Take the 2-minute tour ×
The Workplace Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for members of the workforce navigating the professional setting. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've been offered a position at another company for $50K more than what I am getting paid now. However, this other company doesn't completely interest me and I feel I might get bored with the work in a few months. I have a review at my current job soon. I enjoy my current job, yet there are a handful of things that bother me, which is why I'm looking at other opportunities.

Is there a way to use this offer from the other company to my advantage to have my current employer match the offer or better?

Both positions are for similar work and the companies are in the same city. Also, the benefits are fairly identical.

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Jim G., Jan Doggen, CMW, jcmeloni, John Oglesby Jan 29 at 5:45

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions seeking advice on what job to take, what skills to learn, etc. are off-topic as the answers are rarely useful to anyone else." – Jim G., jcmeloni, John Oglesby
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

13  
I suggest expressing the number in terms of percent of raise. If you already make 500k a year a 50k bump is far less than it is to someone making 50k a year now. –  ReallyTiredOfThisGame Sep 28 '12 at 12:47
5  
Don't kid yourself, take the money. Isn't that why you posted this? –  nikhil Oct 4 '12 at 17:52
3  
If one or two years isn't enough to retire on, why would anybody take the crap job is what I don't get. Entire years of crap? What does that do to your psyche? No level ofcompensation for leading a dreary daily existence for months to years at a time beats fair to competitive pay for work that interests you unless the money is completely absurd. You only live once. –  Erik Reppen Nov 22 '12 at 3:00

11 Answers 11

up vote 23 down vote accepted

The dilemma is that you shouldn't take a counter-offer, because employers will take the fact that you even have another offer as a sign of disloyalty. However, if the review is before the time that you need to give an answer, you could probably find a salary survey that suggests that you're worth more.

Let your boss know that you feel you should be making more, and if you don't get it at the review, then you know you can walk.

Personally, I'd probably take the other job without mentioning it to the current boss, and plan to make a sincere try at finding the other company's work interesting. Even if it isn't, I'd plan to stay there at least a year. My reasoning is that once you have the higher salary in your salary history, the next job you have after the one you take for $50K higher will be even higher than that.

Also, you have to look at your long-term net worth, and $50k knocked off your debt or saved if you don't have any debt will have a significant effect on your net worth over the long haul. Money isn't everything, but it's part of why we do this :-).

I say all this with the caveat that if you think you might have other offers in the near term, you might want to pass on this one, because you should make every effort to stay there at least a year (less doesn't look great on your resume), and it would be a shame to locked in to something that's not a great fit and then have your dream job come along a week later.

share|improve this answer
2  
Thanks for the insight, Amy. I've researched my salary and I'm currently in the lower range of it. I do plan on asking for a raise during my review and might get a few thousand if I'm lucky. Though, $50K is a significant amount and I don't expect anything near that. The other job includes a generous salary, but attempting to find the work interesting will be a struggle. Is there anything else I can do during my review without appearing disloyal to get a bigger raise? –  wwwuser Sep 28 '12 at 2:23
2  
I'd only use it as a confidence-builder: knowing you can get that elsewhere you can make the request without worrying they'll fire you for asking for too much. I've always heard not to accept a counter-offer, because they will use that to buy time while they quietly work to replace you. You may want to do a search on accepting a counter-offer to see what the pros and cons are. –  Amy Blankenship Sep 28 '12 at 2:31
8  
There's another approach to this that neither of you are talking about: dealing honestly with the current employer. Speaking as a former business owner I can tell you that if I have a good employee who likes working for me, but they can make an honest case that I'm not paying them fairly on the market, I'm going to listen to them. I did that in 1991 and it kept a very good employee from leaving. –  Peter Rowell Sep 28 '12 at 23:08
2  
I'm not sure I buy that. If they don't want to lose you, they don't want to lose you. Treating you like crap after the fact doesn't help them keep you. And if it's easy enough to get a new job (we didn't establish that, so that's more conditional advice), who cares? –  Erik Reppen Nov 22 '12 at 3:06
6  
I understand the concern about accepting a counter-offer, but I don't believe it's a generalizable case. When you have a marketable skill and your boss isn't necessarily in the loop on the rates of your employment, having an offer in hand and saying so isn't necessarily a death sentence -I've done it and had a long and sucessful career in the company I stayed with. –  bethlakshmi Nov 23 '12 at 19:01

First off, let's put some perspective on this amount. At the time of this writing, the median US family income is around $50k. So when you talk about being underpaid by $50k, you are talking about being underpaid by the income of an entire family.

So for 98% of the US population, that is a very relevant amount of money.

The first big question is have it "why is there a $50k difference"? It leads into general questions like:

  • Does your current boss actually have that much money available for a pay raise? Is that even a reasonable amount of money to receive as a raise?
  • Why is the pay difference so large? Is this just "market inefficiency"? Is someone acting recklessly? Does the company have large turn-over? Is it really just a bad job?
  • How easy is it to find a job beyond even that bigger one? Is it a "small world" or does churn happen regularly? (e.g.: start-up hopping is normal in some places, impossible in others)

Is there a way to use this offer from the other company to my advantage to have my current employer match the offer or better?

