How long have you gone without a raise?

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Texanbybirth
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How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Texanbybirth »

It has been 4 years now for us (whole company). What was a pretty good total comp (salary + bonus) package 4 years ago has definitely felt more pinched with higher property taxes, homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and 3 kids. I suppose the last piece would make any budget feel tighter, but without even modest (~2-3%?) cost of living increases it's starting to sting. Prospects for 2019 for the company as a whole (new products-/clients-wise) are already not great, as per semi-official company pronouncements.

Would you look for a new job? Perks are it's really only about 25-30 hrs/wk of work most times, pretty good ancillary benefits (HDHP/HSA, benefits paid for, good vacation time) and it provides great work-life balance for a young family. I've been at this company so long I honestly wouldn't even have much confidence out in the job market.
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
z3r0c00l
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by z3r0c00l »

We don't earn much, but every year like clockwork there is a 2.5 - 3.5% raise. It isn't even really a raise anymore, just a standard salary increase that seems to keep well ahead of inflation since the recession. One could double their salary in 20 years at that pace. However again, we don't earn much to start.

You are right to complain about this, if your salary was $75,000 4 years ago, with no increase, it is only "worth" $70,000. They are paying you noticeably less than they used to.
Last edited by z3r0c00l on Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
123
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by 123 »

Texanbybirth wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:16 pm ... I've been at this company so long I honestly wouldn't even have much confidence out in the job market.
Have many of your co-workers jumped ship? Maybe it's time to look for greener pastures. If the company doesn't have enough activity to keep everyone pretty much busy for 40 hours a week I'd say they've got some issues.

Edited to add:
If attrition goes up due to no raises they may start to cut position to provide raises for others. Once "musical chairs" starts it often doesn't stop.
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Texanbybirth
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Texanbybirth »

z3r0c00l wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:30 pm We don't earn much, but every year like clockwork there is a 2.5 - 3.5% raise. It isn't even really a raise anymore, just a standard salary increase that seems to keep well ahead of inflation since the recession. One could double their salary in 20 years at that pace. However again, we don't earn much to start.

You are right to complain about this, if your salary was $75,000 4 years ago, with no increase, it is only "worth" $70,000. They are paying you noticeably less than they used to.
You've pretty much hit the nail on the head, but it seems more and more like the only way to fix this is to take some initiative with my career, which is something I haven't done for quite some time. In talking with family, I've probably been on auto-pilot for a good 5 years, like a frog slowly boiling. (That's probably a bit dramatic, but still.) I've started this year (studying up on some more relevant topics to my industry, trying to strengthen my broader network), but the inertia is really tough to overcome. I work in finance (not too keen to be much more specific), and it sure seems like in this market run we should be doing a lot better.
123 wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:31 pm
Texanbybirth wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:16 pm ... I've been at this company so long I honestly wouldn't even have much confidence out in the job market.
Have many of your co-workers jumped ship? Maybe it's time to look for greener pastures. If the company doesn't have enough activity to keep everyone pretty much busy for 40 hours a week I'd say they've got some issues.

Edited to add:
If attrition goes up due to no raises they may start to cut position to provide raises for others. Once "musical chairs" starts it often doesn't stop.
Nobody has jumped ship really in the last couple years in my department, aside from a large product group folding up shop recently. Those guys are all gone of course. A couple others have been fired, and actually I take that back one person did leave of his own accord. I haven't kept up with him though to see how he's doing in his new role.
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
KlangFool
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

I save 1 year of expense every year whenever I am employed. I gave myself a pay raise every year from my portfolio.

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z3r0c00l
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by z3r0c00l »

This is the time to look for a new job, companies seem downright desperate for talent now.
mattshwink
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by mattshwink »

For about 3.5 years (January 2015-October 2018) I had the same salary, though I had no complaints. Changed jobs this past October for a ~15% increase (though the reason I changed jobs wasn't salary, just decided if I was going to make a change it had to be worth my while, which it was).
stimulacra
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by stimulacra »

I work in O&G, there hasn't been a merit increase since 2014-2015. The only exception to this has been lateral type moves where they give out 4-10% adjustments in the LOA (letter of assignment).

