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Pay Increase with Internal Promotion
Old 02-26-2015, 07:04 PM   #1
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Pay Increase with Internal Promotion

In your experiences of being promoted internally (i.e., not leaving your company but staying at the same company and getting promoted, whether in the same or different department), what has your overall pay increase been just on salary alone (and on bonus if applicable)?

Is a 20% raise on salary reasonable, or too high? I think it is reasonable and fair, especially since 3% of it is essentially COL increase.

I am learning/realizing that the salary you start out at a company is so important because it is the basis for which all of your raises will be based from.

If you accept a very low ball figure and salary to start out with, then the magnitude by which you are underpaid will be magnified overtime. For example if you are underpaid by 10% (arbitrary, I know..but based on "your research), and you are eligible for a raise/promotion and get a 20% raise/promotion, then you are still being underpaid 10%. Your employer has no incentive to give you a 30% raise because you were previously 10% underpaid.

Just curious what your experiences have been. With my new job (which I am liking, a lot, and have a ton of room for growth and think it is probable that I will be promoted just after about 1.5 years of being there), I tried to negotiate my salary up about 7% higher than the offer I accepted (didn't want to risk them retracting the offer or me coming off as too aggressive so I accepted the lower offer, but wish I would have been more firm in my counter).

I am young in my career, and most of my peers at my company are "industry veterans" and have 10+ years experience (vs my 3 years). I recently was able to learn how much some of them make by stumbling upon some files (accidentally, but I did begin to snoop...) - and in doing the math of my assumed career path with the firm, it seems unlikely that I'd be able to "catch up" to their compensation with promotions unless the raises were substantial (at least 20% or greater) with each raise. This doesn't offend me or make me mad a ton, because there is still opportunity for me to grow quickly (along with my income) for being so young, but it just shows how large the gap can be with pay amongst colleagues.
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Old 02-26-2015, 07:23 PM   #2
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I'm sure this is very company-dependent. I definitely never got such a huge raise with a promotion during my time at Megacorp. In fact, my company didn't even give raises with promotions - just moved you onto the next salary curve so that your next scheduled raise would be larger than if you'd stayed at the previous level.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:13 PM   #3
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I worked at a megacorp, and snooping through the shared files, I found a document. Im not sure if it was current or not, but it was definitely professional and looked like the real deal.


"Supervisors guidelines to making pay decisions"


There was a section on internal promotions. It stated that the guideline was to try to increase salary of a promoted employee by 6-10%. If situations warrant more, please see VP level nosebleed...blah blah blah.


I thought it was interesting, though cant really offer experiences as Ive never been promoted internally.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:58 PM   #4
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My first promotion was along the general guidelines of my mega corp, 10% raise and 5% extra bonus (which at that point doubled my bonus, 5%-->10%.

Changed job to new mega corp, negotiated hard and got ~20% raise. The last two annual raises have not been much as I am above the average pay for my SGL. promotion is likely this year, and I can expect 10% raise from what I understand.
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Old 02-26-2015, 09:59 PM   #5
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From what I have seen, 20% is a very unlikely amount for a single step promotion.
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Old 02-26-2015, 10:07 PM   #6
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In my experience, a promotion means maybe 2x the normal raise, so if raises average 3% for the general population, that means ~ 6% for a promotion. That can vary a bit from company to company, but unless you received a Master's degree in the last year on company time, then don't expect too much more.


BTW, You will never be underpaid 10%. Unless you are in a union where pay is written in a contract, everything is negotiable and either you accept it, or you don't. You end up getting paid what you agree to.


That being said, exceptions do occur. I did accept a job offer under market value once because I needed a job and they were the only one with any offers. When annual raises were handed out. I was told they were very happy with my work and thought I had "earned" a 20% raise; but it was reduced by the number of months employed during the last year, so I got 7/12ths of that 20%. This calculation is common practice in the first year of hire. I was happy with the ~12% raise and told them so. I was also happy with the company and expressed that as well. But I added that I didn't think that the practice was right. If I had proven I was worth 20% then I should get full 20% since I would be working the next 12 months at the "new" rate just like everyone else. Long story short, a few days later I was told my position pay grade was re-evaluated and that my new salary would be 23% higher. Not because I had complained of course, but because the position was reevaluated. RIGHHHHHHT.


