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I have been working as a technical consultant (software/IT in Sweden) at company "Firm". My current assignment for the last 18 months has been at company "Client". I get along great with colleagues/supervisors at both companies.

Client pays a significantly higher salary to their employees compared to Firm. I am encouraged quite regularly by my colleagues at Client to apply for a job there. They are currently hiring like crazy and I've been told by their management that I am doing exemplary work. So for the sake of this question you may assume that if I do apply, the job is mine. It would be sad to leave Firm, but for a significant salary increase it would be worth it. Otherwise not.

My idea is to talk to the boss/supervisor at Client and basically ask a seemingly harmless question: "If I were to apply for a job here, what would my salary be?"

I am however worried that asking the question might be "political suicide" regarding my relations with either Firm or Client (or both).

I want to make sure that any outcome - whether I take the job or not - does not jeopardize my relations with either company. The best case scenario is that I get to find out my worth and no one feels cheated. The question is: how do I facilitate the best case scenario?

Other questions that I would like input on, or to be considered in answering the main question, is: What if I reject an offer from Client? What if word gets to my supervisor at Firm? Can I, or should I, be accused of being disloyal or unprofessional? Should I avoid asking the question? Or am I worried about something silly?

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    Before you trouble yourself by going down this path, have you checked your employment contract with Firm? Some contracts prohibit you from these types of switches. – Gregory Currie Sep 30 at 16:28
  • Are there any open positions available at Client? – sf02 Sep 30 at 19:25
  • Yes - there are positions open. I wouldn't be able to make a switch instantaneously, but after 1-3 months (I have to resign from Firm and once that contract's over (between firm and client) I would just roll over to Client). – ledwinder96 Sep 30 at 19:29
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I wouldn't start with that question but start with. Once the required timeframe for my previous contract expires, would you consider hiring me? If the answer is yes, then you can ask, would you be able to give an approximate salary range for employees entering with similar skill sets as you.

This keeps things more ambiguous vs assuming favoritism. Let them show any on their own terms, don't presume.

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Before anything else check if you can actually do this. Many consultants break contract if they leave to work for a client. It's not unusual for clients to praise or headhunt consultants. It's also not unusual for them to do so without actually giving them a job. So unless you have a firm offer from someone who can actually accomplish it, don't commit. Others would be immediately fired if anyone found out prior to their leaving.

Getting on with everyone is not a guarantee of anything.

My actual advice would be to be loyal to your existing company, they're the ones paying you, and while it's understandable you'd like more $$ and it stands to reason that the client would like to pay less for you as an employee there is much more to getting it done in terms of company relations and a myriad of other things HR on both sides need to look at. It may not end as positively as you might think.

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