It's caused a lot of grief for the rank and file but it seems that savvier folks have grown accustomed to rotational assignments and developing their career portfolio within the organization.
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Texanbybirth
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Texanbybirth »

mattshwink wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:55 pm For about 3.5 years (January 2015-October 2018) I had the same salary, though I had no complaints. Changed jobs this past October for a ~15% increase (though the reason I changed jobs wasn't salary, just decided if I was going to make a change it had to be worth my while, which it was).
Nice, you got a raise when you weren't even seeking one. I'm guessing all other things were pretty much equal/better at the new company? I'm wary of the "grass is always greener on the other side" mentality creeping into my job evaluation.
stimulacra wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:58 pm I work in O&G, there hasn't been a merit increase since 2014-2015. The only exception to this has been lateral type moves where they give out 4-10% adjustments in the LOA (letter of assignment).

It's caused a lot of grief for the rank and file but it seems that savvier folks have grown accustomed to rotational assignments and developing their career portfolio within the organization.
Thank you for sharing. My employer is small (<50, but smaller than that really), and there isn't a lot of "lateral" to move into if I'm understanding you correctly.

Maybe I'm not as bad off as I thought, but I keep hearing about wage gains (especially for professionals) in this economy, and I see my total comp (W2) hasn't ticked up since mid-decade, while expenses have, and it's slightly discouraging.
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
stimulacra
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by stimulacra »

Texanbybirth wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:47 pm
z3r0c00l wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:30 pm We don't earn much, but every year like clockwork there is a 2.5 - 3.5% raise. It isn't even really a raise anymore, just a standard salary increase that seems to keep well ahead of inflation since the recession. One could double their salary in 20 years at that pace. However again, we don't earn much to start.

You are right to complain about this, if your salary was $75,000 4 years ago, with no increase, it is only "worth" $70,000. They are paying you noticeably less than they used to.
You've pretty much hit the nail on the head, but it seems more and more like the only way to fix this is to take some initiative with my career, which is something I haven't done for quite some time. In talking with family, I've probably been on auto-pilot for a good 5 years, like a frog slowly boiling. (That's probably a bit dramatic, but still.) I've started this year (studying up on some more relevant topics to my industry, trying to strengthen my broader network), but the inertia is really tough to overcome. I work in finance (not too keen to be much more specific), and it sure seems like in this market run we should be doing a lot better.
123 wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:31 pm
Texanbybirth wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:16 pm ... I've been at this company so long I honestly wouldn't even have much confidence out in the job market.
Have many of your co-workers jumped ship? Maybe it's time to look for greener pastures. If the company doesn't have enough activity to keep everyone pretty much busy for 40 hours a week I'd say they've got some issues.

Edited to add:
If attrition goes up due to no raises they may start to cut position to provide raises for others. Once "musical chairs" starts it often doesn't stop.
Nobody has jumped ship really in the last couple years in my department, aside from a large product group folding up shop recently. Those guys are all gone of course. A couple others have been fired, and actually I take that back one person did leave of his own accord. I haven't kept up with him though to see how he's doing in his new role.

You should stay in touch and keep a dialogue open with everyone who leaves your organization (whether laid off, terminated, or moved on of their own accord), they might be your life line when it comes time to make a move. If faced with a separation event with your employer, your current co-workers will rapidly treat you as a non-entity.

Good luck.
stoptothink
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by stoptothink »

Previous to going into private industry, I worked in public health. In 8yrs, with two separate employers, I received a 1% raise 3 separate times; all raises were for having the single highest score on end of year evaluation in 50+ person departments. Those evaluations also resulted in bonuses of $50-$100. I was the outlier receiving anything (sometimes), so I left. Since leaving for private industry, end of year raises have been 9%-20%; and I am making more than twice what I was 4yrs ago, not taking into account 2-4% end of year bonus.

FWIW, my wife works in tech and her company doesn't give raises at all without promotions. Ever. She's there because she can do her job, better than anybody else in her department, while realistically working <20hrs/week (she's also a full-time student). Her company breeds mediocrity; nobody with an ounce of drive ever stays there. In a year she'll be done with school and she'll be gone.
quantAndHold
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by quantAndHold »

What are competitors paying?

Companies will pay what they need to pay to get the talent they need. Clearly, the company is happy with the status quo. If people started leaving and the work wasn’t getting done, raises would probably start to happen.

