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I currently work for a large-ish manufacturing company that has a variety of pay grade levels. I've put some serious time and effort into my work over the past 4 years and I've managed to make a significant enough impact that they moved me into a new branch of the company to start an in-house software development branch dedicated to serving our international interests. This has implied a ton of traveling and working at night due to time zone differences. While this is a great opportunity and sounds impressive to my friends/family, I'm still working at the lowest possible pay grade level.

I assumed with all the additional job responsibilities that I'd also receive some kind of promotion. Is this common? Do I need to speak up in order to get a promotion? Do I even deserve one? Should I just wait it out? I'm lost...

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migrated from Mar 28 '11 at 13:46

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closed as off topic by Justin Cave, Thomas Owens Mar 7 '12 at 16:04

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you should really speak up user680261. – EmreVeriyaz Mar 28 '11 at 13:43
There's a point here that's off-topic because it applies to so many other fields: be prepared to negotiate your own salary and possibly promotions. Do not rely on anybody else to take care of it for you. – David Thornley Mar 28 '11 at 14:00
I think the crux of the problem is that I HAVE been receiving annual raises of 3-5% after each performance review, just no "promotion" or title change. Should I be expecting something more like 10%? Or is this completely unrealistic? – user21433 Mar 28 '11 at 14:14
By any chance you work for Banco Santander? – Aliostad Mar 28 '11 at 14:40
@user21433 Many companies think that employees need only salary increase, but a job title, promotion, also means been able to take decisions that could affect your job – umlcat Mar 28 '11 at 18:36

You should speak up. If you don't no one will do it for you.

It can be a topic in your performance reviews - assuming you have them.

If you don't have performance reviews - or your next one is a long time in the future - request a meeting with your line manager to discuss this.

The most diplomatic thing to do might be to just discuss what you need to do to earn a pay rise by moving up the pay grades. Then use your previous performance reviews to show that you've (hopefully) already met these targets. If you don't get satisfaction from your manager, go to his manager.

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I do have annual performance reviews and they have always been glowing. Highest marks possible. Typically includes remarks like "exceeds expectations." I guess I need to be more assertive? – user21433 Mar 28 '11 at 13:57
@user21433 - yes, be more assertive. It's great to have your work praised - but you need to get a handle with your bosses on what it means to move upward and why you haven't. It may well be that if your company's main product is not software, that they haven't figured out what to do with you yet and may have to update how they classify jobs. – bethlakshmi Mar 28 '11 at 15:30
Does 'exceeds expectations' yield a pay increase? It does in all the jobs I've worked in. Ask your manager directly when you're due for a pay review. It should be within 12 months, ideally within 6. – JBRWilkinson Mar 28 '11 at 17:59

International travel and working at all hours of the day do not deserve entry-level pay. I don't think being direct about this would cause any harm - just ask how your pay and benefits will scale with the new duties.

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With the increase in hours, and responsibility I would expect quite a chunky pay rise however... You won't get what you don't ask for.

Put together a list of reasons why you feel you deserve a raise and approach whoever is responsible for this, it could be HR, or your manager, depending on the company chain of command.

You also need to decide what to do if they say no, will you back down and accept your current pay, or will you look for other work.

If you choose to look for other work then you face the choice of if you let the company know that you are looking for other work due to the disparity of your pay in comparison to your responsibilities, or you can tell them why you are leaving once you've found more work.

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I'm tempted to -1, but most of this is ok. Don't threaten to quit period. If the company is unwilling to increase the OP's pay he should kindly smile and empathize with whatever their reasoning turns out to be. Then, find a new job. Tell them with a two week notice. If the company wants him bad enough they will counter the offer, if not the OP has a new job. OP wins no matter what. – P.Brian.Mackey Mar 28 '11 at 13:59
"You won't get what you don't ask for." +1 – Alison Mar 28 '11 at 13:59
@P.Brian.Mackey My wording could be improved, "threaten" is more aggressive than I meant. I've updated my wording to be more clear. Or will once I write this comment. – Kevin D Mar 28 '11 at 14:06
P.Brian.Mackey is spot on! One should never threaten to quit one's job in order to get one's manager's attention. However, one thing that I have always made clear to my manager is that I do not accept counter offers. If one has to go through the hassle of finding another job in order to get a raise, one is working for the wrong organization. – bit-twiddler Mar 28 '11 at 14:49
@P.Brian.Mackey - Never ever take a counter-offer from your current company. You'll be turning down a potentially long-term job, and your current company will only keep you around just long enough to replace you. If you love everything about your company except the pay, leave and try to come back in a few years. – Cercerilla Mar 28 '11 at 16:26