If you are happy with the job and the pay then accept it. Learn as much as you can and become one of those "industry veterans" you speak of. If you are not happy, then try to make your case for more pay. If it falls on deaf ears and you cannot accept that, then accept that you at least tried and look elsewhere. Sad thing is, jumping ship is usually to only way to get a big raise.
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Old 02-26-2015, 10:35 PM   #7
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At my previous employer, I was making $70k. They promoted me to the next level with a posted range of $85k-$105k... and the best they could give me was $77k.

As soon as I hit the pension vesting deadline, I jumped ship and went somewhere else for $100k.
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Old 02-26-2015, 10:41 PM   #8
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From what I have seen, 20% is a very unlikely amount for a single step promotion.
I would qualify that by in todays Inflation environment. I think I recall 20% in 1981 or so. But then inflation was 11-13% etc.
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Old 02-26-2015, 11:41 PM   #9
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This depends a lot on individual company and job type, but in my own little MegaCorp promotions start to become very rare after one's first few years. In my world there are only 6 grades for engineering staff ranging from fresh out of school with a BS at grade 1 to the equivalent of a PhD in grades 4-6. In other words, once you hit grade 4 it can take a looong time to move up. Most folks eventually hit grade 5, but thereafter it takes an act of God (or good connections) to move higher.

Recognizing this most of the senior engineering staff have learned that one occasionally needed to at least go through the motions of leaving the company - get an offer from a competitor then go to management and threaten to quit. I did this once to move up from grade 5 to 6 and most of my colleagues have done so at one time or other. The risk, of course, is that if your management doesn't particularly like you then you have to be prepared to take your offer and jump ship. I never liked this aspect of our corporate culture, but it was the game we were all obliged to play.

As far as pay is concerned, each of the technical grades has a salary range that's published each year. While the range in each grade can be quite large (+- 15-20%) most folks seem to end up fairly close to the mean. In our case the mean salary for grade 6 was about 20% higher than that for grade 5 and that was indeed about the raise I got when I was promoted. Most other years, including when I've been very successful and those in which I've accomplished little of value, I've gotten 2-4%. This consistency illustrates both the benefits and drawbacks of working for the MegaMachine.
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Old 02-27-2015, 12:01 AM   #10
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This was a few decades ago.... I was paid less than others.... but got the promotion... now, the rules were that a manager could not make less than the highest paid employee... one of the guys was paid very well... I was looking forward to that raise...

But, they decided to move the guy to another manager... so my raise was pretty low.... just another way they can get you....
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Old 02-27-2015, 12:16 AM   #11
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One year I hit a salary cap and got no raise but the bonus was a decent percentage. So it is possible to catch up even if you start behind. I think my company did not have a policy of reducing raises as one got closer to the cap but this will vary.

The next year I was officially promoted but I don't remember my raise. Generally I got anywhere from 7 to 15% per year and didn't get anything "extra" for moving up. I suspect I was near the high end for raises but don't really know for sure.

This is just my experience and is probably atypical.


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Old 02-27-2015, 09:35 AM   #12
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6% is the standard promotion increase at my Megacorp. And can be less than that. Never more. That is separate and on top of the annual merit increase. I think your promotion increase percentages are not valid or typical in today's environment.


I do think your assumptions on the importance of starting salary are on the money. Starting salary guides everything from that point forward since % increases are how things are done. Don't accept a lowball thinking it will be made up for in the future. It likely will not. Again, there are exceptions. But they are exactly that, exceptions.


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Old 02-27-2015, 09:43 AM   #13
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A 20% raise for an internal promotion would be unusual in my experience. I think 5-10% is more typical, perhaps up to 15% in unusual circumstances.

My advice to someone in the first 10 years of their career is to focus first on getting the best experience that you can get in your chosen field and less on what you earn, as long as what you earn is not way low in relation to what peers with similar education and experience earn in the market. Then later in your career, you essential cash in that experience.
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:02 AM   #14
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I think it just depends on the company. We used to have ranges for job titles. If you didn't make as much as the range you got whatever the increase to bring you up to the new minimum. My last promotion was 1%. But I'd had some much larger in the early years. I had the pleasure of giving a guy his new title and salary, a 30% bump.

