I have a new job offer. They are offering me around 50,000 euros.

The problem is that I like the current job. I like what I am doing, But my yearly salary is around 40,000 euros. The only reason for me wanting to change the current job is the salary.

Is it ethical to use my job offer to ask my current employer for a raise? like for instance, if you offer me around 46,000 euros, I will be ready to stay and work for you. In a way use my new job offer as a bargain.

  • 2
    Welcome new user. Just one point, it's funny about "jobs you think are good". It's remarkable how often in the future you're in a totally different job, and you suddenly find THAT job "seems really good". There are very, very few career decisions where you don't choose the higher money: the one and only reason you work is money, win the lotto and don't work.
    – Fattie
    Jan 23, 2021 at 16:18
  • PS I think there's a typo, "46". You meant "56"? In such a situation if you did do this, you'd never ask for "less" than the other offer, that would be completely confusing.
    – Fattie
    Jan 23, 2021 at 16:19
  • Your title says "Previous employer" - does that mean you have already left ie handed in notice and now you want to go back? Or do you actually mean current employer?
    – Solar Mike
    Jan 23, 2021 at 16:39
  • @Mike no i didn't leave. sorry my bad. excuse my english
    – funnybunny
    Jan 23, 2021 at 17:04
  • @joe strazzere. no no same as now. C++ Developer. I'll be working on a different subject. Which is cryptography. my current job is in the airlines sector
    – funnybunny
    Jan 23, 2021 at 17:06

4 Answers 4


They might not be able to sack you, but regardless, what do you do if they simply say "no"? Either you end up effectively sacking yourself by taking the new offer, or you put up and shut up and they remember your bluff for the next salary review.

What you should be asking, when you have a career planning type meeting with your boss, is asking "hey boss, what do I need to do to get an awesome raise this year?". That doesn't reveal you're looking around, maintains your aura of being a keen and ambitious member of staff, and puts the ball in their court. The answer could be:

  • nothing (eg. no budget or fixed salary levels)
  • deliver an awesome piece of work on time/budget
  • take on additional responsibilities
  • achieve a professional qualification which makes you more valuable
  • hope that the company as a whole has an awesome year

and you can then judge whether the effort required and the likelihood of it happening, plus the environment you like, is worth it in preference to moving (and the risk of an environment you don't know). Ultimately all salary negotiation is a quid pro quo - you get more money by being more valuable and less replaceable to the business.


You can try. However, you need to be aware that most employers see such a bargain effort as a wrong move. In most places, they will either terminate you directly, reluctantly agree (but put you on the "terminate" list), or call your bluff. None of which are good for your long term career.

You are better off asking what your real values are. Do you value the money over the liking of the current job? Or do you value the better job over the money? Then, act in accordance with your real values.

  1. It's perfectly and completely "ethical".

  2. It happens all the time, it's perfectly "commonplace".

  3. It usually doesn't work: usually they just sack you on the spot. Of course, sometimes it works.

  4. You are probably overthinking how you would say this.


  1. "Hi Steve. There's a problem, as you know I absolutely love my job. Unfortunately the market is so hot just now I could very easily get 60 elsewhere. Unfortunately - I do have to eat! - I am unfortunately going to have to resign since, of course I have to watch out for my career and salary. Again I have loved working here thanks! Would you like me to work for a couple more weeks, pls tell me what is best for you."
  1. "Hi Steve. You know, with the market being so hot at the moment, unfortunately I could pretty easily get 60 if I moved at the moment. Could you give me your thoughts on salary? As you know I love my job here!"
  1. "Hi Steve. Here's a written offer from a company for 50 (put the printed letter in front of him). Will you give me 55?"

These are all extremely different.

I believe you are picturing "3" happening.

  • I personally strongly recommend "1".

  • I'd say most people would recommend "2".

  • I see little value in "3"; as mentioned generally they will just sack you on the spot.

There is no advantage to you whatsoever in "3".

  • the first option fattie is kind of nice, in the grey area. not good not terrible. it gives my employeur time to think abou5 it
    – funnybunny
    Jan 23, 2021 at 17:13
  • 1
    “Sack you on the spot” is very country dependant. Many countries employment laws prevent that from being possible.
    – Matt
    Jan 23, 2021 at 17:51
  • 1
    hi @funnybunny - sure - remember the aim is for you to maximize your career. Any company would sack you in a split second if they happen to feel like it.
    – Fattie
    Jan 23, 2021 at 18:53

I think it depends on your company, the culture and your value for the company. Maybe also your country will be change the position a little bit.

For example:

  1. I worked in Luxembourg at one of the Big4. There you have no change to negotiate your salary. They have tier levels and you also get a fix salary raise each year in Luxembourg because of the index (rising costs for living,...). Employee rights are not that good over there. They would lay you off as soon as they can, if you try such an approach.

  2. After that I worked for a small company in Germany, where I'm the only developer ("Truck factor" = 1). I just mentioned in a conversation about getting additional devs for my team, that it's a hot market. As an example for the market situation, I said that I'm getting daily offers via LinkedIn (which is true) but I'm not interested in changing the company. They also know that some customer companies thought about making me offers. Just with mentioning the possible offers, my boss told me that I can come to him with any real offer I have and he will outbid that offer. Also I got some other extras.

What I try to say: Get a feeling for your company culture, your value for the company and if they can replace you instead of paying you more.

Also think about how you will explain that you know what the other companies offer. Usually they don't mention the salary in the initial mail and knowing what package they offer can be an indicator that you already flirted with this company a little bit too much

  • " my boss told me that I can come to him with any real offer I have and he will outbid that offer" - that's a very strange way to deal with that though. They should increase your salary or don't expect you to come to renegotiate when you receive a better offer. Unless he disbelieved it and what he really meant was: "Sure, I believe that you have plenty of more attractive offers. Come to me with any r e a l one and I'm sure I will be able to give you the same amount".
    – BigMadAndy
    Jan 24, 2021 at 17:51
  • No, maybe I misdescribed it. It was more that I can come besides the yearly salary negotiation to him if I have an offer which is financial attractive to me. Of course not for every offer I receive. I think he meant it more like a pre-emptive right: "Before you chose to leave because of money, let's talk about it at anytime you want". In short the same, what the OP wants to do but from initialised from the company side and not me. It can be common in some jobs where you have no market mean anymore because e.g. management salaries differs a lot more than junior dev salaries.
    – user120107
    Jan 24, 2021 at 18:14

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .