Perhaps my situation is unique, so please allow me to explain.

I work as a front-end developer for a small company in San Francisco. Because this company is in a unique industry, I was told during the initial interview that I would need to learn the entire industry in addition to their "software system."

They extended me an offer of $18/hr for the training period, which is coming to a close after 3 weeks. They explicitly stated in my offer that we would discuss a long term arrangement at the end of the trial period.

I'm looking for something closer to $25/hr (50/yr). The company's owners have exclaimed that they are thrilled to have me on board multiple times and I personally really like working there. They are planning on extending me an offer of fulltime, permanent employment today. The problem is, there has been no mention of salary or renegotiation of hourly rate.

I like to be straightforward with people. Honestly, I don't see myself working for them long term at $18/hr. In fact, I will probably start looking for a new job immediately if I'm not able to make any progress today.

My hope is that they will open up the discussion about compensation, but I'm trying to be prepared in case they don't. What's the best way to bring up money without severing the great relationship I have with the owner?

  • 5
    This is likely a unique scenario. Normally, the discussion is important to broach, but in this case, I can't imagine a developer working in San Francisco for as little as $25/hr. The company will likely jump all over that rate and consider themselves lucky no matter how you broach the topic.
    – Telastyn
    Aug 17, 2013 at 16:36
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    Possible duplicate:workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/1025/…
    – atk
    Aug 17, 2013 at 21:43
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    Is being paid less for the time it takes to get up to speed a normal thing? I would just be straightforward with your boss, and state what you expect and deserve (do have a look around what is normal). If they take offense to this, the are plain bad business people. Aug 18, 2013 at 18:14
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    Have a second option. Otherwise you don't really have a choice anyway do you? Aug 18, 2013 at 22:59
  • The solution is simple and isn't really unique. Once discussions start about the permanent position determine what the offer is exactly. Unless you have no prior experience at all even $25/hr is extremely low. If they don't offer the rate you are looking for don't agree to that rate. Be prepared to walk away from the position. Learning the industry is harder then learning their software.
    – Donald
    Aug 19, 2013 at 12:24

2 Answers 2


An offer is not immutable. Since you know it's coming anyway, I would wait for it and then respond as necessary. There are basically two possibilities:

  1. It's lower than the $25/hr you're seeking. In that case you respond by saying that you'd really like to continue but you were expecting a higher salary, and let's talk. Note that there could also be benefits changes kicking in, so evaluate the whole package.

  2. They wouldn't think anybody would work for as little as $25/hr in your field and location, and the offer is higher. Shut up and take it. :-)

If you bring it up first, you pretty much guarantee that #2 won't happen. Since you already have a relationship that you're both otherwise happy with, it's in their interest for you to remain. This isn't the more-neutral position of starting a job but, rather, continuing one.

I haven't been in your exact situation, but I have had positions where there was (or I asked for) an evaluation after an initial period. In the cases where they didn't say "and we're giving you a raise" I opened that discussion by just asking "will there be a raise at this time?" and then let them respond.

  • 1
    I actually have been in that situation, and the employer was perfectly happy to continue right along with the introductory rate for as long as I would allow it (I gave it another 2 weeks, IIRC). A colleague came to me after he had been there several months and asked how to broach the issue and I said "just do it." So depending on the company you may be doing yourself out of money by letting it slide. Aug 19, 2013 at 14:04
  • Oh, I didn't mean let it pass without the discussion; I just meant that an offer gives you a "hook" to hang the discussion on, so if the salary they offer isn't adequate (or if they don't mention it) then you can bring it up there. I've also made "out of band" requests for raises based on changing circumstances, but that doesn't seem to be the question here. There's already a context for the conversation, so the OP can use it. Aug 19, 2013 at 14:11
  • +1 for letting them bring it up first. I've always been told that whoever brings up salary first loses. :) Aug 28, 2013 at 16:00

"Considering that I have been working for you for a few weeks now and you now know my abilities better than during our initial discussions, I believe while talking about the change to a permanent position we should also discuss the issue of my compensation."

You would of course phrase it however it works in your particular situation, with regards to the people involved, your personal style, etc., but if they don't bring up the issue of compensation, something like that might be enough to break the ice. You wouldn't be saying outright "you're paying me less than I deserve"; you're saying you want to discuss the matter. Whereto the discussion goes from there will depend on the people involved and whatever budget restrictions your boss has to play within.

Of course, always focus on the company's perspective. I take it they brought you in as a largely unknown, and now they know what you are capable of, which gives you quite a bit of leverage in the discussion. (While your particular situation might well be somewhat unique, that kind of situation certainly is not, as I'm sure just about any recent graduate with no internship experience with the company will attest to.)

Mention how happy you are with working for them, but that you feel the pay does not properly reflect your abilities in this job position.

If your superior(s) and/or colleagues have expressed that they are happy with your work, do bring that up as well, but without an overbearing attitude. Perhaps something as simple as "I'm glad that you have been pleased with my performance so far".

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