A promotion without a pay rise?

Would you accept a promotion without a pay rise? Professionals in certain sectors are more likely to do this…

This is the first in our Vanquis Bank ‘Professional Gripes Survey’ series. The survey is a nationwide office study exploring ‘what makes UK workers tick and what ticks them off!’

For many people, the whole purpose of a promotion is that it allows them to step up the career ladder and increase their salary in the process.

Yet what if you were offered the bigger job title without the bigger salary?

  • 20.5% of British employees would definitely say yes to this.
  • 36.6% are sure they’d say no.
  • However, the largest group at 42.9%, would take the time to consider this offer further.

Professionals in certain job sectors are more likely to jump in with a definite yes. These include those working within:

  1. Marketing (58%)
  2. Agriculture & Environment (46%)
  3. Beauty & Wellbeing (44%)
  4. Art & Design (39%)
  5. IT & Digital Telecoms (29%)
  6. Media (24%)
  7. Construction (22%)
  8. Customer Services & Retail (20%)
  9. Science & Mathematics (20%)
  10. Security & Emergency Services (20%)

At the other end of the scale, only 11% of people working in legal or political services and 9% of those in hospitality would respond with a yes.

So, why would you accept a promotion without a pay rise?

This is perhaps the most interesting of all the questions. Not to mention the most important for anyone considering making or accepting such an offer.

  • The greatest incentive is the belief that this will help ‘secure a better job in the future’ (68.6%). Other responses included…
  • To have a greater ‘authority over colleagues’ (23.1%)
  • And to impress a ‘date or loved one’ (9.9%).

Perhaps this is why those in Marketing are so much more likely to say yes than other industry professionals – they understand the power of perception that the new job title can offer.

How are employees achieving their promotions?

This is where things get really worrying. While most respondents simply accept additional work in a bid to impress their seniors (32.5%), others are taking far less honourable routes, including…

  • Complimenting senior colleagues and/or bosses (25.1%)
  • And even flirting with them (12.9%) or wearing suggestive clothing (11.10%), which makes for alarming reading in a post-#MeToo world.
  • What’s more, some have admitted to sabotaging their closest working rivals (10%), bribery (9.6%) and blackmail (9.6%).

Across all categories, male employees were more likely to push for a promotion.

Of course, this is a national study conducted across a real range of sectors. Meaning the findings may not reflect what’s happening locally and/or in your industry.

Thankfully, the vast majority of people know that good quality work is the best way to garner a promotion.

Should you consider a promotion without a pay rise?

In some cases, this can be a savvy move when considering your longer-term job prospects. There’s certainly some truth behind the idea that a better job title can improve your future job opportunities.

Previous findings suggest that job titles do matter and can form a core part of your benefits package.

Naturally, you also need to consider your financial situation. If the improved job title comes with a salary cut, or you know that you’re unable to commit to the new role for a reasonable time, you’d be wise to rethink things.

It’s also worth staying on top of your local research. See how much other employers are paying for people in your prospective new role. You may find that you can negotiate a slight pay rise or that there are alternative opportunities that offer promotions in both job title and salary level.



Does your job title matter?

How important is your job title – and should(/can) you change your job title on your CV?

Recruiting Times has recently released a list of some of the newest job titles appearing on business cards. You might already know a people partner, graduate brainbox, or conversion optimisation wrangler, without even realising it.

After all, many of these titles are playful takes on existing roles. With the idea being to help employers attract new team members. Those in favour of title changes see them as part of an increased focus on employees’ skills and strengths. Conversely, those against them perceive the titles as a way of making ‘mundane roles’ sound better than they are; while paying less for people to do them!

Does your job title even matter?

Margaret Neale (a professor at Stanford Graduate School of Business) argues that job titles are a ‘signal both to the outside world and to your colleagues of what level you are within your organisation‘ and should embody part of your benefits package.

It’s something you might discuss and renegotiate in an appraisal context. Though you’ll want to carefully consider the way in which you approach this, as the above-linked post explains.

Think of your CV…

The Balance Careers also agrees that ‘job titles are badges of authority‘ and goes as far as to say that the wrong job title could ‘hinder your pursuit of future career opportunities’. So, it’s very much about obtaining the title that is most appropriate to your skills, experience and role wherever possible.

This all raises a number of additional considerations…

What if your job title doesn’t mean anything to outsiders?

  • Perhaps your title is one that’s exclusively used by your organisation and you’re now looking for a new role.
  • The simplest step is to state your role as it stands, then use two or three words to clarify your position to outsiders. For example, ‘Job Title: People Partner (HR Team)’.

What if your job title doesn’t even reflect your existing role? Or you don’t think it sounds ‘good enough’ to attract a new one?

  • Let’s not forget that embellishing a job title falls under the realm of CV fraud…and that CV fraud is a criminal offence!
  • You always want to make sure that what you state on your CV would be confirmed by your former employer on a reference.
  • Most of the time it would be best to simply state the title and then add further details to clarify the strength of your experience. You could also write a few lines to highlight your expertise in your cover email.
  • However, if your everyday role vastly differs from your title, you could highlight the organisation, team and duration, as per The Balance Careers advice. For example, ‘X Organisation, Finance Team – 3 years’. If you take this approach, tread carefully to ensure that you remain truthful regarding the details of your role. In other words, don’t make it sound as if you’re a finance manager when you’ve only undertaken entry-level responsibilities.
  • What’s more, be prepared to discuss your job title fully with your Recruitment Consultant and any prospective employers.

Ready to look for a new role? You’ll find the latest job vacancies here.