I just had my salary negotiation yesterday and my chief said my performance this year was great, I fit well with the team, they didn't expect that, etc... Yet I will not get any raise this year. I will eventually get one, but not this year as I freshly joined the company and I am still young.

Now, I feel that I kind of took a step back joining this company. A few years ago, I was a Team lead in another company with 20 buyers under me. I know that I would have earned some 50-60k if I had stayed there one more year, but because I had to change country for personal reasons, I left my position and company.

Last year I settled for this position as this job is next to my home town and family and as it is in the branch I wanted to work in.
Still I feel underpaid (42k)and feel I could easily find a better paying job somewhere else.

All of my colleagues are older and obviously the age is more important than the skills. I can definitely understand that they want to increase salary with company experience, yet I feel like if I had joined the company 10 years later and done the exact same thing (with same performance) I would have been paid more.

Should I tell my boss I feel underpaid and undervalued and that I was expecting a raise after my first year already when joining (even though I didn't expressly mention it). Or should I keep silent until I get another job offer to show them that they might lose me if they don't move?

The chief said they only have a certain amount to dispense for the salary increase each year. I am hoping that I can make them think about me more for the next salary increase batch, if I tell them I am highly unhappy with my current salary

I don't really want to leave but I don't want to wait for 5-10 years to get 50k as I newly have a family to carë for.

1)My chief is not the CEO, this is a 15k employees company. I believe my boss got told that he couldn't give me a raise as I freshly joined.

2)I just replaced an old guy who was said to perform super well, I am not far from his performance, and it would be quite hard to replace me due to the skills needed. I believe they took a long time to find me

3) The only colleague who could replace me, If I had to leave, will retire in some 3 years. As I wrote, we are not easy to replace.

  • 5
    No. Start looking. Yesterday. Your boss doesn't value you enough to pay you well, and has made that quite clear in your appraisal. If anything, you've been overperforming, and you should stop doing that right now. Your other option is to accept your situation and look for the positive points: with reduced salary comes reduced stress and responsibility, after all.
    – Aaron F
    Jul 9, 2019 at 8:33
  • A) You should have negotiated a higher wage when recruited. B) it was your choice to 'settle' for this amount. C) If you feel underpaid, and could easily get another job, then just do it.
    – Smock
    Jul 9, 2019 at 10:45
  • 2
    I feel somebody should say the following, the company had no problem replacing a senior talented employee who was willing to accept a pay cut, it’s important to understand everyone is replaceable. This isn’t to say you are not talented, but you replaced somebody who left the company, just keep that in mind.
    – Donald
    Jul 9, 2019 at 11:44
  • 1
    @Ramhound is correct. As someone once said "The graveyards are full of indispensible men". Jul 9, 2019 at 13:12
  • Please, when you get another job offer, think carefully before taking it to your chief and using it to ask for a pay increase. It may be seen as a hardball negotiating move. From what you've told us about your current employer, you may or may not want to win such a negotiation. Will you be better off simply saying "my last day will be xxxxx; thanks for opportunity to work with you." ? The moment you decide to take another job is the moment you stop caring about "being right" on this job.
    – O. Jones
    Jul 16, 2019 at 10:35

3 Answers 3


In my experience, once your current boss has made it clear that you won't be getting a raise any time soon, despite his praise for your excellent performance, the only/best way for you to get your raise is to find a better paying job elsewhere. Every year you wait for some vaguely promised raise to materialize "next year" is another year you work for less than you're actually worth.

Also, you cannot be any clearer in your message (that you feel undervalued) than by getting a better offer elsewhere and handing in your notice/resignation shortly after being denied a raise.

For me at least, merely telling my boss that I felt under-valued never resulted in more than yet another vague promise of future raises that would in the end never materialize.


What you need to keep in mind is that you made a decision to join the company with the current salary and current role. No longer being in charge of 20 employees and missing out on 60k is a personal thing that you should have dealt with before accepting the offer. It is not your new company's fault you accepted the conditions of employment.

If this is an annual review that takes place, it is not surprising they have a policy of no raises in the first year. You should formally ask for a non-annual salary review which will be a separate process. Annual salary review usually looks at performance. Non-annual salary review will look at prevailing employment conditions too. That's generally how these things work.

If you want to transition into a leadership role, and into more money, that is something you should certainly discuss with your chief. Having said that, your chief isn't likely to care about whatever assumptions you had regarding salary increases.

  • Your answer is helping to some extend, but I feel like you are not answering my question. The thing about my former position was just supposed to add a bit of weight & give some background. Jul 9, 2019 at 5:39
  • @QuestionMan Fair enough. But it's hard for me to gauge what information you think is worthwhile bringing to your chief's attention, and what information is just for us. I'll update my answer to be a bit more direct. Jul 9, 2019 at 5:57

Bit of a hard answer here: Don't feel you're underpaid: know you're underpaid.

If someone came up to me and said, "I feel I'm underpaid and I could probably get a better paying job elsewhere," I'm going to mentally think, 'Everyone thinks they're underpaid, and the fact you said "probably" means you don't actually know one way or another.' Because while there are lots of people that are underpaid, but there are also lots of people that merely think/feel they're underpaid.

Instead, you want to tell him why you're underpaid:

  • Because of extraordinary accomplishments X, Y, and Z that you've achieved in the last year.
  • The industry average for your position is $A, and you're earning $B less than that.
  • There are multiple companies offering a similar job to yours for $C more than you make.
  • And/Or/Etc.

Your goal is to convey to him that

  1. You're underpaid - this isn't a minor point. Just because you believe you're underpaid has no bearing. It's whether the company thinks you're underpaid that determines whether they'll give you your raise.
  2. It's likely that if the salary picture doesn't change, you're going to move elsewhere for a larger salary. It's not that you're threatening to do so, it's just that you could get an extra $A if you switch - and that's not something people generally turn down.

From there, it's pretty straight-forward. If they don't take concrete steps (not just words) in a relatively rapid pace, they simply don't feel you're underpaid and are inviting you to go elsewhere if you feel you can do better. If they do feel you're underpaid, they'll take steps to keep you within the organization.

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