6 Signs Your Boss Doesn't Think You Deserve a Raise

hand reaching for hand with money

Canva / Fairygodboss Staff

Profile Picture
Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k
April 13, 2024 at 10:12AM UTC

End-of-the-year performance reviews are rapidly approaching for many, and for some, this means that it’s time to ask that all-important question: “Can I have a raise?”

Unfortunately, it’s not always good news. Trying to predict how your boss will respond? Here are six signs they don’t think you deserve a raise — and what to do to prove that you actually do.

1. Your boss didn’t respond well to your last inquiry.

If you asked for a raise fairly recently, within the past few months or so, and your boss was less than enthusiastic, then it’s probably too soon to start gunning for one now. You need to give it some time and work hard to show them that you deserve it. If you keep asking, it will only draw attention to the fact that you’re not ready — not to mention irritate them.

2. They micromanage you.

Your boss is always looking over your shoulder, sometimes even redoing your work. Micromanagement often comes from a place of insecurity on their part, but it could also be a sign that they don’t trust you. If it seems like they don’t micromanage others, just you, then that definitely doesn’t bode well for you.

3. They don’t seem to value your contributions.

Perhaps they take credit for your work. Or the things you actually do don’t seem like they’re all that big a deal to them. They might not even know about everything you’ve done. All of these circumstances could very well mean that that raise isn’t coming. 

4. Your relationship with your manager and/or coworkers isn’t strong.

When you don’t have a good working relationship with your team members, your reputation will suffer. You could also have trouble collaborating with others, which is always necessary for project success. Your manager will notice if you’re not getting along with others and will be reluctant to reward you.

5. Your boss always gives you less-than-appealing tasks.

It seems like you always get the grunt work, the boring and tedious assignments, the ones that don’t require any technical skills but need to get done. This shows that your boss may not think highly of your work and doesn’t trust you with the more complex assignments.

6. Your organization is in an uncertain place.

It’s also possible that this has nothing to do with you — your organization just isn’t in a place where they’re able to give raises right now. While this is discouraging, it’s an important reminder that timing is everything. Consider waiting for a better time, once your organization has weathered a storm or is otherwise in a healthier place fiscally. 

How to show your boss you actually do deserve a raise.

So, what can you do to show your boss that you DO deserve a raise? These strategies will help.

Draw attention to your accomplishments.

Perhaps your boss simply isn’t aware of your achievements. It’s up to you to make sure they do. While it’s in poor taste to constantly brag about what you’ve done, you can find more subtle ways to draw attention to your accomplishments, such as by asking, “What did you think of such-and-such campaign? I thought it went really well.”

Ask for feedback – and act on it.

Asking for feedback demonstrates that you want to learn and grow. But don’t stop there. If your manager offers constructive criticism, accept it gracefully, and show them that you’re paying attention by acting on their advice and making strides toward improvement.

Be honest with yourself.

Do you deserve a raise? Perhaps, deep down, you’re not really sure. If you don’t, consider what you need to do to improve your performance at work. Again, it’s a good idea to check in with your manager for feedback, and when you do go above and beyond, make sure they’re aware. This will ensure that you’re making yourself indispensable and cause them to take notice. That way, you’ll truly earn it when the time comes for your promotion.

What's your no. 1 piece of advice on asking for a raise? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

About the Career Expert:

 Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.

Why women love us:

  • Daily articles on career topics
  • Jobs at companies dedicated to hiring more women
  • Advice and support from an authentic community
  • Events that help you level up in your career
  • Free membership, always