I've been in my current role in a small business in the UK for over 10 years.

It was a startup, for which I worked the first few months for no wage, building up to the point where I was receiving the same salary as a previous role.

Approx 8 years ago I received my last pay rise of 5.4%, during this time my divdends have fluctuated, but over the last 4 years have been for our size of business, not bad. The biggest payouts have not been life changing amounts of money, maybe a couple of nice holidays and a bit of tech etc. My percentage holding in the company is very small.

For a while I've been thinking am underpaid even with dividends, three quarters of the non board level staff ultimately report to me. It's now at the point where I need my best payout of dividends to meet what my pay would have been now with just inflationary increments. I've also lost a fair whack into my pension because of this, which is one of my major concerns.

The only thing is I have a huge degree of flexibility, which due to some issues in my personal life I have needed, but this has never interfered with my work. These issues should lessen over the next few years also.

I can't work out how to position asking for the rise, I know I'll be told that I have to work harder to make the dividends greater, but this isn't something I can massively influence. I know if I bring pension up I'll be told that I could put my dividends into my pension etc.

I have a good amount of knowledge worth to the company, I also have a skillset that isn't elsewhere within the company. I have kept myself up to date with training and am currently upgrading my certifications.

I think am also floundering as I have not received any feedback on my performance for approx 9 years. So am not sure if it is felt I do a good job or not!

Many thanks.

  • What is company policy regarding annual wage increases for staff? Surely the policy should also apply to you.
    – JustSaying
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 19:49
  • Do you report to anyone?
    – Layman
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 2:04
  • Generally, everyone receives an inflationary rise based on RPI. I report directly to the MD.
    – icklewolf
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 7:57

1 Answer 1


8 years without a pay rise is pretty insane. Having some dividend payouts is no excuse either - that's not a stable income source. The length of time should be reason enough - at most other companies you could have seen a pay rise 10 times in that timeframe, plus a decent pension. I'd suggest asking for a significant raise based off that fact alone.

Something like the following would probably suffice:

Hi Matt, I'd like to have a serious discussion about my pay at some point. I haven't seen a raise in 8 years, which is a heck of a long time. Can we sort that out?

Gauge his reaction at that point. Either he'll come back with excuses (in which case start to seriously look elsewhere) or he'll want to keep you happy, and you can engage in a productive discussion as to your worth to the company.

  • 1
    Well I went for it, and was told we'll be having appraisals in a couple of weeks time, we can talk about it there. The only thing is we'd just dicussed everyone else in teh company and they didn't have to have an appraisal to get theirs. Think that speaks volumes!
    – icklewolf
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 16:25
  • @icklewolf I'd certainly start looking around in the meantime. Gauge what's out there, and that may give you an idea of how much you want to ask for.
    – berry120
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 20:02

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