Is nobody leaving the company because there aren’t any jobs, or did the people with ambition leave the first couple of years, and everyone left behind is just happy to not have to work a full 40 hours?
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
brennok
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by brennok »

Currently at 2.5 years. I received a raise in June 2016 before they announced company was entertaining offers to be purchased. Purchase and due diligance dragged out over 2017 when there was a pay and hiring freeze due to the offer. Then various th8ngs delayed it even further into the end of 2018. New company does reviews in October to November and we missed the cutoff so will have to wait until the end of this year for review. Raises then would roll out in January.
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Texanbybirth
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Texanbybirth »

quantAndHold wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:08 pm What are competitors paying?

Companies will pay what they need to pay to get the talent they need. Clearly, the company is happy with the status quo. If people started leaving and the work wasn’t getting done, raises would probably start to happen.

Is nobody leaving the company because there aren’t any jobs, or did the people with ambition leave the first couple of years, and everyone left behind is just happy to not have to work a full 40 hours?
That's a fair and thoughtful question. And personally I have to ask myself which of those camps I fall into, and whether I like that camp anymore. As far as competitors, I'm really not sure. My guess is they're paying raises and bonuses based on conversations I've had and industry data. I'm a CPA, though in a somewhat niche (possibly dying?) industry, so there's ample data to compare to on a profession-wide basis.
stoptothink wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:05 pm Previous to going into private industry, I worked in public health. In 8yrs, with two separate employers, I received a 1% raise 3 separate times; all raises were for having the single highest score on end of year evaluation in 50+ person departments. Those evaluations also resulted in bonuses of $50-$100. I was the outlier receiving anything (sometimes), so I left. Since leaving for private industry, end of year raises have been 9%-20%; and I am making more than twice what I was 4yrs ago, not taking into account 2-4% end of year bonus.
9-20% - good gracious good for you! :sharebeer
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
fourkids
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by fourkids »

4 years in a booming economy is absolutely too long to go without a raise.
Either your company or your indusrty is in decline, which is a sign to get out. Or your company is just being extremely cheap, which is also a reason to get out.

I went 2 years without a raise, but it was 2009 and 2010, the depths of a recession. In an economy with strong GDP growth, it is unacceptable.
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Texanbybirth
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Texanbybirth »

brennok wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:21 pm Currently at 2.5 years. I received a raise in June 2016 before they announced company was entertaining offers to be purchased. Purchase and due diligance dragged out over 2017 when there was a pay and hiring freeze due to the offer. Then various th8ngs delayed it even further into the end of 2018. New company does reviews in October to November and we missed the cutoff so will have to wait until the end of this year for review. Raises then would roll out in January.
Do you anticipate the purchase will afford the company (and thus you) growth opportunities once things are settled down? That does stink you had to wait that long, but I'm wondering if in a way it might be worth it.
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
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Texanbybirth
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Texanbybirth »

fourkids wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:22 pm 4 years in a booming economy is absolutely too long to go without a raise.
Either your company or your indusrty is in decline, which is a sign to get out. Or your company is just being extremely cheap, which is also a reason to get out.

I went 2 years without a raise, but it was 2009 and 2010, the depths of a recession. In an economy with strong GDP growth, it is unacceptable.
That's kinda the hard-nosed, gut reaction I've been having after the news of no raises this year. I have sensed that my industry is in decline, and the company along with it, for a couple years, and part of the revelation recently has been that I'm a big part of the problem in my own career situation.

I should start another topic with how to break out of this thinking and get some real work done on my career while I've got time.
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
quantAndHold
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by quantAndHold »

As a CPA, you could probably do better, if that’s what you want. It’s fair if that’s not what you want. Not everyone has to be in maximum career progression mode all the time. But if you’re under 50 and in a dying industry, you might want to fix that while the economy is good and companies are hiring. It’s much easier to get hired when the overall economy is good.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by stimulacra »

Have a heart to heart with your direct supervisor. If it's been four years, you're probably ready for a new assignment within your organization. If that role does not currently exist in your organization, pitch it. In three instances in my career I've invented my next role during annual reviews and in those instances always got a 15-20% increase.

Your org or wider industry sounds a little stagnant based on the info provided. If so, your manager (or their manager) might be looking for a shot in the arm as much as you are.

