I was hired by my current company while I was in the final year of my Software Engineering degree. It has been a year since then and I have graduated and work has been going swimmingly.

I believe I have picked up our tech stack quite well and am also much quicker and proficient at performing other tasks that I am sometimes responsible for (general IT[support, builds, etc])

I've also received a Cisco certification and completed optional training directly related to our product.

I understand that no-one else knows the specifics of my role as I do. But does my recent graduation and experience so far coupled with what I've listed generally lead to a significant raise?


5 Answers 5


Graduating from University isn't likely to be a reason to increase your pay. After all, the company likely hired you on, knowing that you would continue to work for them after you graduated.

What you should focus on is your skills and completed tasks. The certification is certainly a big deal because that's time, money and effort you and the company sank to make sure you were qualified.

The biggest issue with expectations of a high raise, is that it really depends on the company and your manager. Your manager/you needs to create a compelling reason that you deserve a pay raise. Showing you are generating them lots of value, or you are valuable to them for your skill set/work completed.

However, don't get your expectations up too fast. Some companies provide fixed pay raises at scheduled times, or limit pay raises/normalize/pool it to help keep their costs down. You might also have a passive manager who isn't good at getting you what you deserve.

At the end of the day. No one can tell you for sure how to get that pay raise you want. You just have to do your best.

  • 2
    Realistically to get that pay raise he needs to find a new company. Jan 13, 2020 at 4:56
  • 1
    @MatthewGaiser I suspected that too. The offer I initially took was great for an undergrad (and standard for IT graduates here in AUS) so I jumped at it.
    – FishV
    Jan 13, 2020 at 5:30
  • @FishV You’re new, so I figured I’d let you know that the etiquette here is to wait about 24 hours before accepting an answer to let everyone have a chance to answer your question.
    – nick012000
    Jan 13, 2020 at 6:50
  • I think one should also consider market worth. A degree and 1 year of experience is usually a threshold after which you can apply to a lot more open positions than before. If you expected salary in an open position is higher, you employer may want to raise your pay to an adequate level to keep you. - If for example most other companies would now hire you for 30% more than what you're making, the company should give you at least a 15% raise to keep you.
    – Falco
    Jan 13, 2020 at 10:41
  • 1
    @FishV don't automatically assume that you have to leave to get a raise. Many employers are happy to promote internal talent. It would be a shame to leave such employer without at least giving it some effort to understand their process.
    – dwizum
    Jan 13, 2020 at 13:56

You are worth whatever you can negotiate for yourself in the job market.

Go job hunting, get yourself a written offer somewhere else, and that will tell you what you're worth. Once you have that offer, what you do with it is up to you.

If you're willing to take the other job, you probably should. If you want to keep your current job, you should turn down the other offer, take it to your boss (while making it very clear that you are not threatening to leave, you already turned down the other offer, and this is just market research) and have a conversation about what the market rate for your skills and experience is.


No. You haven’t reached the next Award yet.

You mentioned in a comment that you’re from Australia, and the job offer you accepted was standard for university graduates. This means that it is most likely an Award.

For our international readers, the minimum wage in Australia varies depending on the field of work, the highest qualification you possess (e.g. high school vs university graduate), and the amount of experience you possess. These minimum wages are referred to as Awards.

Fair Work Australia has an online calculator that can help you determine what yours is; judging by what you’ve stated, your Award should be “Graduate Professional 1.1”, which entitles you to a full-time wage of $25.98/hour for a 3-year degree, or $26.64/hour if you have a 4- or 5-year degree. The next step up is “Graduate Professional 1.2”, which requires no more than 1 year of experience after graduation for pay scale progression to be mandatory; it would entitle you to a wage of $27.09/hour.

  • Actaully the answer is wrong. The question (title) is whether it can HELP - it can. It is not asking whether it will quarantee or be successfull in securing. Everything can help.
    – TomTom
    Jan 13, 2020 at 6:55
  • If they’re paying him an Award, it wouldn’t help because on its own it’s insufficient to justify increasing him to the next Award level. Additionally, even if he did manage to argue that his capabilities and responsibilities fit a Graduate Professional 1.2, that’d still only be a 1-4% pay rise, rather than the 10% he wants.
    – nick012000
    Jan 13, 2020 at 6:57
  • Yes, but meeting the CEO on the toilet may also help. The point here is help - anything can help justify anything.
    – TomTom
    Jan 13, 2020 at 6:59
  • I'm not sure why I'm being downvoted for this. This is just straight-up Australian employment law. It's like downvoting someone for talking about how Germany has rules about formal written warnings.
    – nick012000
    Jan 13, 2020 at 9:35

Graduating doesn't entitle you to a pay rise, and neither does working for any number of years.

Becoming proficient in the tech stack and gaining certification are important, because they make you more useful. The question is then whether you're being paid the market rate. It may be that you were recruited with the assumption that you'd do these things, and are already paid the market rate for a useful engineer. Alternately you may have been hired on a lower 'trainee' rate, in which case you should ask for a raise.

Some organisations can be caught out by bright young programmers, who go from 'useless trainee' to 'as good as anyone else on the team' in a year. If that's you, it's worth asking for equal pay and discussing your career path with your boss.

In any case, you should be regularly checking job adverts in your area to get a feel for the market. It really helps your case if you can show your boss a few relevant adverts.

  • “neither does working for any number of years.” In Australia, this is not true. See my answer that discusses Awards.
    – nick012000
    Jan 13, 2020 at 23:06

The Monday morning after attending my graduation ceremony, I was suddenly 30% more valuable to my employer than I had been the Friday before. The degree doesn’t guarantee you’re worth more, but having that diploma and a huge amount of experience in comparison to where you were a year ago, does make you more marketable. From there, Kaz lays out sound advice. I underscore Kaz’ point that you should be very clear it is not a threat to leave. You may even consider presenting it solely as having done some research.

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