I have definitely worked for employers where this would be perfectly fair. However, this is clearly a nuanced question and I think that you really have to consider the people and companies involved.

You also have to consider the situation of your employer. $50k is a lot of money and that salary level you should already know if your employer has anywhere close to that much money to offer as a bonus /raise. If you have a performance review coming up, then bosses are already talking about your current and future salaries, so they probably have an answer to this question.

In my experience, I have seen the following:

  • Small company: no chance of doing a match, though you may able to get more just by pointing out the big difference.
  • Enterprise company: there is already a scale for pay and $50k is generally another scale all together.
  • Medium and Large companies: you actually have some chance of a match, but it will take a pay-check or two as people negotiate this.

At $5000 / month, I would bring up the salary question earlier rather than later. Avoid tipping your hand about the other job and let them be "good citizens" first. But it's perfectly legit to mention that you think you are worth more and that you're not the only one.

share|improve this answer
    
Who says the OP is from the US? –  Jan Doggen Jan 28 at 8:32
    
It's true, the OP could be from another part of the world. The goal with the US comparison was simply to provide a gauge that is not connected to a dollar number as that dollar number because less relevant over time. I am using the US as a baseline for this is the income difference of a typical family and this is a very relevant number for nearly every one in the current world's super-power. In 30 years the number ($50k) will be irrelevant, but the premise of one year's family income will still be relevant. –  Gates VP Jan 28 at 19:07

Please let me relate a personal story that is similar to your situation:

Many years back I was about 4 years out of college. I had worked for about a year and a half at a company where the work wasn't that interesting to me. Then I went to a place which was much more interesting. I had left the previous company on good terms and even did a few small favors for them over the next several months when they needed help. After being in the new place for 10 to 11 months, the old place offered me a 25% raise to go back to work for them. I wasn't interested in returning, but tried to use this offer as leverage to get a raise out of my then current employer. My manager passed this up to his boss who said something like "We can't match 25%, but we can give you 11%. However, since you're close to your review, you'll have to wait a couple months until that process is complete." She also assured me that with her approval this would go through. I liked the newer work enough that I accepted this (better benefits helped also) and turned down the offer from my old company. On the day my first paycheck with the 11% raise was supposed to arrive I got called into my manager's boss' office; the story now was "I'm really sorry, but my manager wouldn't approve your 11% raise, we can only give you a 5% raise." Knowing I'd burned the bridge with the old company, I started looking for a new job and started one about six weeks later, having received 3 job offers; however, none of them matched the salary I would have received if I'd taken the offer from my old company. This probably won't happen in your case, but it is in the realm of possibility.

Without explicitly thinking about it, many people could make more money by working in a different industry (e.g. finance vs. science), but choose what interests them. You have to decide if the interesting work is worth more than money to you, but also balance that against your future ability to provide for yourself and any family you may have (or gain), the lifestyle you want to live, your ability to retire early, etc.

If it were me now, I'd probably take that $50K raise and see how things work out at the new place. Maybe it will turn out to be better than you think. If not, in a year or two you can hunt for a new job, somewhat richer, and (presumably, since we don't know if $50K would double your salary or just be a 5% raise or what) with the potential to command a salary much higher than you make now. Maybe you can even return to the current company with a higher salary.

And yes, I realize I'm answering this a couple months after the question was asked, so the OP probably has settled things one way or the other, but maybe this will help someone in the future.

share|improve this answer
1  
A powerful story. An agreement that's not in writing is non existent! –  itcouldevenbeaboat Jan 21 at 14:36

What this higher offer has done is show you what you are worth. That is a key piece of information in any negotiation. The threat of you leaving isn't something you want to get into. Talk to your current supervisor and ask what the potential raise could be after your next evaluation. Are you up for a promotion? Do they have a cap on how much of an increase they will give anyone?

Your current company may want to pay you more, but they just don't have it in their budget.

Don't just look at the 50K in isolation-consider how it will compound over time. Every job you get will base their salary offer on your last job. Bonuses and raises are usually a percentage of current.

