A month ago we received annual bonuses and raises. I received a pretty high bonus given my performance during the year, and especially told that I got more than most because of my good impact. However I got virtually no raise (cost of living adjustment only).

I am pretty confident that my performance this year was very good and higher than last year, and I was also told so, so I am not sure how to interpret the situation. I am not happy without a raise, not much for the money itself but because I feel it's not a full recognition of my work and amount of responsibilities.

How shall I react and interpret this? I don't feel I can ask for a raise since I haven't said anything in the last month and I actually got a very good bonus, but I can't help keep thinking about this... Am I overthinking this? I think I might be biased by the fact that in my previous company I used to get no bonuses, but only raises and that in this company in the last 5 years I always got medium bonuses and raises (although 2/4 came along with a promotion) so this is a foreign situation.

  • I didn't get an pay comment on the raise (2.5%). I am not sure how much I was expecting, but I was expecting more than simple life cost adjustments since I've done more than last year and got more responsibilities. In a sense I wanted some recognition – TipRoger Aug 9 '17 at 23:37
  • What's your location? In Taiwan, many companies give high bonus and low pay raise. Typical yearly bonus is 2 month salary. Some companies give 6 month salary or even 1 year salary as bonus. However, they don't pay high salary. Average monthly salary for engineer working for one of the iPhone (hardware) manufacturing company is less than USD$3K. – scaaahu Aug 10 '17 at 6:24
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    Why haven't you asked your manager? For all we know your company didn't award raises to anyone and this bonus was a way for your manager to still reward you financially in the only way that he could. Have you discussed it with him at all? – Lilienthal Aug 10 '17 at 8:33
  • I might also interpret this as they have the money for large bonuses but don't want to pay that extra every year by making it a raise. This is one reason why bonus schemes are not actually in your best interests. – HLGEM Aug 10 '17 at 13:53

In big companies the bonuses and raises are a subject of different money pools. They would depend on different KPIs, therefore a difference can occur.

Another thing is that raises can be influenced more on team/organization performance, whereas bonuses could be directly related to personal impact. This seems to be the case for you.

The only way to know how your company does calculations is to talk to your manager. Keep in mind he/she can choose not to disclose such information to you, based on a policy. However there should be no problem asking about it.

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    And dependant on company pensions scheme its almost certain bonus's don't count as pensionable pay and are also not contractual. – Neuromancer Jan 6 '18 at 19:16

I am answering under the assumption that you company does some sort of yearly performance and compensation talks with you, during which you got offered your raise and bonus. If not, you should start making a appointment with your boss to discuss such things. Part of that talk should always be that you discuss your future goals in performance, responsibility and compensation.

Before going into such a talk, you should get to a clear understanding of your market worth. Be cautions of any salary statistics. Best method is to apply at least to two jobs, then you really know what your opportunities would be. Also factor in that most jobs aren´t as rosy as it looks when you apply, so wage is not everything.

If you are in the talk, clearly state your expectations and base it on your market worth. See if you can get to a mutual understanding of what you offer and what should be paid for it. Don´t let the discussion be about anything else (the company had a bad year, ...) Also state where you want to get to in the future, and what opportunity they see for you to develop to that state. This gives you a good understanding of your opportunities and also impulse on where to improve. Never let promises of a future raise be used as an excuse to underpay you now, though.

How shall I react and interpret this?

A raise of 2.5% for "I am not sure how much I was expecting" is actually a pretty good result! Take it, be happy, and start getting professional about selling your manpower!

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