If you feel you deserve a raise, then bring up the subject. No one will bring it up for you. This might not be as easy as you think though. You need to be prepared when you go into a such a meeting.

Make sure you have prepared your reasoning. Some things to consider:

  • What level are you currently working at? Look at the level definitions for your company and find out where you are, use that to help your case.
  • What specific tasks are you doing that are above your current level?
  • What work are you doing that benefits the company?
  • Is there any specific task/project you worked on that went very well?

Even if you go in with a good argument, you might not get the answer you want.

I remember one salary review I had, after presenting my case I was asked 'Is that all?' It really made me angry, but I tried another approach by asking "What am I not currently doing to get a raise?" It is easy to shoot down other people's reasons, but harder to come up with reasons why not to.

One thing I would suggest is to go in with a number that will make you happy. Make sure to keep that in mind while negotiating.

If your company sees your value, you should be able to get a raise. But you might have to play some hard ball to get it.

Good luck :)

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I do not think a developer can stay in entry level for more than two years. You should have spoken from two years ago. I have seen companies and managers who do not show appreciation by themselves like your case. The best way to deal with such environment is to get a better offer. With better position and salary you will negotiate standing on a solid ground and you cannot get less what you have been offered. Actually you should get more if you are such a key person to your team.

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It is not uncommon for companies to not give a promotion to a higher level until after the employee is already performing many/most of the duties for that higher level.

Also, as another poster said, by the time you reach 2 years at a company for a new grad, you should have received some sort of promotion. The only difference between a level 1 and level 2 is that at level 2 they expect you can do the job where a level 1, everyone knows you're a newbie and don't expect much out of you. Of course that probably has large variations by company.

Also, if you want a promotion and you didn't get one, you need to ask the basic question: What do I need to do that I'm not doing now in order to get promoted? That answer will be different for just about every manager. Each manager places more importance on certain skills than other skills and that level of importance is based on each manager's personal biases. One manager might expect design skills where another looks at team-member opinions and another looks at customer exposure etc...In my experience, very few prioritize coding ability. If you want to advance you need to find out what is important to your manager, make sure you get assigned to tasks that let you perform those activities, invite your boss to meetings where you get to show off your work in those important areas and do an awesome job in those specific areas.

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How does your company define each level? If it is just based on years of experience, you have little standing. Maybe you need to find out what you need to do to get a promotion?

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There are two issues here: title and compensation. I think you definitely need to talk to someone about both.

Your title should reflect what you are doing now and the level of responsibility that you have. What title do your peers have? You should be asking for something similar.

In terms of compensation, you deserve to be paid what you are worth. I would take a look at your responsibilities and skills and try to get some objective salary information (e.g. respected online resources). This will be good evidence for you to present. Try to find out how that information fits in with your organization's salary structure (e.g. pay bands) as a sanity check.

I'm assuming that since you have been at your current company for 4 years with glowing reviews and a nice elevation of responsibilities that you have impressed some people there. Hopefully you have a mentor or mentors or there are some other people that you have worked with (and impressed) that may have been promoted. I would talk to those people (assuming you trust them!) and get their take on it. They know the company and culture better than we do and can hopefully give you some good advice on how to proceed. You might be able to enlist them to help out on your behalf. If you don't have a person like that at this company, you should try to find one.

If all goes well you can get an appropriate title with fair remuneration. Be aware, though, that frequently the only way to get a big raise is to move jobs (or use an offer as leverage).

Good luck!

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