A couple of weeks ago the Chief Engineer where I work walked past me, stopped, and told me to set up an appointment with him before walking away. I got an appointment from his secretary and I sent him a polite email asking what he would like to talk about so I could prepare, and the response was "Your personal development and career view". My employer has 15k+ staff and 3k engineers so I presume getting individual attention at that level is good news.
It may be a little presumptuous of me but I suspect this may be to discuss a new job that has come up within the company. I think I have good reason to believe this since I have already had a couple of 1:1s with the Chief Engineer about some technical issues and project ideas I have had for our plants, and a few people in Engineering have phoned me up over the last year using phrases like "rvukwdvypd, you are the only person I can rely on for x", "rvukwdvypd, you are the only person who understands y", "rvukwdvypd, you are the only person who has a plan for z".
My big issue is that I believe I am grievously underpaid by my employer, which issued me with a new contract with an unfinished payscale 3 years ago. My employer is highly unionized so the payscale cannot be completed until the company and unions reach an agreement, but either way the finished payscale is likely to pay less than most places I could work at if I moved. Because the Chief Engineer is so high up in the organisation, I think he could have the leverage to give me a salary outside the payscale, even if my very sympathetic line manager can't.
An honest answer to where do I see my career going would be "Anywhere but here because the pay is crap". Despite the low pay I really do like the location and work environment, so my ideal situation would be staying where I am with a salary in line with the old contract, which still pays slightly less than other people in the industry locally.
If he does offer me a job, how can I convince him? Is there anything I should or should not say? Would it be inappropriate? Should I be honest about not wanting to work for my employer or should I not bring negatives up?
A couple of points I have thought of are:
- I have been part of a small team of 5 who have saved and avoided £20M+ in 3 years - I deserve a cut of that
- I must be working at a very high level to get your attention - when are you going to pay me like I'm that good?
- Despite being hired as an Engineer I do a lot of business change stuff, a lot of other staff refuse to work with us but despite that we've managed to work around them to get results.
- This job is in the middle of nowhere in a small community, and many of the people who don't want change live in the same town, go to the same pubs and have kids in the same schools. There was already an attempted murder in town due to work issues last year - where's my danger money?
- HR may have commissioned one of the Big Four accountancy companies to figure out what the “national average” salaries are for my role, but it was clearly intended as an excuse to cut salaries and my own research and experience interviewing this year informs me I am indeed worth at least £[desired salary]
This is not just a salary negotiation. It is not possible to "negotiate" salary in a lot of British companies. The payscales are fixed and agreed between the employer and unions. If you are on grade x then you earn £y - if you don't like it then you're welcome to leave. The only reason I think negotiating would work is because the Chief Engineer is an executive who could have me put on the old contract, a personal contract, or hired as a contractor on an hourly rate, and I think that he needs persuaded by something different than the usual salary negotiation tactics.
Thanks for reading – hopefully all of that makes sense.