4

Near the beginning of the year I put out my resume on Monster, Indeed and other job sites to get an idea of my market value. Its very easy for software engineers to be working at a discount if they are out of college and have been with the same company for many years. In my case, I was hired in at 60k. I built my way up to 82k with 2-3% raises in about 5.5 years. From discussing with recruiters and doing a bunch of market research I concluded that the value I should be working for at the low end is 90k. Earlier this year I got a very nice letter from my program's customer's president giving appreciation to me and my impact on the customer's product. He CC'd many of the head executives at my company for our division (my company is not small ~20k employees). Despite being touched, I knew I was working at a discount and saved the e-mail and all my research to go in to ask for a raise.

When I did, I made my case:

  • I am hunting
  • my low end salary should be at least 90k
  • e-mails from the customer's president
  • my impact on my team

Within about a week I got the low end market value I mentioned earlier with a contingency I stop looking. Truthfully, I still felt that was too low and was hoping the engineering manager would have fought for something higher, but I didn't want to sound ungrateful on the phone and thanked him for the raise. That was the end of that. This was in March of 2017.

In any case, since then I had been happy but now my company wants to pass the program on to the customer and no longer wants anything to do with it. (Politics with the customer and company executives). I started to look elsewhere again (within the company and outside). Externally, I am expecting a job offer at around 105k per year minimum as that was what I said was the lowest I would work for that company. Currently with annual review, I am now at 92k per year. It is November 2017 and companies are calling me left and right. I still want to join other programs within my company and I am not ready to leave but being paid a salary that I feel is below my market value leaves a bad taste.

Would it be wrong of me to ask for a matching salary, with an offer letter from company#2, to the same engineering manager who asked that I no longer hunt for jobs? He will probably feel somewhat betrayed when and if I show him an offer letter. In some ways this feels wrong and in-genuine to ask again with an offer letter, in other ways it doesn't feel right to work for less when another company is wiling to pay me more. How do I go about these treacherous waters? Is it kosher to negotiate twice 8 months apart like that?

  • 3
    Do I mention a competing offer when negotiating a raise? You probably shouldn't have mentioned that you're looking in the first place, or you at least should've negotiated for a big enough raise to make you content for at least a while. – Dukeling Nov 13 '17 at 4:11
  • There is no right or wrong in negotiating salary, but how far do you think you will get with someone when you broke an agreement with them? If you are getting so many offers for better pay, why don't you take them? – Seth R Nov 13 '17 at 4:46
  • 3
    Just join the other company. You will get the better salary without any hard feelings. – Wilbert Nov 13 '17 at 12:18
  • What I learned is that you should never make any promises or commitments that you are not really sure about whether you can keep them. – NoBackingDown Nov 13 '17 at 12:39
  • 3
    You asked for the low 90s, you got it. Now you have the nerve to say you expected more? Really, if you wanted more, then you should have negotiated for more. However, from 82 to 92 is a huge raise. I would not expect any company to give you another more than 10K raise in less than a year. Companies have budgets.. – HLGEM Nov 13 '17 at 16:15
20

I think you are setting yourself up to be fired.

First, and most importantly, you have broken the contingency on which your higher salary rests. Your manager laid out the conditions for your increased salary and you violated them in less than a year. By bringing up the other job offer in any capacity, you will be showing your manager that he cannot trust you.

Second, I wouldn't expect that you could negotiate a higher salary twice in five years, let alone one. You would be sending a message that you are not committed to the company at best, and that you are manipulating them for higher salaries, at worst. I would not bother with an employee who threatens to leave twice in one year. I'd either let them leave or shove them out the door myself.

So the short answer is you don't negotiate for a higher salary twice in one year. You did a good job of it the first time around, but that is the kind of move you only get to pull a handful of times in your career. If you want a higher salary, then you're probably going to have to leave your job to get it. I don't know how you are going to do that without burning bridges with your current manager/employer, for the reasons outlined above.

  • To be honest, attrition at my company is horrendous. The contingency feels soft especially in such a large corporation. But at the same time I do feel awkward going in being soft about leaving and not actually leaving. I dont care for the work at the 105 k company, its more of the same and I have to move. So I am wondering what I should do here, I feel like I'm worth the increase. – LeanMan Nov 14 '17 at 5:32
  • 1
    You might be worth the increase, but the opportunity to get it from your current company has now passed. And while your company may be large, you should be thinking about this in terms of the size of your immediate team. Your CEO may not care about individual employees leaving, but your manager does; he's managing his budget and trying to figure out what's best for his team. He's also the person who would give you a reference. I can't tell you what the best decision is for you, but I can tell you you're not getting that second salary increase at your current company. – TheSoundDefense Nov 14 '17 at 17:43
8

I imagine that your manager probably will feel betrayed, and I can't say I'd blame him.

You were underpaid, negotiated a raise (which you claimed to be happy with) then decided that you weren't in fact happy with it and now you want another bite at the cherry.

Obviously you are perfectly entitled to look for other jobs and to take one if you prefer the offer, and that's regardless of any informal agreements not to be job searching but trying to leverage an offer into another raise in less than 9 months because you messed up the negotiations last time is going to come off as massively unprofessional at best and downright unscrupulous at worst.

If the jump in salary with the new offer is sufficient to make the difference then take it. There's nothing wrong with doing that and if your manager is a reasonable person then they will probably wish you all the best. If you want to soften the blow you can tell a bit of white lie and say that you weren't planning on leaving but that the opportunity was too good to pass up.

3

Simply take your manager‘s perspective to answer your question. He or she will get the impression that

  • your main interest is money, not the company
  • you are never satisfied, at least not longer than a few months
  • you will continue to look for other jobs in any case

As a result, you will appear as a non-loyal and unsatisfied employee which is the type of employee one cannot rely on.

I recommend to think about what you want. You did not mention if your current job is satisfactory or if you think another job might give you a better perspective, but I believe this should be the key question. If you always only look at the money, you end up as a job hopper.

So the answer is, no, you cannot ask again without loosing confidence. Either be content or leave.

1

You will probably have to leave if you want more money. Your company clearly is not monitoring market rates and offering them to you, and especially since you promised to stop looking is unlikely to be impressed if you come to them with evidence of breaking that agreement.

Best to move on now and don't repeat this mistake at your new company. I'd suggest telling them up front as a condition of you accepting the offer that you expect your salary to increase in line with the market, which will likely be well above the 2-3% they might normally offer. The only other option is to keep moving every few years, if employers are unwilling to pay enough to retain staff.

  • I would not say up front that I am expecting salary increase with the market, for two reasons: he has to take some time to show he is important to the company, and maybe he will have reasons to ask for a raise higher than the market fluctuation (greater responsibilities, promotions, seniority, etc.) – user79491 Nov 13 '17 at 21:24
  • I usually enquire about the company policy on raises as part of the salary negotiation. It's a normal thing to do, along with considering bonuses and other benefits. – user Nov 14 '17 at 16:47
  • I have nothing against asking how the salary increase policy works, but a valid answer is "by evaluation of performance". And establishing a condition of salary increase according to market fluctuation, while they do not know if you are going to be a below or above average worker, is a difficult decision to take. It is even more difficult in countries where firing an employee is quite regulated and subject to expensive indemnities. – user79491 Nov 14 '17 at 22:27
  • If the policy is just "evaluation of performance" and not "evaluation of performance AND in line with market conditions" then they are planning to screw you. Give a competitive salary up front, then hold back on increases and hope inertial will keep you there. – user Nov 15 '17 at 10:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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