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I finished up the first year of my first job out of graduate school. In the initial job offer, I was offered more than the upper end of my expectations. I didn't have specific work from school that applied to the job to point to feel like I could ask for more so I accepted without negotiation.

Now I had my first annual review. As a result of that, I was offered a 3.4% raise, over email. The email included an invitation to discuss the review and the raise if I wanted to. I considered negotiating since I did not negotiate my initial job offer and felt like I did good work this year, but decided against it. Instead I asked if there were any specific things I should work on. For an answer I was given a list of things I was doing very well at with a couple of skills to continue improving at and a $1000 bonus. I was not expecting a bonus, so this was a very pleasant surprise. There was no mention of a bonus with the initial notification of a raise.

With all of this taken together, should I have more seriously pursued the thought of negotiating for a larger raise? That's what I'm thinking now. The opportunity is past but I plan on making good effort in my job and definitely negotiating next year.

More context: my company is a government contractor for a government department that isn't likely to see cuts with the pandemic, so the pandemic is unlikely to negatively affect my company's financials. Also with my job offer I was told that bonuses weren't a guarantee at my company since we're a contractor and so I shouldn't plan on them as far as income planning/budget was concerned.

  • "should I have more seriously pursued the thought of negotiating for a larger raise?" - Only you can answer this :) In fact, you did on your next lines: "That's what I'm thinking now. The opportunity is past but I plan on making good effort in my job and definitely negotiating next year."... please edit your question as it is currently off-topic, so it includes something we can actually help you with, or a goal we can help you achieve. Otherwise, this post will be closed. – DarkCygnus Oct 29 at 1:09
  • I've worked in companies where such an annual raise was the norm, no matter your performance. Do you know if there are such rules in your company? If yes, then I would consider only the bonus being given for good performance... – Laurent S. Oct 29 at 10:48
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I'm going to take a different tack than most/many people probably would.

Negotiating your salary or raise doesn't need to be the de facto standard. It's not a given nor a necessity. You're not lacking or selling yourself short if you don't. Are you satisfied with your raise or do you feel that you deserved more and can justify that?

Know your worth and have data/evidence to justify it.

If my boss grants me a raise that I think is fair and equitable and I'm satisfied with it, then I don't need to negotiate for more.

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  • I tend to agree with you... If your employer is already paying you more than you expected, giving you a raise and a bonus you didn't ask for, they seem to be fair-play, I wouldn't want to look eager asking for more, especially in the current situation where consulting companies have lots of people on the bench they're ready to drop the price just to be profitable. – Laurent S. Oct 29 at 10:48
  • Great advice, Just wanted to mention that OP did everything right by asking about skills improvement and target achievements rather than money on his first annual review. It lays great foundation for future opportunities and growth with this employer – Strader Oct 30 at 5:39
  • A percentage raise on an already high salary is actually a higher than normal raise. It just doesn't seem like it because we're comparing percentages. – Nelson Oct 30 at 8:00

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