Negotiating internal job level promotions?

How negotiable is the promotion from an analyst I to an analyst II? I am about to be bumped up in job level and I am below the bottom 10% percentile by the most conservative actuary salary survey I could find for 4 years of experience. I assume they are going to offer me 5-10% and tell me I’ve done a great job. What they don’t know is I know I’m about to hit my salary cap for my job class and they don’t have a choice but to move me up. Do they have a choice? Say I pass an actuary exam and that automatic raise exceeds the salary cap what is going to happen? For context, I need about a 20% increase to get me to my goal.

Some strategies I can use… I can say I’d like to be placed at the midpoint and I’d like to turn down the promotion until they think that is appropriate. I can point out that I know I’m about to hit my cap, and that the raise is placing me below the midpoint of the next salary range, what is the justification for such a large decrease on the salary scale. I was also hired at the midpoint so why move me so far down the scale this time. I can bring up the actuary salary surveys on the internet.

Being placed at the company’s salary range midpoint for analyst II aligns with the salary surveys. I thought about pushing this hard as I have a strong case but I don’t want to cause a bunch of drama and tension between me and my manager if this whole conversation is pointless. My job is cake and I’m strongly comfortable, I don’t want a target on my back, I just want fair pay that’s close to the market rate.

Thoughts and opinions?

My thought is you can have one, but not both.

I’ve never successfully negotiated more from an internal promotion or annual raise, so I can’t really give advice there. I can say that if money is what you’re after, then you can tell your manager what you think you’re worth (I say let them figure out the salary caps or midpoints and all that), but be prepared to walk if they don’t agree. They’ll expect it I’m guessing if you ask for a raise and don’t get it.

Negotiating pay/promotions/etc. is all about how much they need/want to keep you and how hard you are to replace. If you’re well liked and your performance is strong then I wouldn’t be a jerk about it but I’d be blunt in asking for more money. Ideally you do this earlier in the year so by the time year end rolls around your manager (and his/hers) have a good idea that you’re going to be pushing for more. Keep in mind it’s entirely possibly/legal/etc for them to say no, in which case you can either accept it or look for another job.

If you have so-so ratings and/or aren’t particularly liked it probably makes sense to just look for another job if you think you’re worth more.

Take the actuarial survey to your boss and ask for that raise. S/he can say yes or no. Either way, start applying to new jobs as leverage/safety net.

Tenured employees are always underpaid compared to new ones. This happens at all companies.


My experience with internal negotiation has been poor. However, I’m a non-actuary and “the actuaries need to be rewarded first.” If you’re going to tell them you need the raise/promotion then you have to be willing to walk away if you don’t get it. Once management wins that particular game of chicken, you will never have the same kind of leverage again.

I think it depends on how you ask for it. Certainly if you make it an ultimatum and are called out on a bluff then you’re in a bad spot, but you can always just advocate for yourself by asking for a bigger role, etc. They might not give it to you but you’ll be giving hints that you’re a flight risk.

Why would you know this but they don’t know this?

Some companies do not let the employees know the salary band for their pay grade.

OP seems to be saying the opposite though. He knows his own salary band but his employer doesn’t?

He’s saying they don’t know that he knows.

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That makes tremendously more sense. I was interpreting that wrong. Thanks

Maybe. It depends how “automatic” those exam raises are.

I’ve been involved in several conversations about analysts at my employer who were in this situation. The managers at my employer always had a choice. One option was to let the person hit the salary band ceiling for their pay grade; the other was to promote them. The discussions were usually about how ready the person was for the next level, how much flight risk they would be if not promoted, timing of the next chance to promote them if not now, etc

Even if the exam raise is automatic, it doesn’t force them to promote you. I’ve seen several situations where a person was paid more than the salary band of their grade allowed. Usually it was due to a “reassignment of grade” (aka, a demotion) that was done without reducing the salary. The system didn’t explode or anything, the employee just didn’t get a raise until they got promoted, or inflation pushed the salary band up above their pay. (Or until they left for greener pastures, which is a much faster way to get a substantial raise.)

I wonder why you haven’t been promoted, yet, though. Did you get hired at the top of your salary band? “Your job is cake” sounds like you may not be working terribly hard. You usually need to be performing above grade level to get an internal promotion. But maybe your job is easy because you are really good at it.

How’s your relationship with your boss? If it’s good, you should ask for more money. But don’t just bring an external salary scale, ask what you need to do to be ready for a promotion.

And look for external opportunities if more money is very important to you.

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Thank you Marcie and Lucy, this is the answer I was looking for. My relationship with my boss is good. I guess I should have communicated that my boss has shared he plans on trying to promote me multiple times this year and has told me it’s coming up soon. I wanted to be approved to work remotely, and that was approved recently so I haven’t been fighting for more money. I think the promotion has more to do with hitting my cap than merit but I could be wrong.

I think my job is cake because I have largely automated it. I’ve had probably 5+ people and 3 different managers touch my work before me. There were many errors that I sniffed out, some having a direct effect on our bottom line. Sniffing out those errors have nearly eliminated most of my work spent on QAing and tracking down where the error is ect. We have software being launched that is about to take over a lot of my responsibilities, but it is already delayed over a year - until 2023.

I’ve always been the type to work smarter not harder, but yes I have noticed that hours in my seat seem to have a larger impact on my paycheck than the quality of my work or the value-added. More money isn’t terribly important, it’s the principle of the matter more than anything.