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After getting interviewed online from a company in the United Arab Emirates for a Senior Web Developer role. I was asked about my expected salary. I quoted 25K AED because that's what I think is a comfortable salary for me after factoring expenses and rent and supporting my family for some time at my home country.

I got a reply that the budget they have is below 20K, and asked me for my thoughts. So I replied that I would respectfully decline, because that salary becomes lower than my current salary at my home country after paying rent, and then thanked them, and praised their company profile and wished them good luck. Basically, I wanted to move on with my life and just forget about it, and maybe apply to other jobs in the UAE or some other country in the Arabian Gulf.

They replied back asking me what I thought about a 20K salary. So, it seemed to me that they might want to negotiate? And I thought that maybe there is a chance and reopened my desire to work in that company, and that I may still get my desired salary if I persisted, or a little bit below it (say 23K). But anyway I went ahead and replied adamantly that I would be comfortable to accept 25K just like my original request.

After this, no reply, and nothing so far after 2 days of waiting (they were previously replying promptly).

Is it likely that this has just ended? Or is there a chance that they might reply back? I'm mainly thinking of sending them a new email asking if there is any update, so that maybe I can budge them again into negotiating. While 25K is still the salary that I feel comfortable with and which I frankly think I deserve based on my long experience, I thought about the whole situation again and maybe 23K wouldn't be all that bad since it is still a decent salary and can get me a foothold in the UAE, while not jeopardizing my current financial situation. And maybe after proving my worth I can raise my salary.

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This negotiation hasn't stalled. It has ended. Move forwards with any other options you have and forget about this until such time as they contact you again, if they ever do.

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    The negotiation never really started. – Mad Physicist Apr 22 at 22:21
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You were originally going to move on and look elsewhere. There's no reason for you not to do exactly that. Assume the negotiations are over, look elsewhere for something that would satisfy your needs. If they get back to you with 25K, good, you've lost nothing. If they don't, good, you've also lost nothing because the negotiations were over already.

If you have a financial requirement, do not sacrifice it. If you calculated that anything below 25K will be unsustainable for your family, it will not suddenly become sustainable just because the company sent you another email. There are always more expenses than you expect, a salary always looks like it's gonna cover more than it turns out to in practice. I've moved countries multiple times with a job lined up, and it always, always cost more than we factored in, even with the experience from previous moves. Getting your stuff moved costs money. Finding a new place to live in costs money. Getting rid of your old place costs money (sometimes a lot of it!). Getting transportation in the new place costs money. Everything costs money, and you don't want to find out you need more than you originally planned for after you've agreed to a lower offer and are in the middle of moving countries.

BTW, if you're moving for work, and are in a position where your skills are valuable and companies are looking to get you on board, do ask about things like relocation bonus or a relocation package when negotiating. A lot of firms offer that, and you want to take advantage of it if possible.

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It's completely over.

I would suggest regarding salary, always just state what you want and absolutely stick to it with no wavering whatsoever. That is simplest and best.

I've noticed UAE companies tend to be surprisingly penny-pinching! They're surprisingly tough negotiators. They're always looking to shave off even 5%.

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    This. Haggling is part and parcel of the Arab culture; OP's interlocutor naturally believes that this is what OP did. Although it's a bit late now, the proper behavior next time is to ask for 30K and bargain down to 25. – DomQ Apr 23 at 8:40
  • I feel you really hit the nail on the head, @DomQ – Fattie Apr 23 at 13:16
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But anyway I went ahead and replied adamantly that I would be comfortable to accept 25K just like my original request.

Is it likely that this has just ended? Or is there a chance that they might reply back? I'm mainly thinking of sending them a new email asking if there is any update, so that maybe I can budge them again into negotiating.

Negotiating means meeting each other inbetween both of your expectations. You didn't negotiate. You repeated the same demand, thereby conveying that it is an immovable demand.

If I were in that company's position, I would infer that any further interaction is just going to make you repeat yourself a third time. So if that wasn't an agreeable amount, the negotiation ended then and there.

You could reopen the conversation and offer to accept 23K when offered, but it's going to put you at a disadvantage (coming down from your initial hardline 25K stance), and I'd likely expect them to try and whittle you down further because you just came back to them, suggesting that you want/need the job.

I would chalk this up as a mistake in negotiating on my part and move on, but that's just my opinion.