Also from a long term vantage point: I would imagine a huge middle swatch of finance/CPA tasks will be automated over the next 10-15 years. All the more reason to not be complacent.
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by stoptothink »

Texanbybirth wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:22 pm
stoptothink wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:05 pm Previous to going into private industry, I worked in public health. In 8yrs, with two separate employers, I received a 1% raise 3 separate times; all raises were for having the single highest score on end of year evaluation in 50+ person departments. Those evaluations also resulted in bonuses of $50-$100. I was the outlier receiving anything (sometimes), so I left. Since leaving for private industry, end of year raises have been 9%-20%; and I am making more than twice what I was 4yrs ago, not taking into account 2-4% end of year bonus.
9-20% - good gracious good for you! :sharebeer
Been fortunate to have a boss that is one of the company founders and sees potential. It's an exceedingly conservative company, I've actually been accused of lying on this board about how little I make based upon my job title. I've got one more rung on the ladder and then I'm hitting the glass ceiling (likely ~2% annual raises thereafter). But,at 37 I'm making more than I ever thought I would.
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Texanbybirth
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Texanbybirth »

stimulacra wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:33 pm Have a heart to heart with your direct supervisor. If it's been four years, you're probably ready for a new assignment within your organization. If that role does not currently exist in your organization, pitch it. In three instances in my career I've invented my next role during annual reviews and in those instances always got a 15-20% increase.

Your org or wider industry sounds a little stagnant based on the info provided. If so, your manager (or their manager) might be looking for a shot in the arm as much as you are.

Also from a long term vantage point: I would imagine a huge middle swatch of finance/CPA tasks will be automated over the next 10-15 years. All the more reason to not be complacent.
My direct supervisor is an owner executive, and the one who came down with the bad news this year. Working more in a "cost center" part of the company if you will, there's not a lot new work to pitch that isn't viewed as simply an increase in costs. I've tried each year to present new ideas, but most of them don't go anywhere besides "that's a good thought, let's see how it works next year", even when I've presented fairly detailed plans a couple times.
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
brennok
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by brennok »

Texanbybirth wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:23 pm
brennok wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:21 pm Currently at 2.5 years. I received a raise in June 2016 before they announced company was entertaining offers to be purchased. Purchase and due diligance dragged out over 2017 when there was a pay and hiring freeze due to the offer. Then various th8ngs delayed it even further into the end of 2018. New company does reviews in October to November and we missed the cutoff so will have to wait until the end of this year for review. Raises then would roll out in January.
Do you anticipate the purchase will afford the company (and thus you) growth opportunities once things are settled down? That does stink you had to wait that long, but I'm wondering if in a way it might be worth it.
Not really. We are the red headed step children that were only kept on because it was a term of the sale even though what we know how to do is why they wanted the company. They also value education over anything else, and I never went to college so there is limited growth. We overheard them on a conference call discussing our previous director of operations with 25 years experience and how he would never be above a regional manager, which was a major downgrade, because of no degree.

We have already had some of our upper level 15-20 year employees get offered and take jobs in other companies within 90 days because of how they were treated. I could see once our company completely merges and integrates into their systems they will find reasons to let us go.

I am sticking it out until I can't just because as people quit it lets me do more of the stuff I enjoy versus what they assigned me originally. Who knows,if I am still there come review time I may be surprised. I am not counting on it and just using the time to continue to max my contributions until something better comes along or I test early retirement.
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by iamlucky13 »

3 professional employers in my career: Two have a formal policy of small annual raises. One has an informal goal of moderate 18 month raises that typically actually turned into a 2 year cycle. The latter is currently dealing with a down cycle in a cyclic industry and I'm pretty sure well over 2 years since the last raise and seeing increased attrition as a result, or at least was 3-4 months ago when I last chatted with a former coworker.

In your situation, I would be at least be browsing the job market, thinking about which more active industries my skills would be applicable to.

It's not just about the declining real pay. It also raises my concerns about job security, especially when combined with lighter than normal work hours.
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by msk »

OP is a CPA. Is the company dying? Do you really want to be one of the last remaining few at Kodak? If the company is not dying, then please note that the reason you are not getting a raise is because the company does not value your services much and feel that it would be easy to either replace you or cut the position altogether. I used to be in management and it always amazed me to see how everyone feels entitled to raises, when in some cases management felt that the individual had been hired at a comp level beyond his worth. First one to go in any downsizing. One ought to be realistic. If you strongly feel that you are worth more, move to an outfit that is willing and able to pay more. Maybe your current outfit simply is unable, a la Kodak. There is no such thing as a secure, stress free job with high pay.
thx1138
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by thx1138 »

Based on what you say through the thread my concern would be less with the lower income and more with the potential this employer is going to die a slow death. It sounds like as a CPA you have what are broadly portable skills and experience outside of whatever niche you are presently in. Certainly seems worth looking around at other options is in order. Certainly the job market is about as strong as it is going to get right now.

