I received an interesting offer from another company in another city, which pays around £10k a year more than my current job. I like my current job and I am fairly good at it, and my boss knows. However I believe that I am currently underpaid. Looking on the internet, the average salary for my job in UK (excluding London) is around £12k more what I earn now a year. I would rather stay at my current job, but the other option is also interesting, so I used it to try to get a pay rise. I approached my boss and told him that I have another offer and that, even though I like the company, I feel underpaid. He didn't ask how much more they were offering, and I didn't say. Few days later I told me his counter offer, which was "only" £4.5k a year more than what I get now. I told him that the other company still pays more, so I will still consider the other option (I will need to give a final decision in a week, and I told him that). At this point he asked me how much they were offering, and I told him. He said something like "ok, I'll let you know", but didn't look super convinced.

To be honest, I think I would stay at my current job even if he cannot match the £10k more they are offering over there. I would for around £7-8k more, but £4.5k more is too low, considering that I can use this "trick" for a pay rise only once.

I am on holiday for the next week. The other job expect an answer in around a week, so more or less when I am back at work. Please consider that IF at my current job they cannot increase the pay rise, I will happily leave (that is: I am not bluffing).


What should I do if, in a week, he hasn't let me know anything? How should I approach my boss? A) Should I approach him asking "do you think you can get closer to what they are offering"? B) Should I give him the resignation letter directly?

Sorry if I come forward as a greedy person. The two jobs are really similar in terms of what I am gonna do, one of them is closer to home and pays much better, but I know and like the current one - so overall they balance out, a part from the big difference in salary.

NOTE: My boss has a very high position in the company, and thus I strongly believe that he can single handedly decide about my salary.

  • 3
  • For the sake of clarity. Are you specifically, and ONLY, looking for answers to your two questions A) and B) in your second to last paragraph, or are you looking for input on the entire approach of using an external offer as leverage with a current employer?
    – dwizum
    Mar 26, 2018 at 14:40
  • General input is appreciated
    – Vaaal88
    Mar 26, 2018 at 15:39
  • 1
    @Mawg clearly depends on the company. Another guy in the company did the same (he also received another offer). As a result, they gave him a pay rise, they move him in the team he wanted to be, and now is a happy and valuable employee of the company.
    – Vaaal88
    Mar 29, 2018 at 11:08
  • 1
    I really think so. I will soon post the development of this
    – Vaaal88
    Mar 29, 2018 at 12:22

4 Answers 4


I assume this is software related,

  • "the average salary for my job in UK (excluding London) is around £12k times more what I earn now a year"

If that is really true, you should immediately leave the current company.

  • "How to approach boss..."

Here's how to phrase it:

"Hi John. I've been offered £123.456 from Smith Software in Bigtown."

So, that's the exact language you need.

  • "The other job expect an answer in around a week..."

Suggest: you are making a real mistake there. If this is software, nobody wants to wait a week. If an engineer says "I have to think about it" ... companies just move on. If you contact them again "in a week" it's likely they will have simply forgotten about you, or the project will have totally changed anyway.

You mention a holiday; you can holiday any time; suggest put it aside. Grab the new better offer with both hands, tell them you want to start immediately or sooner, and enjoy that new role.

Everything you have said suggests current company is "cheap". That never changes, move on.

  • 2
    Are you from the US? Software companies in the UK are usually happy to wait a week for people to make their mind up. They will have to wait for a month (or possibly three) for him to work out his notice anyway. Obviously they'd rather not wait, but if they have said "we need an answer within a week", they will accept a "yes" given within a week. Mar 26, 2018 at 14:29
  • The £ symbol gives it away - UK
    – Mawg
    Mar 29, 2018 at 10:12

It is unlikely that you will be able to get the salary you want from your current employer, and even if you could get it do you think your boss will be looking to give you a decent pay rise next year?

Sadly, leaving is probably your best option. Low pay jobs often are quite good in terms of work environment, because higher pay usually implies more responsibility and thus a more "serious" attitude.

  • no dv, but I disagree with the last para - the best places tend to have a better environment because you're worth more to them, and they'd rather not lose you. once you're in the top 1% bracket, conditions get steadily better.
    – bharal
    Apr 1, 2018 at 4:47

To evaluate that you need a lot more than "only" the salary.

Does your boss now really underpay or are "surprises" in the new job that could explain the higher salary? More worktime? A company that expects 1 h per day overtime of course can pay more than anotherone.

What do you know about the new job? Conditions, expectations...? Will you like it as you like the current job? What about the team, the company culture in general?
Calculate what is left from the other salary, after taxes and eventually more commuting and all the rest.
Then confront the pros and cons.


Don't worry about coming across as greedy: "the labourer is worthy of his hire." (Luke 10:7).

I would phone/email your boss, and give him a deadline that you need a final answer by the day before you have to reply to the other firm. Then as soon as you have an answer from your present employer, get back to the other firm. Certainly prompt him that an answer below the other firm's offer would be accepted (but don't tell him how much). Something like "Could you come closer to their offer? even if you can't match it?"

Do consider the overall costs/benefits. Will you have to relocate? How much will housing and travel cost in the new location, relative to your current location? (If you move from Hull to Bath, £10k won't cover your extra living costs.)

  • I like this as it puts the good value to the worker which, in some specialized jobs like mine, it makes sense. I have visited the new company's office today and I was not happy about it. Overall, I am almost sure I am not going to accept this offer. However, I still feel underpaid. What is your advice about how to proceed here? Should I ask my current company if they think they can get closer to the other company's salary? (without telling them I plan to stay anyway)
    – Vaaal88
    Mar 27, 2018 at 16:18

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