I received my Annual Review and got a less hike than expected. To set the background let me mention that I was hired from campus and many other such peers joined and now there is some considerable gap in the pay scale.

Before you point out that it is bound to happen, let me state -

  • for the same rating some of my peers get more % hike than what I get
  • hike given during promotion to some of my peers is 3 times of what I got.

So seeing all this happen for a while I was a bit angry when my boss told me that your rating is so because we had to adjust for the damn Bell Curve. I didn't mention "the hike" explicitly though. I felt like asking him

Why does only R11G always has to adjust for the Bell Curve? Why does only R11G gets x% hike and some others get 3 times of it during the promotion? Why does only R11G gets y% hike and some others get 1.5y% hike for the same rating?

I didn't ask him as I was a bit furious. Not sure if I made a mistake by not saying it then. But I plan to meet up with him soon and voice my concerns.

I want to know if confronting him directly like above is good? Ofcourse I am not going to take names. Is referring to myself in the 3rd person okay? :-) Any other better impactful way?

Edit - Well I got to know via some of the co-workers. Also, correct me if I am wrong - I don't think its the performance issue here. Same promotion, same performance rating but different % hike. And yes its NONE of my business but this backdoor information lets me know that something is wrong.

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    To be honest, what everyone else earns and gets in bonuses or promotion is none of your business and your boss is under no obligation to give you the same, even with similar experience and background. Nonetheless, I can understand your frustration. Just wanted to give you a heads-up, that your boss probably won't feel like your entitled to anything like you are. – Ivo Coumans Feb 12 '15 at 14:35
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    blankip feels that this question is confusing. Why does blankip feel that everything written in 3rd person is confusing? blankip has a headache and needs an advil. – blankip Feb 12 '15 at 16:40
  • "increase", "pay rise" not "hike" that sounds very unprofessional – Pepone Feb 12 '15 at 20:17
  • Why does R11G not bother with proper English and consistent terms? You want to be more impactful? Then be more processional. – paparazzo Feb 12 '15 at 21:28

I agree with Lawrence's answer, but wanted to add a few things. Referring to yourself in the third person is odd, and I'm not sure why you would do that. To reiterate, the pay hike others have received is not relevant in any way to you, and this is confirmed in pretty much every similar question. If you think you deserve one, you should be prepared sty your review with a figure in mind and standard negotiation techniques. Back yourself up with industry figures if necessary and be prepared to argue your worth. If you think you're worth more than they're willing to offer, find another job that will give you this. And stop trying to find out / worrying about what other people are getting.

Edit, in response to your edit: it doesn't mean anything is wrong. It means your colleagues have negotiated better than you, that's it. Unless you have evidence (e.g. an email from your boss saying "R11G didn't get a raise because I don't like his face", or something equally prejudiced/arbitrary), coworkers having different salaries isn't a problem. They might have started with more experience, different circumstances, or might have subsequently achieved and suffered things you don't know about. Their pay has nothing to do with you. Negotiate with your boss, about you and you only, or let it go.


I want to know if confronting him directly like above is good? Ofcourse I am not going to take names. Is referring to myself in the 3rd person okay? :-) Any other better impactful way?

If your intent is to find out the "why" behind your raise, the only way you'll ever know is to ask your boss. Folks here can only speculate. (And just saying "Bell Curve" tells you nothing at all).

Be careful about the "confronting" part though, particularly when you are "furious". You don't want to say things you'll regret later.

There are many, many possible reasons why your raise was less than you would expect (you expected too much, your company doesn't value your position as much, you aren't as good as you think, your department isn't valued, etc).

And there are many reasons why your raise could be less that others - even others with a similar "rating" (your department receives less raise money than others, your boss is stingier than others, etc).

For example, in my company each department is given a specific overall amount to use for raises. As the head of that department, I have to dish out all the raises, and still fit them within that budget.

My team happens to be very good. I thought they all deserved really good raises. However, the overall total for my department still needs to come out "average", not "really good". Thus, if I want to give someone 1.5x, I need to give others less.

Now other, bigger, teams have more wiggle room, or perhaps fewer really good performers. Someone with a rating of A on that team could get 3x, while someone on my team could only get 1.5x.

I'm not saying it's fair, or that this is what happens at your company - but this is what I have to deal with in mine.

So, once you calm down a bit, you may wish to talk with your boss in order to gain some understanding. Your boss may or may not be permitted to share the details with you, and even if he does, you may not like the answer. Just try to do it calmly - for your own good.