As to your question, personally I've never gone a single year without a raise of more than 3% in my 20 year career. But I'm not in your industry (I'm an engineer) so that's probably not relevant info!
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beyou
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by beyou »

My employer usually announces no base raises unless you are below a max salary. That said, when things are going ok, they sometimes give more generous bonuses at year end. Through my career I have faced this for last 20 years on/off.
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Tamarind
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Tamarind »

The last time my employer gave me resistance to an annual raise, I changed employers. I'm in a small, hot field, though, so YMMV. I do believe your working life is too short to stay somewhere you aren't valued.

If you are feeling like you would have trouble interviewing and conveying your value to another company, honestly that's reason enough by itself to start job hunting. Even if you decide to stay put, I think you will benefit from applying to several jobs so you get a better idea of what's out there and get some recent practice going through an interview.

The job market for CPAs seems really good right now, especially for those who like to work on contract or specialize in a growing industry. But automation is coming for many of those jobs within 20 years at the outside. I should know, I'm helping automate them. What's your plan to stay current?
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I got a raise 2 years ago. 3%. I was told at that time that only one other person out of 25 received a raise. Previous to that, it had been about 10 years and 2 jobs ago.

Contrary to legend, if you put a frog in water and raise the heat towards boiling, the frog will actually jump out as it gets too hot. Maybe it's time for you to jump.
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Texanbybirth
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Texanbybirth »

I wanted to chime in this morning to say thank you to everyone who has replied so far. It seems that some soul-searching is in order on my part, but that I've at least come to that realization at a good time. I've been generally motivated by the comments, and I was even eager to wake up and check this morning!

I would be lying if I said "I don't think my company is going the wrong way, we're gonna rebound from this!", but it does seem these things can take time (years) and maybe I'm getting an interesting perspective from the inside of things to watch for later in my career. I don't favor approaching this situation from the mindset of "am I just not valued enough to deserve a comp bump?", but more from the mindset of "what else about my job do I appreciate that makes up for the lackluster pay?" Doing that assessment honestly (and with my family's input) will help me to take inventory of my career over the last 2-4 years.

As a CPA, I can see the writing on the wall with Robotic Process Automation, offshoring, and AI. I've actually really struggled with this (perhaps to the point of inaction/"analysis paralysis") along the lines of "what can I do in the face of such a force?". Maybe I'm just not forward-thinking enough to see my way through this in the long-term, but maybe also that will motivate to get some short-term goals in place. "Today, begin." kind of thing.

I wish this thread to continue, but I started by quoting each reply individually and since there were several over the course of the night I wanted to speak up with some comments. Thanks again!
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
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djpeteski
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by djpeteski »

Texanbybirth wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:16 pm Would you look for a new job? Perks are it's really only about 25-30 hrs/wk of work most times, pretty good ancillary benefits (HDHP/HSA, benefits paid for, good vacation time) and it provides great work-life balance for a young family.
So that is a reason to stay. The whole work-life balance thing. Not many places have that, and it also seems like you work in a pretty good environment.

The thing I hate about your position is when you say this:
I've been at this company so long I honestly wouldn't even have much confidence out in the job market.
Why in hell would you think that? There seems to be some undertones of you not being valuable in this position. Perhaps it is the lack of raises, or is it something else? There is no harm in putting out a few resumes and see what happens. While you may need to update or add a few skills that does not say that you would not be very valuable to a wide variety of employers.

You mentioned you were in Finance. The weird thing about a growing economy is that people borrow more, not less. Their outlook for the future is bright, so they take risks. Depending on your area of finance, your skills will be in high demand. I strongly doubt you would be limited to your current industry. Which industry in your area is growing? Target that.

Personally I feel like you could come out of this with a massive raise if that is your choice.
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Texanbybirth
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Texanbybirth »

djpeteski wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:36 am
Texanbybirth wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:16 pm Would you look for a new job? Perks are it's really only about 25-30 hrs/wk of work most times, pretty good ancillary benefits (HDHP/HSA, benefits paid for, good vacation time) and it provides great work-life balance for a young family.
So that is a reason to stay. The whole work-life balance thing. Not many places have that, and it also seems like you work in a pretty good environment.

