About three months ago I started as a data analyst at a pretty established company that has been growing really well year to year. I have 3 years of experience in both software engineering and data analysis from previous companies, including a big tech one in the Bay Area (although I was a contractor at that one).

I hold a B.S. in Mathematics and Economics from a prestigious school and currently I am an M.S. candidate in applied statistics and going part time (starting classes this upcoming February). The role as it was posted was to be purely analytical, but unfortunately for the past three months I have been asked to build analysis tools and even build a DB from scratch with all the appropriate ETL piping. Not really an issue for me and I completed everything that was requested on time, but no one else in my workplace would have been capable of pulling this off.

At my 90 day review time I was given the max score and was told that I exceed all expectations. I brought up the fact that I was doing work closer to that of a Data Engineer and that perhaps we should revise the compensation package to reflect my role accordingly.

Unfortunately I was told that it simply was not in the budget and that compensation would be a topic for my next yearly review (which is in a year of course). It felt pretty disheartening to hear those words, but I am wondering if perhaps it was too early to ask to look at salary after only 90 days. I additionally just cannot shake that feeling that perhaps both my direct manager and associate director of my team might look at me differently as a result.

Anyone have thoughts on this?

Just a quick edit for those wondering: the compensation package for my original role is pretty good for my market. It looks like my question was flagged as being similar to another. I am not asking advice on how to approach salary negotiations, I was just wondering if it was appropriate to ask for a bump after just 90 days and if this might affect my future relationship with this employer (coming off as "greedy" for example)

  • 1
    Hi and welcome, in order to make this a valid question, you need to rephrase it in a way that doesn't sound like just complaining or asking for a very open opinion on your situation. Nevertheless your situation seem pretty straightforward, you just passed your 90 period time and told there is not enough budget, either leave or wait until next review Dec 6, 2017 at 1:24
  • Hey, thanks for the advice! I guess my real question was on was it appropriate to ask for a salary review just 90 days in and does rejection for "no budget" which to me seemed like an excuse be an indicator of perhaps this company not wanting to compensate employees fairly
    – Macterror
    Dec 6, 2017 at 2:40
  • Where you say: "I have been asked to build analysis tools and even build a DB from scratch ...", was this simply an emergency or two that came up or do you think they hired you for one job (and wage, which you describe as "pretty good", for the original job description) and then simply switched the job description day one?
    – Rob
    Dec 6, 2017 at 4:35
  • Nope this was not on emergency, day one I was assigned data engineering tasks and even during my review I was essentially told that all my future projects will involved building tools for data driven decision making versus just analysis and submitting reports
    – Macterror
    Dec 6, 2017 at 4:54
  • Macterror, an AD (or job description) for employment that misrepresents the terms of employment or which remains silent on the wages but what is offered is so low that no one would accept is fraud - "California law protects workers from intentional fraud by employers. Fraud occurs when an employer makes a misrepresentation about the terms and conditions of employment. When an employee relies on the misrepresentation to accept or continue employment, ..." - Source: minnisandsmallets.com/practice-areas-employment-law/… .
    – Rob
    Dec 6, 2017 at 6:59

2 Answers 2


While I think you actually have a pretty solid reason to be looking for a pay increase given the role you're doing requires additional skills to what you were hired on to do and have already demonstrated your "value" to the company by being the only current employee with those skills. I think the 90 day mark is probably too soon to realistically expect them to be making a change like that and while "budget" can be a convenient excuse to hide behind I see no reason not to believe it here. Salaries are often a significant portion of a companies budget and they often plan them relatively far in advance, and while it's not unheard of for employers to be able to squeeze some extra out in exigent circumstances this is finite and will only be used sparingly so I think for now you can take the comments at face value.

I do think that raising the question was a good idea though - simply because it will be useful as part of a a longer term strategy, if the type of work you are doing carries on in the same vein (as they seemed to indicate during the review) then the next time a review rolls around you can say something like:

As I mentioned during my last review I've been doing a more skilled role over and above what I was originally recruited for, I've been doing so ever since and this has included successfully completing projects a,b & c over the last x months and I think I've proven my value to the company. With that in mind I'd like to see my compensation package updated to reflect what I'm bringing to the table.

The fact that you already discussed the issue of compensation previously will head off any avenue of the company using the negotiating tactic of being "surprised" that you would expect a higher level of compensation for this sort of work and therefore being unable to provide such compensation on short notice. It's a professional yet gentle shot across the bows as it were. It also heads off the "budget" argument somewhat since unless they really are operating the budget to the bone (which some companies are, especially in today's economic climate) then they should have advance warning that they probably need to budget for an increase for you.

The scenario posited by @Rob in his comment whereby the company has deliberately advertised the position as one thing in order to fulfill a different (more expensive) role on the "cheap" is possible I think unless you've seen other red flags about this organisation then I'd apply Hanlon's Razor at this point and assume that they simply had a different internal expectation of a "Data Analyst" vs a "Data Engineer" - job titles like that are always a bit vague and open to interpretation anyway. Obviously if you see other indications that make you think they are deliberately trying to underpay you then you'll probably want to start a quiet job hunt for somewhere that will appropriately value your skills but otherwise I'd carry on.

  • This was an extremely insightful read. I will definitely take your advice and wait for the next review that rolls around unless I do see more signs of this company trying to underpay me
    – Macterror
    Dec 6, 2017 at 14:04

I do not think you should ask for more compensation 90 days into the job even if you are doing more than you think you should be doing at this level.

Sometimes the specific job duties you do are very difficult to categorize into one role or other. You may think you are at advanced role but very likely someone can make a very good counter argument to that. These things are usually are in grey area. Unless the line between the two roles is extremely clear and you are beyond any doubt and argument on the other side, I suggest let it go.

You would not expect your company to deduct your salary in 90 days if you did not do the job you are currently assigned correctly. This will all go in your performance review and the compensation will be decided accordingly. If you are rated "exceeding expectations", it will surely influence your compensation review whenever it is due.

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