And then you can ask "What do I need to change in order to get a better raise going forward?"

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    If you manage to have the tone of your questions be an curious inquiry instead of an indignant 'why not me' you'll have the best results ;-) – user8036 Feb 12 '15 at 15:18
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    And what you want to do is ask what you need to change in order to get a higher raise. – HLGEM Feb 12 '15 at 15:56
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    The last sentence sums it up: ask your manager what he thinks you should do to get the raise. Write it down. Look at it every month. Apply yourself, do it. Then every 4 months, show your manager what he said you'd have to do, and that you've done it and are doing it. He'll remember in 11 months when he's deciding for your next raise. – Konerak Feb 13 '15 at 8:14

There are lots of reasons why two people with the same rating get different raises. In the first place there are shades of performance. I may only have 3 acceptable levels to rate someone but there might actually be someone who is barely at that level and someone else who is almost to the next level. Two very differnt levels of performance, the same rating. Or they may perform roughly the same but one has a great attitude and I can count him on no matter what and the other is a pain to work with - he is a prima donna who only wants to do what he wants to do, he complains alot and doesn't do things that I need done likek timesheets without pushing. Honestly if you had to choose between those two peple which one would you reward?

And when people tell you what raise they got, a lot of people lie. So you can't believe that Joe got a 10% raise when you got a 2% one.

Another thing that can affect the raise is the importance of teh spcific things you worked on. A developer who was part of a team that put out a prject that made millions for a copmany is likely to be rewarded better than someone who was doing something not as important to the company. In this case the person on the important project might even have a lower rating than the person who was on the less important project and still get a bigger raise because his work generated revenue.

What happens in most places is that raise money is limited and so you either get an amount for your group to split yourself or you have to go into a big meeting with all the managers and work out who is going to get what. When this happens the people the other managers know will be in a better position to get higher raises and within your group it is unlikely that more than one person will get the highest possible raise even when people have the same rating. I have seen instances where people got the same rating and one got no raise while another got 10%.

Further, you can't expect your boss to remember everything you did and the most recent stuff is freshest in his and everyone else's memory. If you don't justify your value to him in your self appraisal and others do, then you are behind the curve in getting a raise for the start. And during the year, you should be passing on any positive feedback that you get from others to your boss, so you do that?

But how it happens isn't as important as to how to fix it. First, you need to work on your personal reputation within your company. Clearly what you are doing right now is not good enough to get the raise you want.

This doesn't mean just being technically proficient, it means meeting deadlines, not causing problems, and being visible in the organization. For instance when those managers meet, if the only thing your boss's boss knows about you is that your name has come up often as someone who has to be pushed to fill out his timesheet, then he is going to have a negative impression of you no matter what the quality of your work.

And this works even with your boss. If I have three good performers and only enough money to reward 1 well, I have to decide which is the person I want to keep the most. The difference at this point is probably not technical skills but attitude.

If other managers have heard about Joe's work and Harry's work and never even heard your name, who do you think your boss is going to have an easier time selling a raise for?

And who your boss is counts too and what his reputation is among the managers. A boss who is not respected by other managers can't get the best raises for his people. Annual raises are a negotiation at the corporate level.


Firstly, how are you receiving the information that others are getting a higher raise from you? Is it your coworkers talking or is your manager telling you? Because if it is the latter, he is a terrible manager and you shouldn't work for such an individual. That type of stuff destroys teams.

As to the matter you are referring to, if you received the information from your coworkers, I would absolutely not mention that you know how much more of a raise everyone else got, and that you deserve a raise because of this. "Others on the team are making more money than me" is never a reason for a boss to give you a raise. Maybe they are better negotiators, or maybe the brutal truth is they are better performers than you.

There really isn't much you can do here. Being frustrated with your manager/pay will lead him to believe you will begin looking for another job, and you might pay for that in ways you don't want to. If you want to look for another job, by all means do so, but don't give your manager any reason to suspect this.

I also don't think you completely understand how your company gives promotions/merit increases. Bell curves try to average everyone's pay, so the top performers get less raises and low performers sometimes get higher (than they think they deserve). This could also be the case.

  • Well its the coworkers and I think better performer thing is not the difference -as I said same performance rating and same promotion. – R11G Feb 12 '15 at 14:40
  • So if I am not to give him a reason to suspect that I am looking else where should I be even mentioning this with him ? – R11G Feb 12 '15 at 15:07
  • @R11G, it is whther he thinks they performed better not what you think. – HLGEM Feb 12 '15 at 20:55

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