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I'm in the healthcare industry. I've worked for my company for over 30 years and I've been in my current position for over 20 years. I feel I possess a wealth of knowledge and I'm the only one in a company of over 7000 employees who can do all the things I do day-to-day. I have received excellent job performance reviews every year. I recently got a raise that put my salary at the maximum in the range for my pay grade.

I have 7 more years until my "planned" retirement. If my cap is not increased or I'm not bumped up to higher pay grade, future raises will be paid out in a lump sum but I could potentially miss out on quite a lot of money over the 7 years- not just in salary but also in how my pension is calculated, how SS is calculated, and 401k/IRA contributions (personal and corporate match). Also my salary will lose purchasing power from year to year due to inflation- we rarely get cost of living increases.

I feel that I'm compensated well but being capped I think is a problem. Looking at Glassdoor.com the high end of the market range for my position is 15% higher than my current pay grade cap. I could have taken my knowledge to the consulting world years ago and made much more than I'm making today but I didn't because I really enjoy my job and I like working for this company. I realize in the non-profit world, margins are small and the pandemic has put new strains on revenue and expenses.

But are my expectations unrealistic that my salary should not be capped? That I should receive the full benefit of yearly salary increases? If I'm the excellent employee my bosses have said I am, do I not deserve it?

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    If some random people on the Internet tell you that you do deserve it, how does that help you? Or stepping back, what's your goal here? Oct 26 '21 at 15:12
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    The financial situation and compensation structure of the company is also a factor. If there is a systematic compensation gap, fixing it would cost a lot more than just your salary increase. If they are paying hefty bonuses to the board, that's a different situation than if they are struggling to pay inevitable operating expenses.
    – tripleee
    Oct 26 '21 at 15:16
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    "that put my salary at the maximum in the range for my pay grade" — Is there a possibility for promotion, to move into the next pay grade, or have you literally reached the top of the ladder? Oct 27 '21 at 12:36
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I feel your pain.

You mention you really like your job, and that you work for a non-profit.

I work in a field that helps the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Long ago I made the decision that I would forego a large income in order to use my talents to help those in need. I have made a fair wage, but I know I earn about 40% less than those with my skills who work in higher-paying industries.

You have to decide what is important to you. Only a very few manage to make a fortune doing what they love. Most of us have to find the balance between income potential and work enjoyment/validation.

No one can make that decision for you, but it is a decision that needs to be made.

And, to quote a very appropriate line, "Deserves got nothin' to do with it." Your employer has a value that has been placed on your role, not on you. What you "deserve" is not part of the equation. The value your role provides is what matters.

You are in a capped job. You can mention that you believe the cap should be adjusted, but if your desire or need for income is beyond that, you will have to seek other opportunities.

There is nothing wrong with "growing out" of a job. It is a normal event in professional settings. If there is no opportunity for advancement, you must either content yourself with your current situation, or seek another opportunity.

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But are my expectations unrealistic that my salary should not be capped?

Unfortunately, virtually all decent sized companies have formal salary ranges with caps. It's unrealistic in your context to expect that your particular salary would be completely uncapped.

That I should receive the full benefit of yearly salary increases? If I'm the excellent employee my bosses have said I am, do I not deserve it?

It's not really a matter of "deserve" here. It's a matter of what HR has calculated for the pay grade you happen to be in.

Typically, the salary ranges for pay grades are adjusted when market conditions and inflation dictate. For some, these ranges are reviewed annually.

Once you have maxed out your pay grade, the thing to do is to get moved up a grade or two. Discuss that possibility with your manager. Perhaps you can get a new title, or a promotion that would give you a new, higher, pay grade.

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