I work as a software developer in the UK and recent had my salary review meeting with my team lead, during which I was also told about my bonus.

While I am happy to have received 100% of the bonus set out a year earlier, my salary increase was only 2%. This is below inflation, which currently sits at 2.7%. My potential maximum bonus for next year was also left unchanged.

I have told my team lead that I found this quite disappointing. They went to the development manager and came back to me saying that 2% was an across the board increase. All this was communicated verbally.

I have been working for the company for the past three years. In 2017, the IT department delivered a huge amount of work, hitting one particular deadline that looked almost impossible, and the company closed the year with record sales and profit figures. This wasn't without issues and we lost a few good permanent developers as a result. I was part of many key projects and teams I've been on always delivered on time. The amount and quality of my contributions, productivity, and value to the company is, I would think, steadily increasing, and while I'm not a star developer, I am respected among my colleagues with some seniors having been pushing me to go for a senior position for a while. I have been in talks with my team lead about this promotion. They want to make it happen, telling me that as far as they were concerned, I am at the senior level. This promotion is officially in the pipeline and is set to happen in the next few months, hopefully.

Given all this, the reasoning for the 2% increase that I had initially accepted now makes me feel undervalued. I want to bring this to the attention of an appropriate superior.

Would that be acceptable and more importantly, who do I address this to? Should I go one up and contact our IT manager, or should I contact my team lead and development manager because my previous correspondence with them wasn't "on paper"? Would it be seen as asking for something when they feel the matter is closed? Would I be risking the withdrawal or delay of the promotion? Is it possible they are thinking of delaying an increase until I am made senior, which is of course not guaranteed? Should I wait for the promotion and ask for a higher raise at that point?

The company has some very ambitious goals for the next three years, and I'd like to be a part of it as long as I feel I'm fairly compensated. In this case it would mean a higher than inflation rate increase.

  • 2
    For what it's worth, in the last 10 years I haven't seen an annual salary increase exceed (or even meet) CPI - and that's over multiple companies in growth sectors. If you are really determined on increasing your pay, your annual increase is probably not the best mechanism on which to focus your attention. – DanK Apr 2 '18 at 18:54
  • 8
    @DanK Agreed. Year over year, a company will give you a 2-3% salary increase. Meanwhile, changing companies can get you a 25% salary increase. And people wonder why the younger generations are 'job hoppers'. – dfundako Apr 2 '18 at 18:57
  • One point, by "bonus" do you mean finance industry -like bonus? (ie, 100-300% of your "salary") Or do you mean something silly like a free laptop or two? – Fattie Apr 2 '18 at 23:00
  • In the UK, for these kind of roles/level, it tends to be around a 10% of the yearly salary. – carrdelling Apr 2 '18 at 23:54
  • Possible duplicate of How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid? – gnat Apr 3 '18 at 7:14

If you've already accepted the 2% raise then it's going to be very difficult to re-open negotiations at this point. It's not impossible if you've got some substantial political capital in the business and/or you'd be difficult to replace but I can virtually guarantee that asking for money now won't go down well.

If you're prepared to play the "pay me more or I'll leave" card then you have that option but as ever it's not a good idea unless you have something else to go to and are genuinely prepared to follow through.

Edit to add: You could have a conversation with your boss about how you are unhappy with the raise and use it to lay some ground work for a higher increase next year - if you are prepared to wait that long that is. This could actually have a good chance of success since you'd be able to get it into the minds of the company even before they start planning the budget for next year.


If you’re expecting a promotion in the next few months, I would hope/assume that would come with a raise anyway.

If it does, negotiate then. If it doesn’t, walk away.


Regarding your current "2%" company, leave today.

Three years is probably too long to stay in the one place.

You could have had two new contracts or jobs (each one with MUCH more money than the last).

You're close to staying there so long that, when you eventually leave, unfortunately the next companies will know that you are "soft on money". They will offer you 5% etc. increases to come work for them.

You could stay where you are while you find a new job, but I'd encourage you to just leave - be aggressive. The next company will like your positive, confident, aggressive attitude, and you'll do well. Enjoy!

One thing, if you DO want to stay there and ask for more money. You have asked "who to speak to" (manager, HR, whatever).

The answer is easy - everyone. Couldn't be easier.

Go straight in tomorrow and immediately go to your Manager, colleagues, HR, senior management - whoever you pass first walking in...

"Hey guys, major news. Unfortunately I've realized my salary is drastically, drastically too low. Sorry for the sudden news! I'd need [ add 75% to your current salary ] to stay with the company. I guess you probably won't want that, so thanks for the good times. Could we waive the notice period, it's awkward all round?"

You'll have a new job in a few days. It will take them 6-12 months and two or three goes to replace you, due to the shortage.

  • The vast majority of this answer is rubbish but I have to admit that "so thanks for the good times. Could we waive the notice period, it's awkward all round?" amused me.. did you picture the OP in a stetson as he did so? perhaps giving the poor unfortunate recipient of this weird diatribe the finger-and-thumb pistol gesture at the end? – motosubatsu Apr 20 '18 at 12:21
  • Hi @motosubatsu - it means nothing to me (it's not my site) but you're already on notice for trolling around after one user, downvoting their posts. – Fattie Apr 20 '18 at 13:21
  • intriguingly (I assume you're new to SO) you also can't troll around after one user >up< voting their posts! bizarre right? – Fattie Apr 20 '18 at 13:22

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