I have worked for a small family run business for the past 3 years, I am paid approximately £10,000 below market rate and until now I have accepted that because I liked the culture and the flexibility that a small business offered and I also understand the budget constraints small businesses work under.

We have now been bought out by a medium sized multi-national and things are taking a more corporate turn and the culture has shifted to become more formal. I am no longer willing to accept a below market salary because our parent company can more than afford to pay the correct rate for developers and because what attracted me to the position is slowly being eroded, also I feel we have been working in crisis mode for the past 6 months and I am started to feel burnt out.

I have secured three job offers all paying more than £10,000 on top of what I already earn but ideally I would just like my current employer to match those offers, what is the best way to try to make that happen ?

Also I should add that I was asked by my boss a month ago if I was searching for a new job and I flat out told him no, which was true at the time, but due to the timing it might look like I have been dishonest about my future intentions.

  • I don't think this is a duplicate. This question is how to handle a offer from another employer to get a counter offer. The other does not mention another offer in the question. – Ronnie W Sep 17 '15 at 18:13

Are you sure that salary is the only sticking point here?

You mention a changing company culture, that what attracted you to this company is "eroding", and that you are feeling burnt out. These are all classic signs of someone who really wants to leave - without even factoring in your feelings about salary. In my experience, an increase in salary never really compensates for these other factors - perhaps it will be different for you.

Anyway, let's assume that salary is indeed the only obstacle, and suggest an approach for you.

First, make sure your three job offers are firm. If your negotiations with your current employer don't work out, you want to make sure you have a good place to go.

Then, go to your boss and be honest. Tell him that while you weren't searching a month ago, things have changed recently. You have found a new position which is offering you the salary you seek. But you would prefer to stay with the company because you like them so much, if only it weren't for the salary.

Ask him directly "Do you think you could pay me £10,000 more?"

Be prepared with how you intend to respond for all possible answers:

  • No, we cannot pay you more than we currently do
  • No, we cannot pay you that much, but we can pay you £X more, or offer some other benefit
  • Yes, we can match that
  • No, and you are fired (unlikely, but it happens).

No matter what your boss says, don't take it personally, just consider it part of business.

You may not be able to get a sufficient counter-offer. But if you already have three firm offers at other companies, it's worthwhile to give this one another shot.

  • 3
    +1 for pointing out that there's much more than money in play here. Counteroffers rarely help keep someone in the same company, because the money wasn't the real reason they went looking in the first place. – alroc Apr 25 '13 at 13:19
  • 1
    I'd stress out that spoken offers have a value of exactly zero: he'll promise you anything, but don't trust a word unless it's on paper and signed. – o0'. Aug 8 '15 at 14:27

Open and honest is probably the best way to start. You could try "After the takeover I have started think about my career. I think we lost a few cultural benefits and I suspect I'm being paid below market. In order to asses this, I've started to look around a bit and that seems to confirm my assessment".

After an opener like this, let you boss talk and see where it goes. I wouldn't pull out any offer letters until specifically asked and/or it's not going anywhere. It's important to know exactly what you want out of the conversation.

Having a clear target up front (example: If I get 10k more I stay) gives you a much stronger negotiating position. That would also mean, that if they only offering 8k, you walk.

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