What If My Boss Doesn’t Have Budget To Increase My Salary?

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Team, the appraisals are coming up for a lot of us in the next couple of weeks.

Are you ready for the discussion with your boss?

You are quite likely to hear the infamous words: “It was fantastic that you did the work of your three other co-workers we laid off, but due to Covid there’s obviously no chance of a raise now.”

Or: “Thank you for the great successes you have achieved in the past year, but as you can imagine there will be no salary increases for the time being” or words of a similar nature.

And I call BS 90% of the time. From vast experience (my own, and much more importantly: my clients) there is room for improvement financially in the majority of cases, when they realise you’re not simply accepting these words as gospel.

But what if you are in that other 10%, where there really isn’t any more cash in the kitty to pay you for what you’re worth AND you’re not willing to walk away from this job?

Get creative, chicken!

Please start thinking ahead and beyond salary to ensure you come to an overall agreement that makes you happy and motivates you to do your best work. What else can you ask for that doesn’t affect the company’s bottom line like a salary raise would?

You are best placed to think this one through, but in order to get your brain in gear, consider the below ideas:


Vastly underestimated, getting help in doing the work, means you can delegate low-value tasks to someone (intern or someone already on the payroll), creating time, energy and brain space for the high-value and high-fun work you’d rather do (and which leads to promotions).


Having a title that better reflects your current responsibilities will help tremendously down the line when you want higher-level opportunities, and incidentally costs your boss exactly nothing.


Having the flexibility to run your job in a way that works best for you (non-standard hours, from home etc), greatly increases your life satisfaction, in a way that extra dollars or euros probably won’t. So it’s worth considering what would be a set-up that you’d love, and ask your boss to grant you the flexibility that helps you achieve that.


Think of projects that are high impact and high profile, that you would love to be involved in. They will raise your profile at work, increasing your chance of promotion because of course you will finish them successfully (duh, you always get it done!) and you’re showing ambition. Everybody wins! In fact, they are probably worth more than any annual raise can be.


Think ahead and figure out who you can learn lots from in your company, and ask your manager if they can put in a good word for you to be mentored by that person. Their guidance will be valuable in both the short and long-term and open up opportunities beyond your own network.

I could go on and on. Vacation, training (funds for which often come from a different budget)… You name it, you can get it. So figure out what would be valuable to you and wouldn’t cost your company anything (or very little), and off you go!

If you want help preparing for these discussions (or for the salary one if you’re in the 90% where that’s very much still possible, whatever you think), do book a Discovery Call with my team to see if I can assist you: https://womeninnegotiation.org/apply

Book a call with my team for a free coaching session and let’s see what we can do for you!