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  • That was my read as well. Sticking at 25 sends a strong signal that you’re not going to budge from there. – Kaz Apr 22 at 15:23
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    Well, the company also stuck to 20k as well. Neither party is trying to negotiate, they're both just stating demands expecting the other to cave. – Demonblack Apr 22 at 18:46
  • "but it's going to put you at a disadvantage" - it might be a disadvantage strictly from a negotiating perspective, but that doesn't mean it's bad in general. If they end up making an offer higher than the minimum you're willing to accept, you "win" by having a job you want for a salary you're content/okay with. If you just move on, you don't get the job: not exactly a "win". But I wouldn't be too optimistic about them increasing their offer here. – Bernhard Barker Apr 22 at 19:02
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    @Demonblack The company didn't stick to 20k. The OP had stated that their budget was BELOW that number, and that they offered 20k after. Seeing the upwards movement there is important. – Anoplexian Apr 22 at 20:06
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    @dbkk - Basically saying something and actually offering that amount is two entirely different things in the written language. Verbal language is more nuanced. – Donald Apr 22 at 22:01
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I disagree that the negotiations have ended. The person contacting you does not have the authority to go to the number you quoted. They went back to the decision maker. That is why there is no contact because the decision maker has not gotten back to them.

Anytime you apply for a job, you should do so with the assumption that it will not work out for some reason beyond your control. You can move on even if you do or don't hear an answer from them. You should always apply for multiple positions when you are looking. Use a notebook or a computer file for your status for each job.

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    They may also have the authority to go to 24K. But the OP didn't look like they were willing to negotiate, so no point even trying. – Gregory Currie Apr 22 at 17:24
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    @GregoryCurrie The fact that it evolved so far to deliver to OP an offer as well as a counter offer means they are looking to seriously gain the employment of the individual. It is much more likely that a company who has extended an offer would provide a closing statement if negotiations were really closed, rather than ghosting a potential candidate. I think this answer shows that succinctly, and has a "hope for the best, plan for the worst" feel rather than an outright dismissal that negotiations are ended. – Anoplexian Apr 22 at 20:04
  • This. Its irrelevant if its ended or not. Because until you sign something, with someone, you're always looking, and open to responding to any, or multiple companies who contact you. – Stilez Apr 23 at 6:53
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I have no idea how much 25k AED is, but I will assume it is a fair expectation for your background. Even though this is perfectly reasonable to ask, if their budget is truly 20k, then you are asking for 25% more - that is a lot!

There's a point where salary expectations are so far apart that it is considered impolite to negotiate. I think you are getting close to that. At "only" 25% there's no harm in asking (and you have), but you shouldn't press them on it if they're not biting.

Whether their budget is truly 20k, or they're just saying it as a negotiation tactic, is something we can only guess at. However, even if their budget is flexible, it is still going to take them some time to accept paying 25% more than they hoped for. Maybe they need to make some phone calls and convince other people. This stuff takes time, and 2 days is not excessive.

If you really want this job, you should give them some time. If there's no word for 3-4 days you can ask politely whether there's an update, but if there isn't, give them time. If they are trying to decide what to do about your 25k counter, telling them now that it became 23k will be too annoying in my opinion. They don't need you to remind them that they can try and haggle you down. Someone who keeps changing their position on the other hand is annoying. So wait for them to get back with one of:

  • "We will give you 25k"
  • "We cannot do 25k but we can do more than 20k, can you go lower?" (this is when you can offer 23k)
  • "No, bye." (This probably wouldn't become a yes even if you said 23k)

If you want the job but not too much, and are also in a rush, you can tell them that you need a response by X date. This may increase the chances that they will say no, but presumably timing is important enough to you to justify this.

So in conclusion, I don't think it necessarily stalled given that it's only been 2 days and you asked for 25% more. The only way you would have gotten a quick answer is if it's a hard no. Since you haven't gotten an answer, it could potentially be a yes or a maybe. Even if it's no, they should say so clearly, given that they like you enough to make an offer. You shouldn't just assume it's no based on the lack of response.

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  • In USD: 6806.46, WAAAAAY higher than you would expect for a web role. Btw., 5 seconds to type it in to google for the conversion.: – TomTom Apr 23 at 8:28
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I think your original question is solved pretty deftly - you said "25K", they asked "20K", you answer "no".

Aside from that, I would really suggest to treat the whole application process as very "lightweight", generally. You have no obligations towards the companies you apply to until you have a contract signed by both parties. All talks and mails are just constant back-and-forth offers. All that has been said is completely pointless and futile until and unless the contract is finished, and up to this point it is no moral or otherwise implication on you (or them). I.e., until you have the signed contract in hand, you can and should expect them to stop negotiating at any point of time, or forget all they said before.

The reason for this is that you are probably (hopefully) talking with multiple companies at the same time; and each company is also probably talking with multiple potential empolyees at the same time. Putting more weight on the pre-contract process than strictly necessary would not only be futile, but stall everything to a grinding halt.

Focus on presenting yourself as best as you can - of course, be on time, present yourself by mail or document in a good way, and so on. But never worry, or think in loops about what you could, should, would better do, or what will happen if you don't do this or that. As you did your due diligence and figured out your low limit of your salary, that's it.

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