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https://survey.stackoverflow.co/2022/#salary-united-states

I’ve been using this survey as a guideline, and I’m in a high cost of living area (SF Bay Area). After initially quoting this, the co-founder said they wouldn’t be able to meet it, and “hopefully we’ll be able to bump it up to a market rate after the series A” (a specific month given) which they’re in the process of raising.

After some time and on the final call, he said they’d like to align my start date after their series A is completed. Considering that the estimated compensation figure he gave (ballpark figure, not finalized in writing) is still not market rate, is there realistically anything I can do to negotiate this up if I don’t have competing offers?

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    You should be careful blindly following "market rates". Averages vary greatly by role, by seniority, and by area. Job titles can mean wildly different things (with wildly different salaries) at different companies. Voluntary surveys are unlikely to be a true representation of the field as a whole. And remember if the median salary is X, then half of all developers are earning less than that
    – Kaz
    Jul 20 at 1:21
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    Are you sure that survey is accurate? The lowest median salary listed for the United States is student at 100k....which seems way off.
    – sf02
    Jul 20 at 13:56
  • @sf02 I agree, while I'm not US based I have to say that neither I nor anyone I know has ever got anything close to what "Market Rate" surveys claim we should get. Of course YMMV
    – ThaRobster
    Jul 20 at 14:00
  • Are you sure your qualifications are as good as you think they are? You only have one offer - why? Jul 21 at 8:51
  • "Blockchain" - are they paying you in bitcoin?
    – gnasher729
    Jul 27 at 12:46

4 Answers 4

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No

You have put forward your salary requirements (hopefully in a reasonable and non-confrontational way).

They have given you their best and final offer (hopefully in a reasonable and non-confrontational way).

All that is left for you to do is to decide if you can accept that offer or not.

“hopefully we’ll be able to bump it up to a market rate after the series A”

It is very nice of him to say that but ultimately it means nothing. At best there is a 50/50 chance that will come off. Even if that is in writing in your contract it is very likely there will be conditions included which they may or may not use to not give you the raise.

This changes nothing. You can only judge based on the offer you have. Now it is for you to decide if you can accept that offer or not.

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After some time and on the final call, he said they’d like to align my start date after their series A is completed. Considering that the estimated compensation figure he gave is still not market rate, is there realistically anything I can do to negotiate this up if I don’t have competing offers?

They have just told you that they might bring you on at an undermined point in the future.

You essentially no longer have an offer. Even if they get the funding soon, and they keep their promise, it will likely be below what you want.

Sometimes places you want to work for, don't have the money you desire.

So what do you do to get a better offer? Keep applying to companies. Keep attending interviews. You keep doing these things until you get a job that meets your requirements. Of course if you are unemployed, then you might have to adjust your goals to put food on the table.

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If the offer doesn't match your desired salary, refuse it. Simple as that. Don't fall for empty promises. What

"the co-founder said"

means nothing if he doesn't put it in writing with a clear deadline.

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    Sometimes (often) people are well employed, and they learn about a position that sounds interesting. So fact is there are two companies competing: The current one (not even knowing they are competing) and the new one. You know your current salary, and you know for what salary you would leave a known, likely safe, position and venture into the unknown. I always have a number where I'm willing to sign on the spot, and a number where I continue looking and that I would only accept if I can't find anything else (hasn't happened yet).
    – gnasher729
    Jul 20 at 11:04
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You don't need a competing offer to negotiate your salary. Using data from market rates should already be enough. Maybe you could reach some compromise by offering to work initially for a lower salary and then bump it after the time series is expected to have been completed.

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    Obviously the “bump” will never happen.
    – gnasher729
    Jul 20 at 6:47
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    Indeed. A promise for a later salary increase should always be in writing, with a precise date and a precise amount, and with no "if"s attached. Otherwise it's not going to happen.
    – Philipp
    Jul 20 at 7:43
  • @gnasher729 Obviously get everything in writing in the offer letter if possible.
    – Bene
    Jul 20 at 17:51

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