All that said it can work against you. Megacorps new Rifs have targeted some of the higher compensated employees. They figured they could hire 2 entry level people for the price of one SR. person.
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Old 02-27-2015, 10:34 AM   #15
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Every time I read a thread like this, I get very envious. Talk of 10%, 15% raises? Bonuses? That stuff is unheard of in police work. At my former dept, we got bi-annual step raises of 5% until we were maxed out which took about 17 yrs or so. So call it 2.5% annual raises. Well, that was until the recession hit and they froze all step raises. I went 6 years without a raise at the end of my career. They just unfroze the step raises last year. We also didnt get a cost of living raise from 2008-2012. We got 4% in 2013.

On the other hand, just today I got my first pension check. My pension starts at $55,500 and increases 4% of that amount every year which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
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Old 02-27-2015, 01:25 PM   #16
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As others have mentioned, one's salary is often determined by where it falls within a range for a specific job title.


I received 4 promotions in my 23-year career. The first two, in the mid-late 1980s, gave me raises of 16% and 10%. Regular raises in the late 1980s and into the early 1990s were in the 5%-7% range. My third promotion, in 1993, didn't carry with it an unusually large raise although as we moved into the mid-1990s the regular raises were on the decline (so a 7% raise with a promotion was actually pretty big).
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:13 PM   #17
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Every time I read a thread like this, I get very envious. Talk of 10%, 15% raises? Bonuses? That stuff is unheard of in police work. At my former dept, we got bi-annual step raises of 5% until we were maxed out which took about 17 yrs or so. So call it 2.5% annual raises. Well, that was until the recession hit and they froze all step raises. I went 6 years without a raise at the end of my career. They just unfroze the step raises last year. We also didnt get a cost of living raise from 2008-2012. We got 4% in 2013.

On the other hand, just today I got my first pension check. My pension starts at $55,500 and increases 4% of that amount every year which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.


One thing that you have to remember is some of the people here were working in the 70s and 80s.... inflation was high... a 6% raise did not keep up with inflation... today a 2% raise is better than that 6% back then...

My first job after graduation was working for one of the large accounting firm (there were 8 back then).... when it came time for a raise I thought I got a good one.... but we soon learned that the new staff that was just hired were making more than the one years were... same thing happened the next year... a good % raise, but the new hires were making more than the two years...
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Old 02-27-2015, 02:13 PM   #18
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Every time I read a thread like this, I get very envious. Talk of 10%, 15% raises? Bonuses? That stuff is unheard of in police work. At my former dept, we got bi-annual step raises of 5% until we were maxed out which took about 17 yrs or so. So call it 2.5% annual raises. Well, that was until the recession hit and they froze all step raises. I went 6 years without a raise at the end of my career. They just unfroze the step raises last year. We also didnt get a cost of living raise from 2008-2012. We got 4% in 2013.

On the other hand, just today I got my first pension check. My pension starts at $55,500 and increases 4% of that amount every year which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
The grass is always greener...

Even apart from the significant differences in pensions, the Megacorp workers who receive these raises and bonuses generally work a lot of overtime - either uncompensated or, at best, at straight time. No time and a half for the salaried/exempt folks. Our pensions also depend only on base salary and years worked - all those extra hours don't move the needle at all.

Even so I honestly think these differences can be a wash over time. I have long time friends who've spent their careers in the public sector. Now as we're all nearing retirement I have a greater liquid net worth, but they have much better pensions coming. Consider the equivalent annuity value of the pension and our NW's are very close (mine actually about 10-20% less than theirs). No complaints, I think all of us who can consider ERing have done OK.
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Old 02-27-2015, 06:47 PM   #19
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To put some of these high raises in perspective, it was less than a decade ago that some engineers in megacorps were taking pay freezes or even pay cuts. This was during the recession. It was preferable to layoffs. In my years, I have seen both extremes more than once. The only thing that is constant is change.
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Old 02-27-2015, 07:36 PM   #20
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I guess I'm just wondering how my trajectory will pan out. Working for a smaller firm, I have learned that many employees at my firm have "moved up the ranks" very quickly, so I feel that this is probable for me.

I discovered that individuals at basically the highest promotable level (without being management or executive management, meaning there are multiple of them), make about 85% more in salary than I do. Granted, most of them have around 10-15 years experience.

Plus, I learned they make an additional 15-20% in bonus than I do.

I guess I'm just curious if each raise would be enough to get me to their pay level if I were to get to their level in today's dollars. Given that it would be 3 promotions "away", I would have to attain about a 28% pay raise on each promotion on salary alone.

Sometimes I think I am overthinking things and should just enjoy being in my mid 20s But then I don't want to underestimate my worth and prolong my working career either
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