There will always be something you will prefer to do than your job. Boredom can be an occupational hazzard. Either you think you're breaking rocks or building cathedrals, it's up to you.

share|improve this answer
    
How do I ask what my potential raise could be at my next evaluation and ask if they have a cap of how much of an increase they will give anyone while not sounding like I just want more and more money? I have a few points that have greatly increased revenue and efficiency. Also, I'm the only one that understands the entire system we use. I think the other offer I received sees this, which is possibly one of the reasons for the large bump in salary. With my current boss, I have my doubts that they will understand its significance as much, since we work together everyday. –  wwwuser Sep 29 '12 at 17:29
    
Since you were given no indication about your bonus potential when hired, you may be working for a company that would hold this against you. If a company believes their bonus plan actually motiviates workers, they should know what they're working for. –  JeffO Oct 1 '12 at 2:59

You have three choices:

  • Take the new job, make 50K a year more and use the time to adjust to the new job, or find a better job in a year or two;
  • Tell the current boss about the new job, if they meet the demands then stay; but realize that they now figure that you are a short timer. They may now start grooming your replacement. Also realize that they won't consider you for the cool new project.
  • Decline the job offer, and keep looking. Yes they offered you 50K more, but realize that the extra money might be because they are desperate because they know that others have rejected the job.

Is there a way to use this offer from the other company to my advantage to have my current employer match the offer or better?

You can try the 2nd option, but you can't guarantee their reaction. They can meet the offer, partially meet the offer, or help you pack your desk. Be prepared to leave, if you don't leave when they don't meet the offer after asking for 50K more, they will know that you make idle threats.

share|improve this answer

If you came to me saying you had another offer in a different company I would let you go to that job (except under very rare situations).

My reasoning behind this. First if money is the primary motivator for your job, then it means you don't enjoy your work, or feel that you are not progressing at the company (if you are or not may or may not be the fault of your manager).

So with that realization, if I give you a pay increase there is a very good chance you will leave within a year anyway. This means I have spent more money on you and lost a resource instead of just losing a resource, with a chance to hire someone on same/cheaper salary.

Also ask yourself, if improving those working issues is worth $50K?

So come to your boss from another angle. Explain that you enjoy working there but there are a number of things that you would like to see improved in your working conditions. Also bring your solutions with the problems.

If you are working for a good company, they should listen to you and see about addressing your concerns. Or at the very least explaining why things are the way they are. If you are still not happy at that point then take the other job.

share|improve this answer

I've been in this situation. I saw an ad for a job and sent off my CV, I'd been interviewed and offered the job at twice the money by the end of the week. The different was mainly due to the different locations of the work. But I wasn't really so interested in the work, I enjoy working for my current company, but sometimes I felt undervalued (hence the application).

What I did was tell my boss that I'd received a very good offer, but wanted to know if he was willing to improve my pay and conditions, he said he was, but he couldn't match the offer in terms of pay. We agreed that I'd go away and think about what would improve my situation.

It became something of a shopping list and the things that are important to me are not necessarily important to you. But in the end I got a good deal I was happy with, he kept me on and was also happy.

My relationship with my boss has always been a good one and knowing him well, I asked for more than I expected and let him beat me down. This happened several years ago and I'm still happy with the company.

I also think I gained some respect by being able to show that I could walk into a better paid job.

share|improve this answer

If you're ready to leave, you're ready to leave. But if you're at all like me and you actually need to be somewhat interested, never take a job you don't really want. Because in that scenario, pay is just monopoly money for crap that delivers exponentially less value as you pay exponentially more in pain/tedium/lack-of-skill-advancement.

Waiting for a review to tell people you've had another offer is the wrong time. The right time is when you're seriously considering the other offer because you know you'd be happy there if the current job didn't feel worth sticking around for at the current pay. You're not certain so don't screw with what you have until you are certain.

share|improve this answer

Can you use this to better your position with your current employer? Possibly. It really depends upon your company, your supervisor, and how you present it. But realistically, unless you already make consideably more than 50k, you probably wouldn't be in this situation if your bosses were likely to respond well.

You can bring it up with your employer, being clear that you don't expect them to meet the offer, and that you prefer your current position, but you believe you should be doing better than your current salary. This might make them realize that their payscale is unproductive. It will make them realize that they are going to loose you if they don't give you a significant raise. The question is whether they consider that a bad thing or not. If they are fine with loosing you, then you will probably be out of a job soon...

No advice, it depends too much on unknowns specific to your sitution. But in generally, it's chancy at best.

share|improve this answer

With a $50K differential, either your current role is underpaid, the new one is overpaid, or a combination of the two.

Personally, as a line mangager, I don't respond at all well to the "pay me more, or I'll leave" threat; it feels like blackmail, and sooner or later if you give in once you will loose the "bidding war" anyway.

So - I'd suggest doing a review of sallaries for you industry at your experience/stage; this is better ammunition to push for a raise than another job offer. I'd also suggest there is no need to wait for a review for this conversation - if you are concerned, make an appointment to see your boss earlier.

share|improve this answer

This is a tricky situation.

If they counter and you take it , they may hold it against you the next time a performance review comes around and give you minimal compensation.

My advice from personal experience, if you're being underpaid by more than 10% of your market value and the only way to get your current employer to match it is by threatening to leave, you need to leave. They'll pay you now and then go back to under-paying and you'll be in the same boat 3-4-5 years down the road.

Take the money, force yourself to enjoy the new job for a year or two and then look again if you want.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.