The thing I hate about your position is when you say this:
I've been at this company so long I honestly wouldn't even have much confidence out in the job market.
Why in hell would you think that? There seems to be some undertones of you not being valuable in this position. Perhaps it is the lack of raises, or is it something else? There is no harm in putting out a few resumes and see what happens. While you may need to update or add a few skills that does not say that you would not be very valuable to a wide variety of employers.

You mentioned you were in Finance. The weird thing about a growing economy is that people borrow more, not less. Their outlook for the future is bright, so they take risks. Depending on your area of finance, your skills will be in high demand. I strongly doubt you would be limited to your current industry. Which industry in your area is growing? Target that.

Personally I feel like you could come out of this with a massive raise if that is your choice.
Regarding confidence, I think it's mostly a personal thing. My boss is a good boss: hard-working, lead by example kind of person with a generally great attitude. Maybe the lack of raises has created a behind closed doors morale issue, though. I'm not what you would call a "type A" personality, not a go-getter, more someone who prefers comfort - probably to my detriment. I believe I've been stuck in a rut for just about 2 years too long, though I have gained some valuable personnel and department management experience, and the prospect of getting out of that rut, looking for greener pastures, breaking a routine at a possibly hectic time in my family's life, makes me anxious. I mean, in a way it's human nature when you've been somewhere for a decade to be anxious about what's on the other side, right?

As far as the industry, that's the main concern I have from a macroeconomic viewpoint. I don't want to be super specific, but with the market/economy we've had over the last decade it really worries me that our revenue streams and customer base are not much further from where they were 10 years ago.
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
stimulacra
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by stimulacra »

Texanbybirth wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2019 7:35 am As a CPA, I can see the writing on the wall with Robotic Process Automation, offshoring, and AI. I've actually really struggled with this (perhaps to the point of inaction/"analysis paralysis") along the lines of "what can I do in the face of such a force?". Maybe I'm just not forward-thinking enough to see my way through this in the long-term, but maybe also that will motivate to get some short-term goals in place. "Today, begin." kind of thing.
You probably can't fight it, or even delay it, but you can dispassionately assess these trends and technologies and see what fits within your current organization, or your career goals, and become an expert in that. These things don't implement themselves, every organization will still need consultants to advise on the strategy of these platforms and initiatives, and integration experts to see it through to launch. Automation will kill off a lot of mindless cubicle work but I do think that the work that remains will be more interesting and of higher value to an organization, that's the direction you should consider moving towards.

Once you figure out where the next arc of your career will take you, go to your boss and present a plan (identify and solve a problem that's keeping him/her up at night) that synthesizes all of the above. Create more responsibility for yourself. Don't mention money, your boss should be able to read between the lines.

Worst case, you've updated your thinking and have taken the first steps to revamping your skillsets and focus that your next employer will value. It is possible for an employer to not even know what they are missing.
TheEternalVortex
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by TheEternalVortex »

I’ve gotten raises annually since I started. Now my salary is 2.5x what it was 10 years ago all at the same employer.
jharkin
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by jharkin »

The longest I've ever gone without a raise was 2 years, and that happened twice:

In 2000-2002 during the worst of the dotcom when my company almost went out of business.
In 2009-2011 during the great recession when everyone was cutting budgets.

In both cases during subsequent years I got larger than average raises and market adjustments to make up for lost ground once the department budget opened up again.

If you have gone 4 years with nothing during these last 4 years of booming corporate profits I'd be looking for a new job......
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8foot7
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by 8foot7 »

I just did the math: $100,000 with a 3% raise annually after 4 years would result in a base salary of $112,551.
If you lose 2% to inflation each year, your $100,000 from 4 years ago is worth $92,237.
These may not be your numbers but they illustrate the cost of complacency.

I understand some orgs are resistant to merit increases but your workforce deserves at a minimum a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) every year because inflation is real, property tax increases are real, and things get more expensive. It's just a fact and no amount of pretending "we don't know how to measure it" or "what basket of consumer goods should we look at" can hide the fact that inflation exists.

