What Happens to My Recent Raise in a Merger?

By Keno Vigil

Stay cool and keep driving that 1998 Camry!

I wouldn’t go out and buy anything new right now. Your raise is probably safe if it has already been approved before the merger announcement. But it could make you vulnerable if you have moved into the top quadrant of your salary range.

Right now, you are just a name, a job title and a number on the acquirer’s spreadsheet. If you are in a customer-facing position, or in sales or product development, you are probably going to be fine.

If you are in a back office position like finance, marketing or human resources, with a high likelihood of job duplication, see if you can make a lateral move into one of those value-added roles above that acquirers are buying.

Say your company and the acquirer both have an employee onboarding managers. Once they combine the two companies, they won’t need both of you.

Let’s say you are managing a team of inside salespeople, covering a three-state area in New England. The Acquirer may or may not have a similar position, but you represent new sources of revenue, and profit. You may have valuable customer relationships in place that will allow the acquirer to accelerate revenue in that territory. This is why they bought you in the first place.

And consider this scenario: the acquirer already has someone managing that exact sales territory and their performance is adequate, or even exceptional. More than likely, you are going to keep you current position, salary and bonus plan. You just might have to move into a managing a new sales territory, or change the focus (industry, product line) within the current sales territory. Or the acquirer may want both inside sales managers working the same territory, in essence “doubling down” on the sales effort in order to eliminate a weak competitor and grow market share.

On a positive note, if you do have to leave the company, you will now have a higher starting salary somewhere else. And you might want to put some of that raise toward a hair stylist, a gym membership and a new suit. Don't use it to travel to Aruba, just yet.