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I am junior Java developer with few experience (6 months). I am pretty sure that my current company (about 200k employees) is still interested in employing me. My actual contract is ending, and I would like to know if the arguments mentioned below are worth touching during a conversation with my manager:

  • Some people are leaving the team. When I started the job (first contact with commercial IT) I was 6-th in IT experience "ranking" in our back-end team. Soon (less than 1 month), I will be 2-nd in that "ranking" and 1-st looking on the experience straightly in our project (colleague has more experience in IT, but less in our project). I am aware that quantity of my experience may be funny, but despite that I would like to ask if it is worth mentioning.

  • I have been working (with success) for about 3 months with a part of the project, let's name this part X. One senior (many years of experience, very well knowledge about our project) and other developer (a couple years of experience) said, that it is one of the most complex part of the project or even the most complex. Soon (less than 1 month) I will (if I stay) become the only one who do anything in X.

  • I have strong suspicions, that salary levels have not changed for more than 2 years (they will propose me the same salary like for someone in similar situation but let's say 2-3 years ago).

I predict, that they will offer me a little bit less than the average for this position in my part of the world. Would these arguments help me negotiate my contract renewal? Could you share with me any other ideas that could be effective in such negotiation?

  • Hey Andrzej, welcome to The Workplace. I like to ask you for some clarifications: So, is your current contract soon to end, and are about to re-negotiate it? ... Have you considered other option in other companies in case this does not work out? – DarkCygnus Sep 24 '18 at 20:56
  • Hey. My contract ends 31.09. I have done small research, sent my resume to a couple of companies but it has not finished in receiving an offer. Thank you for help with edition. – Andrzej Sep 24 '18 at 21:04
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    Your contract ends in a week? You should be getting on that ASAP. If you don't have something firm in place, at around 2 weeks you should probably start panicking, if not long before. A job search can take months. – NotThatGuy Sep 24 '18 at 21:10
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Speaking generally, most of the points you make there unfortunately aren't worth a great deal of salt in a salary negotiation:

  • You have half a year's commercial experience, which is very little in the grand scheme of things. You can try to dress that up all you like by ranking yourself against other junior employees, but no-one in charge of salary decisions is likely to be swayed by that.
  • If salary hasn't changed for 2-3 years in the entire company of 200k employees, then they're not going to bump it up on the say so of a junior dev. If your salary hadn't changed for 2-3 years that'd be different, and would be something worthwhile in pointing out (but since you've only been there 6 months that can't be the case.)
  • Objectively speaking, if project X is only being worked on by a junior dev with 6 months experience and no-one else, then they can't really care about X that much.

However, you mention an important fact in a comment:

My contract ends 31.09.

That's less than a week at the time of writing. YMMV, but in my experience, companies sort out contract renewals a lot sooner than this if they want to keep you (think months in advance.)

If you haven't yet approached them about contract renewal at this point, and still really want to renew your contract ASAP, you're not really in a position to negotiate on salary at all.

  • Thank you for your answer. It may not change the things but: 1) As I hope I said, I was ranking myself against all back-end team, not just juniors. Before it was like: senior, some mids, some juniors, me. Soon: mid/junior, me, others. 2) x is not a project, it is a part of the project. You may want to edit your answer to make it more precise. – Andrzej Sep 25 '18 at 8:53
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Without knowing more information about what the company's plan is for the next year or so (which you are probably unlikely to know) it's hard to be definitive here as to what arguments are best placed to get you what you want.

Some people are leaving the team.

Assuming these people are leaving because of their own reasons rather than because the company is looking to trim numbers in the team then this is possibly the strongest factor in your favour. Your 6 months of experience isn't a huge amount in the grand scheme of things but in a company where much of the domain knowledge is walking out of the door very soon it makes a great deal of sense to preserve what remains. In businesses where the codebase and/or business operations are complex or specific to the company it can take 6-12 weeks for a new developer to fully understand what they are working with - and that's with knowledgeable colleagues to help.

Soon (less than 1 month) I will (if I stay) become the only one who do anything in X.

This dovetails nicely with the point above - assuming 'X' is something important to the business then having one developer who knows the ins-and-outs of 'X' could be immensely valuable.

So in any negotiation you need to stress both the breadth and depth of your knowledge that is specific to this company and their projects.

I have strong suspicions, that salary levels have not changed for more than 2 years (they will propose me the same salary like for someone in similar situation but let's say 2-3 years ago).

If low salary is a company/department wide issue it's going to be difficult for you to buck that trend - and I don't think it's a great leap to suggest that this might have been a factor in the number of more senior staff leaving. If that's the case then the indications are that the company is unlikely to bend much if at all on using increased salary to retain staff - otherwise I'd have expected it to have happened by now for one of the other departing staff and since your relatively low experience levels mean you won't have quite the same power in the open market you don't have that much leverage to say "I'll go elsewhere"

My contract ends 31.09. I have done small research, sent my resume to a couple of companies but it has not finished in receiving an offer.

Okay this isn't great.. not only have the company not been pro-active in retaining you but you haven't been able to generate yourself much in the way of an alternative. It's possible that the company isn't really on top of organising renewals (or doesn't expect you to leave), something that would be reinforced if they haven't been discussing any sort of hand over with you. However this is something of a missed opportunity for you to establish your market worth and have an offer or two in your pocket with which to argue for a raise. Depending upon your personal circumstances you could find yourself in a position where you pretty much have to take whatever they offer you.

In summary I think your chances of getting a new contract aren't too bad but I wouldn't be expecting to get mega money for it. You probably want to get on this ASAP. Try and get a one-to-one with your manager today if you can!

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