Each year without a simple COLA is a tacit pay cut; it's as simple as that. Skipping one year may or may not be a big deal but 4 years has resulted in a pretty substantial effective pay cut for you and yours, and the market overall has certainly been moving upward the entire time as well. If your organization is not giving raises in this economy, with all of the talk of wage parity, tax cuts, bonuses, living wage, and whatnot, then something is wrong. You should immediately begin looking outside your company.
dcabler
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by dcabler »

Previous job to the one I currently have. Was for the US site for a company based in Austria. Worked there 3 years with no raise, despite good annual reviews. Seemed to be part of the company culture to put more emphasis on the variable comp portion of total compensation: a couple of bonus plans (one of which was partially directed to the 401K, which otherwise had no matching) and a generous stock option plan but which had a 3 year cliff vest.
Jags4186
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Jags4186 »

No raise in 4 years? We didn’t get bonuses last year and if we don’t get one this year I’ll be looking for new employment.

As others have said, it’s one thing for it to be 2008/2009 and you’re just glad to be holding on it’s another when all I see are news reports of companies not being able to find workers and record low unemployment. You have to be greedy when times are good because no one will be looking to do right by you when times are bad.
A440
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by A440 »

Technically, I have received a raise every year. However, due to the cost of healthcare premiums rising and along with it the percentage of my required contribution, my take home pay has been less every year for the past 4 years. My annual raise of 1% or less can't keep up with the annual increase of the premium. The cost of healthcare is for another thread.
However, I am thankful to have a job I enjoy, great healthcare for my family, and a home.
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds my future.
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BarbaricYawp
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by BarbaricYawp »

fourkids wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:22 pm 4 years in a booming economy is absolutely too long to go without a raise.
Either your company or your indusrty is in decline, which is a sign to get out. Or your company is just being extremely cheap, which is also a reason to get out.

I went 2 years without a raise, but it was 2009 and 2010, the depths of a recession. In an economy with strong GDP growth, it is unacceptable.
Exactly this. You don't say how old you are, but the other insidious thing about NOT getting pay increases is that it can have a multiplier effect on you later in life. And as others have noted, the market is heating up. I suppose everything is somewhat regional, but I have 3 open headcount at the moment and am having a heck of a time finding people. Not terribly specialized positions and we have already adjusted our budgets UP by 20% to be more commensurate with the asks we are seeing from qualified people. I've been in 2 startup companies the size of yours --one ended up with 3000+ employees -- and I think as a finance person you know that if you are not growing, you are essentially slipping backwards. Many times smaller companies like that are run mostly to meet the needs of the private owners and not with an eye towards increasing value and thereby increasing salaries. The workforce is a lot more flexible than it used to be, so if the main hangup for you is the 40 hour a week thing, perhaps you can find a job where some of that 40 hours is work from home, so you eliminate a commute and the associated costs/stress. Best of luck, whatever you decide.
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by TheOscarGuy »

Texanbybirth wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:16 pm It has been 4 years now for us (whole company). What was a pretty good total comp (salary + bonus) package 4 years ago has definitely felt more pinched with higher property taxes, homeowners insurance, auto insurance, and 3 kids. I suppose the last piece would make any budget feel tighter, but without even modest (~2-3%?) cost of living increases it's starting to sting. Prospects for 2019 for the company as a whole (new products-/clients-wise) are already not great, as per semi-official company pronouncements.

Would you look for a new job? Perks are it's really only about 25-30 hrs/wk of work most times, pretty good ancillary benefits (HDHP/HSA, benefits paid for, good vacation time) and it provides great work-life balance for a young family. I've been at this company so long I honestly wouldn't even have much confidence out in the job market.
Does it not depend on the business/area of expertise of your company, whether you do get increases, and how much/how often? I would ask CPAs in your city, look at websites that do compensation surveys and make them available. What applies to someone working in say software development, may not apply to someone in other fields.

I personally have never gone without increments. This is more a field specific thing (I work in software development). Folks would not stay put if they didn't get increments/bonuses year over year.
mak1277
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by mak1277 »

In my ~20 year career (also a CPA), I have had exactly one year that I didn't get a raise. In 2009 my firm decided not to give raises instead of laying people off.

In terms of losing your job to automation, OP, I wouldn't worry too much about your current employer. Offshoring and automating an accounting/finance department isn't going to be something that comes quickly to a small shop, I wouldn't think, unless you're pretty cutting edge.
DesertDiva
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by DesertDiva »

About 9 months. Will be vested this fall then considering my options at that point.
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Watty
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Watty »

Texanbybirth wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:16 pm It has been 4 years now for us (whole company).
The wages may not be as frozen as you think.

