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I'm currently interviewing for a new job within my field of Java Programming - I'm being paid $78,000 a year and am due a pay grade raise of $5,000 in a few months.

I've noticed that this falls within the average salary range for my position, but I feel I should push for a higher salary due to my experience [7 1/2 years], the fact that I'm nearing a pay raise, and the fact that I qualify for a promotion to a higher salary rate as well.

With all of that said, I've been thinking of arguing for a pay rate of $85,000/year pre-tax. But I don't actually know if this is a reasonable argument to make given the facts of my career.

What type of increase should I try to negotiate for on a new job in roughly the same field of practice? Or, should I not try to negotiate higher than what I'm currently being paid?

  • why are you leaving? Does the new job resolve those issues? – mhoran_psprep Jan 28 '20 at 17:36
  • I tend to overshoot typical salary expectations to see if I can get away with it... but with reasonable boundaries. At the end of the day, how much money you wish to make is how much money you think you're worth to the company, and that's something we cannot tell you. – user82352 Jan 28 '20 at 17:41
  • The easiest way to determine what your skill set is worth is to go get another job offer. My personal strategy is to get another job offer, turn it down, and only then bring it up in salary negotiations, making clear that I'm not planning to leave, and it was purely for market research/benchmarking. You still run the risk that they might interpret this as you planning to leave, but it's worked pretty well for me so far and has gotten my some very hefty pay increases. – Kaz Jan 28 '20 at 17:58
  • @mhoran_psprep Basically New York State winters have severely depressed my wife, as well as the politics therein, and we want to move out of state so that we can live closer to her parents. So really, there are no issues with my job itself - but we want to relocate. It's a state government job though, so I can't exactly ask for a transfer. – Zibbobz Jan 28 '20 at 18:35
  • Kaz, not sure how that's a good strategy or how it works. You're setting yourself up as a target, and if it worked, people could just make up offers and ask for more money. "Hey I turned down a 50% raise somewhere else to stay here, give me more money" – n_plum Jan 28 '20 at 19:04
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What type of increase should I try to negotiate for on a new job in roughly the same field of practice? Or, should I not try to negotiate higher than what I'm currently being paid?

There are very few positions whose salaries cannot be negotiated. In general always negotiate, even for internal salary increases. $5K raise on a $78K salary is a 6.5% increase which isn't bad. $85K salary is a $7K raise or 9% increase, which is reasonable to start. I would start prepping a list of reasons why you deserve more than the 6.5% increase on your current position.

If I'm looking for a job externally and I can net 10% increase on my current salary or above, I think I've done all right, but your mileage may vary. When you are entering the company it's the best time to negotiate and usually will be your biggest pay increase of your tenure at the company. Always propose a salary that's above your acceptable limit, because most people will try to negotiate you down a little. If the person you are negotiating with accepts your first number, you've either encountered a bad negotiator or the number you gave is too low. But if you always give a number a little higher than what your minimum is, it doesn't matter since you've surpassed your original goal.

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