I applied for a position of Staff Software Engineer at a top gaming studio and got the great news yesterday that they'd like to extend me an offer, though at a lower level of Senior Software Engineer and that management wants to put me on a track to reach Staff.
Due to local governmental laws regarding equity, they had to state the salary bands when asked:
- Senior: $143K - $180K
- Staff: $183K - $210K
The direct offer was $145K base. I'm currently sitting on four other offers, some I've started to negotiate, that sit at around $170K. All things considered, benefits are competitive with other offers but they are the only company that requires relocation to cities with the highest cost-of-living in the country. All my other offers are remote full-time, which means their base salaries go much further.
Three things that strike me as odd about this offer from said gaming studio are:
- Their initial offer is lower than any offer I've received by at least $20K, including from start-ups or companies that don't bring near the revenue of this one. If you consider relocating to high COL cities, this gap widens drastically
- This initial offer is about $30K lower than their reported average on levels.fyi, Glassdoor, etc. for this title and my YOE.
- When I tried to open a discussion about salary negotiation, and mentioned competing offers, they made it very clear that competing with the base salary of my other offers would be "an extremely tough to sell to management" and that they'd, "get nowhere near $170K".
I've negotiated salaries before, but nothing as high as $30K/21% over initial - which means I'd probably need to start the discussion even higher in order to "meet in the middle". Is it possible that being down-leveled in my application title is impacting this offer or my room to negotiate?