5 Reasons You Didn’t Get a Raise

Most companies give annual bonuses or raises to their employees. When this happens, your manager (or your manager’s manager) has the ability to assign the amount of the raise. If you know that your company gives out raises on an annual basis, and there were no cuts across the board, how do you explain not getting a raise? It can certainly be a bummer to expect (or hope) for something that doesn’t come, especially financial compensation. The CGS Team is sharing 5 reasons why you didn’t get a raise (or the raise you wanted) this year, and how to change the outcome for next year.

According to Cynthia Shapiro, author of “Corporate Confidential: 50 Secrets Your Company Doesn’t Want You to Know—and What to Do About Them” whether you get a raise is not about skills, talent or the number of years on the job. “It’s about how management emotionally feel about you, and that is squarely within your power by your behavioral choices every day.”

#1: You Do the Minimum Required

You know exactly what it takes to do your job and that’s the extent of your effort. While this mentality may get you through the work day faster, it may not be doing much to help you career. Not offering to take on new tasks and projects, not volunteering to help cover a co-worker’s work load while on vacation, and failing to request more responsibility may show signs of complacency. Changing your attitude and mindset will give you a perfect explanation for why you deserve a raise, and will help build up your resume.

#2: You Vent on Social Media

Whether it’s annual compensation time or not, it’s never a good idea to vent about your job, your company, or your peers on social media. Even if you think your privacy settings are strict, you never know who is watching you vent and ready to spill the beans to someone else.  The unfortunate thing is you may be seen as a high-valued employee and one negative post can ruin that view of you. 

“You can’t be a team player and someone the company trusts and values at work, and then go get on Facebook and bash your employer,” said Cynthia Shapiro. “Today, everything is all connected, and you have to manage your image. You are always representing your company, and the higher you go, the more that’s the case.”

#3: You’re Not a Team Player

Not only does lending a hand to your colleagues speak highly to your character, it shows that you can work well with others and keep the end goal in mind. By failing to lend a hand to a peer who is swamped or offering a few words of encouragement for a peer who is new, you are showing that you don’t care about the team and doesn’t put you in the best light to upper management.

#4: You’re Negative

In the article How to Avoid Workplace Negativity we share how negative coworkers can drain your mood and your motivation at work, but what if you’re the negative one? We all have bad days, but your emotions at work should never make it known. Even if you hate your job, it’s important to leave those negative feelings behind when you walk in the building. 

You are there to make money and it’s likely a stepping stone until you move into the job you want. Regardless, always keep a positive outlook. A negative mind can drain you and your career in many ways. “Attitude weighs on everything, and salary is just one part of it,” said Shapiro. “It determines your job security, your relationship with the boss, whether you get the best assignments and whether you’re the first to get laid off.”

#5: You Need Hand-Holding

This is obviously a different story when you’re new to a team or job, but if you find yourself always asking for help from your managers or peers, you may be slowing them down. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help, and you should certainly seek it out when you need it. However, being too needy for other people’s guidance could make you seem like more of a burden than an asset. That’s never a good place to be.


The good thing about all of the reasons you didn’t get a raise is that you can change the outcome of each of them starting now! Make it a point to ask for more responsibility, help your peers when their struggling, and always keep a smile on your face. Check out some career-boosting articles like How to Stand Out in the Workplace and 4 Ways to Win Over Your Co-Workers for some more tips! Did you get a raise this year? What about years past? If you’ve experienced years with and without raises, what do you think the difference was? Share your experiences and comments below.

-The CGS Team



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