I took a job 4 months ago. The job is a 12 month fixed term contract. I let the recruitment agent negotiate my salary, he ensured me he'd 'get the most for me'. I was happy with the salary offered and took the job.

I've since found my employer was advertising the job at +£5k more than the recruiter put me in at.

I'm the only developer there and I'm mad busy, they keep telling me how good my work is and how happy they are with me being on the team. I feel a little burnt about the salary thing though. Is there any professional way to bring it up? Or do I need to just swallow it up because I signed the contract?

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    Recruiters typically get a percentage of your annual salary as a commission for whatever it is they do. That's probably where the difference lies.
    – Blrfl
    Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 0:10
  • I'm not sure why the title was edited. The edit is incorrect. Commented Jun 22, 2013 at 15:23
  • @MattHarrison Sorry about that, I misunderstood the question. I'm glad to see you rolled back the changes :)
    – Rachel
    Commented Jun 24, 2013 at 14:29
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    I would suggest taking the information with you when you receive your glowing performance review 12 mos in, or whatever, and negotiate for more than the difference. You may not use it directly except to counter relevant objections such as budget constraints. Commented Feb 11, 2016 at 18:44

3 Answers 3


You signed the contract, so you're bound indeed. You can consider the difference as price for a good lesson: agents serve their pocket, not yours. And if you want something done well, do it yourself. (At least in the non-professional field. Leave doctoring to doctors, architecting to architects.) And at least do yourself a favor to verify things before signing, you could find the ad if you just looked, right?

Certainly every contract can be canceled, renegotiated, etc following up on the original agreement and using the law framework, you can ask raise nicely, or you can call up some ultimatum. Any of those carry risk, obviously. I'd probably wait up the next regular time point of salary raise/renegotiation, if such thing exist.

  • Agents usually get paid relative to the salary of the position they fill. Not getting the salary a company posts is just pure ignorance.
    – user8365
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 11:32
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    that might be based on the advertised amount, and if they ship someone for cheaper even some bonus would make sense
    – Balog Pal
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 11:34

The advertised salary for a new hire is generally the maximum available for the ideal candidate. It is very rare that the new candidate is 100% perfect, and so there will be some give and take in the negotiations for what they are prepared to offer you and what you are prepared to accept.

Since you did accept at your current rate, this was the rate you both compromised on. You agreed to this, so you are under contract; swallow it up until your contract ends. Nobody has cheated you; you agreed to this rate and it is quite possible they would not have gone higher based on your knowledge and experience at that time.

When you reach renegotiation, you can use this as leverage to argue for an increment. Your added experience and in-house knowledge now makes you worth at least as much as a new hire would be worth (you can say).

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    in my experience the advertised rate is not the maximum, it was the company would like to pay, and you can nearly always negotiate more than what was advertised
    – PeterH
    Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 7:15

You accepted the salary, so there is nothing you can do now.

This following information applies to the US. I don't know if it applies to the UK where you are, but it might apply to you. You indicated that you were in a contract position. If you are contracting through the recruiting agency, be aware that some companies will negotiate a rate with the company, then negotiate a rate with you. The recruiting company gets to keep all the money between the two figures. So for example, if they agreed to charge the company $100k for the year and agreed to pay you $80k then they would make a gross profit of $20k, which is their normal profit. If they get you to agree to a salary of $75k then they get to keep the extra $5k, making their gross profit $25k instead of $20k. This would only apply if you are contracted through the recruiting company, or a company under their control, but would not apply if you are contracted directly to the company.

Hypothetically, let's say the recruiting company's normal cost of placing you is $15k (salaries, advertising, commissions, etc). That would mean that they normally have a clear profit of $5k. If they can get you to take $5k less, they have now doubled their profit to $10k, so these recruiting companies have a strong incentive to do this. This happened to a friend of mine.

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