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I am employed by Company A and working for one of their clients. I have my own manager with this particular client, at the client site, and they all seem to like me. I am also looking for a new job with higher pay.

I have been thinking if I could ask the client directly if they are hiring and just get hired by them instead of going through company A? Would that be ethical? Would it possibly bump my salary?

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  • Are you working as a contractor for Company A? Are you under any legal obligation to stay with Company A?
    – MattR
    Feb 14, 2019 at 19:55
  • @MattR, I'm an employe, no to both questions
    – PYaj
    Feb 14, 2019 at 19:58
  • I don't know where you live, but in Europe there's freedom of movement, so whatever somebody tells you, you can talk to any company for changing a job.
    – Dominique
    Feb 14, 2019 at 20:50

2 Answers 2

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Doing great work gives you more employment options!

I've been on contracts and working with indirect clients before and have been given employment opportunities by said contractors/clients. I know others have experienced this too. When you do great work and are great employee, you will naturally attract offers. That's how business works and that is completely normal.

There is no harm in asking, but you want to make sure that you handle this carefully:

  • Get a feel for the client company. When you said:

    and they all seem to like me

    This is a good sign! Continue to work hard and gain their trust and partnership. The more you work well with a company, the more people want to hire you. Try to understand if an offer is something that is truly possible

  • Make sure you have no contractual obligation to your current company or in any legal documents you have signed. Sometimes when you work for a big B2B (Business to Business) company, they may have specific legal language or non-competes that would make working for a client be in breach of contract.

  • Leave your current company without burning bridges. Give the required leave notice and leave on good terms.

  • Do be prepared if this back-fires. Applying to the client would normally force you to keep an updated resume, but keep one just in case Company A is displeased. This doesn't seem like a likely occurrence, but if Company A gets wind of dealings with the client, they may see your "lack of loyalty" as a red flag.(However, if you work for a company that works like this, it may be a good thing...)

Bettering yourself with a better job and higher pay is something you should always be looking for! This can be a great thing if/when you make a jump to the client company because you can be a SME (subject matter expert) for the B2B relationship and future projects. This is an ethical, and honestly, quite normal occurrence in the business world.

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It is very common for companies to have no-poaching agreements in place. You could certainly ask but be prepared for any potential fall out. That fall out could include Company B letting your manager at Company A know you had asked this question as a preemptive way to getting someone else to handle your position for fear of you leaving.

Company B has no ethical or moral issues about disclosing to your management that they've found out you are looking. If they have an anti-poaching agreement in place or simply use your company for far more than just your time then it is actually to Company B's benefit to disclose it. If you are actually trying to find another job I'd say you are far better off not asking Company B about a job.

Also, if you are working on anything sensitive or highly sought for which Company A might hold patents then you will want to consult an attorney before even considering talking to Company B.

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  • Ah - good points on the patents.
    – MattR
    Feb 14, 2019 at 20:28

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