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More Companies Offer Promotions Without Raises

Most boomers would accept better title and extra responsibility without more money

man stacking coins next to a computer

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More than 50 percent of workers over the age of 55 say they would accept a new title and more responsibility without more money.

Companies are more likely these days to offer promotions without a salary bump, and more than half of boomers say they would accept one. Younger workers are even more likely to embrace a no-raise promotion. 

Those are the results of a survey of more than 300 human resource managers at U.S. companies and 1,000 workers 18 and older, conducted on behalf of OfficeTeam, a Robert Half company that provides temporary office and administrative support professionals. Thirty-nine percent of HR managers said it was common to offer promotions without raises, up from 22 percent in 2011. 

Fifty-three percent of workers age 55 and older said they would accept a new title and more responsibility without more money, compared with 61 percent of 35- to 54-year-olds and 72 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds.  

Brandi Britton, district president at OfficeTeam, said that despite an improved economy, some companies remain cautious about increasing their payroll but still want to motivate and keep top performers by offering opportunities for advancement. 

Boomers may be less interested than younger generations in no-raise promotions because they’re more focused on saving for retirement than climbing the corporate ladder. “Taking on additional work and stress without being compensated with greater pay may not be as attractive to them,” Britton said.

But no-raise promotions might allow older people to do more interesting work, which would make them attractive to other employers, observed Matthew Bidwell, an associate professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania.

Linda Barrington, executive director of Cornell University’s Institute for Compensation Studies, suggested that in lieu of a raise, older workers could negotiate funding for professional courses or conferences.

It’s also important to avoid getting stuck doing two jobs. “Clarify which of your old tasks will be backfilled by someone else [and] which are no longer necessary and can be eliminated,” she recommended.

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