How to get a pay-rise and promotion

If, for some reason, you need any urging to become more proactive about your career and financial future, a new study from Accenture should provide it.

The study was designed to reveal how satisfied men and women are at their jobs, and what they plan to do about it, but buried within the results are some eye-opening statistics about who gets a pay rise or promotion–and why.

Accenture surveyed 3,400 professionals at medium and large-sized companies in 29 countries. Respondents were split evenly between men and women and across all age groups.

According to the survey, only 43% of people are satisfied with their jobs. Why are the rest so glum? The leading reason, cited by 45 percent of people overall, is that they’re underpaid. That’s not completely shocking, given that the survey also found that, only 44% of women and 48% of men say they have ever asked for or negotiated a pay increase.

What happens when people do ask for more money? In the overwhelming majority of cases, people who ask get at least something. And in a significant number of cases, employees who ask for a more actually get more money than they were expecting.

Here’s how it breaks down:

  • Some 25% of people said they got more money than they were expecting
  • An additional 38% said they got the rise they were expecting
  • 17% got more money, but not as much as they were hoping for
  • 5% did not get a rise, but they did get some other type of incentive
  • Only 15% got nothing 
That’s right: Of those who asked for more money, 85% at least got something and 63% got at least as much as they asked for.


Another big reason people said they were dissatisfied with their jobs was lack of opportunity for growth, mentioned by 34% of people. (Another 25% said they were tired or burned out, which should be its own wake-up call to employers.) Yet only 28% of women say they have ever asked for a promotion, and only 39% of men have tried it either.

Of course, there are cases where employees badger for a well-deserved promotion for years and never get anything, but perhaps more often people who believe they are not appreciated or stuck in their jobs should just ask for the job they want.

Here’s what happened to those employees who did ask for a promotion:

  • 17% got a new role and it was a better one than they’d hoped to land
  • 42% got the role they asked for.
  • In other words 59% of people who asked for a promotion got one.


Things didn’t go badly for the other 41%, either:

  • 10% got a new role, but not the one they asked for and not one that was a clear promotion
  • 10% of the time, nothing happened
5% of those who asked for a promotion got new responsibilities instead. Even that’s not so bad, while it may sound like these people just got more work dumped on them, 47% of people said that taking on new responsibilities had helped move their career forward.


By Kimberly Weisul – March 2011
Kimberly Weisul is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant. She was most recently a senior editor at BusinessWeek and founding editor of BusinessWeek SmallBiz, an award-winning bimonthly magazine for entrepreneurs.

threesixty selection – Management & Executive Recruitment Practice. Specialist Search & Selection in Finance, Purchasing, Supply Chain, Manufacturing & Sales.

Share This Story, Choose Your Platform!

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin