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Your Pay Rise Was Denied, Now What?

It’s incredibly tough to be rejected for a pay rise during your annual review. You’ve worked 38-40+ hour weeks for your company and are hoping to be rewarded with recognition and a pay increase with benefits (WFH, new job title, shares etc).

So, when you head into your review feeling positive & fully prepared it can be very upsetting to be rejected for what seems like “excuses”.  Some are absolutely true and some, are not so much.

When it comes to asking for a salary increase, many Managers will often respond to your request with common excuses for rejecting a raise, such as; 

  • “We’ve benchmarked you” – meaning they have looked at competitor salaries and feel they already pay you above market rate 
  • “The market is tough right now” – which could be referring to industry redundancies or the increased property RTB rates that are affecting many homeowners 
  • “Your performance has not warranted a pay rise” – well, this one speaks for itself.  And, I would be asking for evidence immediately to back this comment up. Can you go through your KPIs/goals together?  
  • “We need to pay everyone fairly” –  meaning, you need to be paid the same amount as your colleagues at the same level, as opposed to a “case by case” salary 
  • “We have a salary freeze” – this one is very common, and is easy to reply to.  You can simply ask to put a three-month review in place to revisit the conversation.

If you are rejected for a pay rise, take a deep breath and dig deeper. 


Can you think of any obstacles that could have contributed to your pay rise being rejected? Did you meet your KPI’s? Have you received any negative reviews/feedback during the year that could have contributed to this? Are you listening to your manager and taking constructive feedback? What could you be doing more of?

Propose Alternatives 

Can this be reviewed again in three months? What about shares, a change in title or a bonus instead? 

Build Your Case 

When you are building your case for a pay increase in three months, agree to KOI’s/goals for you to reach with your Manager. And, a realistic timeframe. Set out goals for the new year and use them as a benchmark.


Ask if you can meet every week for a 1:1 for a quick chat. That way, anything you’re not on top of will be addressed quickly and allow you to shift your focus.  Then, come back & bring tangible evidence of what you have built for the business. Print it out and show them!

Still being refused? It could be time for you to move on and find a job with an employer that values you.

If you feel you must stay at your job for a longer period before switching, read our blog about the changing culture around switching jobs.


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