anything this EOFY. 

Let’s face it, inflation is through the roof and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 7% for the 2023 March quarter. In 2022, we saw a huge hiring spree and many companies overpaid staff to ensure they secured their top picks. Now, we are seeing the effects of this. 

A challenging economy, inflation, high staff costs, high company expenses and companies not winning pitches. As a result, many companies are having to scale back their workforce or tighten their budget, which in return may mean providing little to no pay increase. 


Your Boss paid you a 5% pay increase when you requested a 10% increase. Firstly, establish if it was based on;

  • Your Performance
  • The current economy
  • Or if your company is going through a redundancy wave

Did your company overhire and overpay in 2022 and now it’s catching up with them? Maybe your company has lost key clients and is struggling to win contracts.  Or it might be performance-based and you’re not reaching the KPIs set by your manager. Ask!

If your manager didn’t tell you during the pay review, ask why you weren’t granted the pay increase you requested.

What Now?

Should you stay or should you go? Only you can answer this question.

If it’s performance-based, ask for clear instructions on what areas you need to improve on. Set up ongoing meetings with your manager to check in on how your performance is going. Ask about your strengths and weaknesses, both in terms of skills and productivity, but also the role that you play within the office culture. 

If it’s economic-based or your company ran out of money and it’s clear that your manager can’t match your pay rise request, negotiate other elements of your contract. This could include:

  • Finish early on Fridays 
  • Upskilling opportunities (classes, workshops, training, etc.)
  • Time in lieu 
  • Ask for more flexible working conditions (flexible hours, WFH, etc.)
  • Additional leave.

Settling for a Lower Salary vs. Knowing Your Worth 

We have come to expect a yearly pay rise, which can be quite shocking if it doesn’t happen or you get a 5% pay rise, instead of your normal 10%. After all, employees contribute to the company’s output while gaining skills making them more desirable to the company. Employees typically start on a lower salary at the beginning of a new job and as experience is gained then salaries typically increase. However, in times like these when money is scarce and the overhead costs have increased drastically, it’s important to realise it’s nothing you have done or could have changed.

Accepting less money right now doesn’t mean you are less skilled or less valuable. It’s a tough time for many organisations across the industry, and know this will not last!

Is It Time to Go?

Not every company is financially struggling right now and if you don’t want to ride the wave of the economy, know that you do have options.

Let’s face it, the cost of living has gone up drastically in the last year and you have to be realistic about your salary vs. the cost of living. If you find yourself struggling to make ends meet, maybe it’s time to look for a better-paying job. If you’re not sure what direction to take or need advice, please contact me HERE for a confidential chat. Also, sign up to my weekly Hot Jobs eDM for the latest jobs on offer.


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