I am sure that at least once, and maybe twice I got raises while there was a "company wide wage freeze".

They also made a point to tell me that I was not to even hint to my coworkers that I had gotten a raise.

I did notice that at about the same time that a couple of other people also had discrete meetings with managers so I assume that they got raises too.

If other people are quietly getting raises that could explain the lack of turnover.
Texanbybirth wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:16 pm Perks are it's really only about 25-30 hrs/wk of work most times,.....
That is also a pretty good sign that your job would be high of the list of jobs that could be eliminated if they need to reduce the headcount.

I would look around to see what other jobs are available, once you know what your options are you can decide if you want to change jobs or not.

You may also find that adjusted for inflation that you income will peak sometimes in your 40's. It varies by what field you are in but that is not uncommon.
Last edited by Watty on Tue Mar 05, 2019 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
basspond
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by basspond »

Companies that were bigger then yours and had a lot more promising, although false predictions, are no longer in existence. Be careful of drinking the kool-aide being served by your company. Even the major company I worked for had all these rosy predictions that didn't come into fruition and our budgets were slashed in half because of bad business decisions. Only a select few at the top got their regular raises and bonuses. We were still making a lot of money but they started slashing staff and offshoring everything except the executives' jobs. Luckily I only had a few years to survive to get out of there. Do your best at your job but I would be prepared for the worst. Good luck.
Thegame14
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Thegame14 »

12 months, this year no raise, just happened, last year 1% raise, and inflation is around 2% so in theory negative raise last two years.
FireSekr
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by FireSekr »

In the last 10 years I have gotten a raise every single year. The lowest was 3.5% in 2010. At my current company I’ve gotten between 7-12% a year since I started 5 years ago. This is just our annual pay increases not counting for promotions which are usually separate.
runner3081
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by runner3081 »

Two times in my career did I go two years without a raise.

The first time was back around 2008 or so (management pay was frozen for 2-years).

The last time was in 2012-2014 when I worked for a startup that was not making money. This one didn't bother me. I took a chance as employee #1 and we were not performing.
Hug401k
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Hug401k »

I work for a very large financial services firm and AFTER I started the job, I found out they do not give raises. They give salary increases for job promotions, they give generous bonuses, they have a generous retirement plan, but they do not give raises to anyone except a very small raise for the very top performer in a department. The year I was the top performer, I received less than a 1% raise. That is all I have received in 5 years. Now I don't try to be the top performer.
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Texanbybirth
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by Texanbybirth »

As I've been reflecting on the comments in this thread, and my career recently, I'm wondering if an MBA might be a good move for me. I've really enjoyed the management side of my job: leading people, strategizing (even if plans are shot down) across departments, trying to see the big picture within my firm of how departments fit together and could work better together, and I'm beginning to think I'm actually pretty good at it. I'm generally a reluctant leader - not a type-A go-getter like some I see, and I have no desire for C-suite type settings - but if I look across the landscape I see and know a lot of managers who are actually pretty good at what they do and make a positive impact on their employees and businesses. That excites me. I'd like to take a shot at doing all that in a larger, more challenging environment.

There is a fairly large public university in town that offers several different options for MBAs: part-time evening, online, executive, or take the plunge with a 16-month full-time program. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the program is #43 globally, #37 in the US, and #15 among public Unis. Seemingly an MBA would also rectify the no raises situation (perhaps through the help of this thread "no raises" is showing itself to be an effect of an underlying bad employment situation, and not the underlying problem itself) upon graduation, although it would set my family back financially for a while: 2 years probably.

Just want to say thanks again, and I'm certainly continuing to mull on this situation. At 34yo, I'm not giving up on finding a better situation for myself for those who depend on me.
“The strong cannot be brave. Only the weak can be brave; and yet again, in practice, only those who can be brave can be trusted, in time of doubt, to be strong.“ - GK Chesterton
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ClevrChico
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Re: How long have you gone without a raise?

Post by ClevrChico »

In medium and megacorp jobs we've always had an annual review with typically a low 2% raise.

Raises have been skipped during sector downturns, with an occasional retroactive raise made when things improve.

Going multiple years without a raise would be unusual in the private sector, but it does seem to be common in the public sector.
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