Promotion with No Pay Increase Due to Wage Freeze?

A technically competent engineer asked if I had seen his promotion announcement to a supervisor on LinkedIn. I had not seen his announcement and congratulated him. He joined the company about eighteen months ago.

In follow-up, I inquired about his pay increase for the promotion. He did not receive a promotional increase because of the company’s ongoing wage freeze – the company told him he would receive an increase later.

He told me he’s been doing the job for a while – there was a need and he stepped up. The company wanted to recognize him so he doesn’t leave and he figures that is why they gave him the promotion.

Now I am going to be blunt with you, just as I was with him. No company should promote an employee and then hold back an increase because of a wage freeze.

Here are the facts:

  • When companies hire positions externally, there is no discussion about a wage freeze – candidates are offered the prevailing rate as a new hire. There is no waiting game.
  • Promotions deserve all the perks and headaches that go along with it – including pay increases.
  • Delayed promotion pay increases become watered down – they are included in yearly increases or the amount is less than would have been offered initially.
  • Sometimes companies forget to compensate you.

Regarding wage increases – it is reasonable to apply wage freezes to yearly salary increases or merits, however, that same approach is not appropriate for promotions.

While compensation is not the main reason that an employee will leave an employer, there are two reasons employees do leave their employers:

  • A misfit with the company culture
  • A poor relationship with their manager

Let’s look at the situation or apply this to your own situation.

How do company or manager’s values impact your view of your workplace?  Do their values shape the culture and work environment?

Why should a company or manager treat outside candidates better than their current employees? Do these actions promote fairness, trust and integrity? How does your company or manager demonstrate these values?

If you have another opinion, let’s hear it.

About Lynn Dessert (426 Posts)

Lynn Dessert is an ICF trained certified NLP Coach specializing in Executive, Career and Life coaching based in Rochester, N.Y. She works with individuals and organizations to maximize personal effectiveness skills—a cornerstone to career advancement. Lynn is the author of What To Do After Being Fired and The Secerts to Successful Job On-Boarding. Start your discovery process by contacting her at 585.249.5149 today.


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