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I have recently been told that I will soon be receiving a promotion to a new position, Product Owner, at my annual performance review. This was fantastic news to me, but I realized upon thinking it through a bit more that I have no idea what I would be worth in a position like this.

The difficulty I'm having is because of my level of experience. I am a recent(ish) grad, and I have about 1 year of experience as a Junior Software Developer. Looking at job postings and descriptions for the Product Owners, it looks as though I will be missing several years of experience. All of the openings for a job with this title typically require at least 5-7 YoE, and offer about 2X my current salary.

My gut feeling is that it would be unreasonable for me to request this type of salary increase, seeing as I don't have the seniority that is clearly typical for this title. Then again, I am receiving this promotion because I am excelling significantly in my position as it is.

I wouldn't want to underestimate my worth in a situation like this, and I don't want to seem greedy or naïve either. How can I handle the conversation around salary when the official promotion arrives? I anticipate a raise will be offered when I am officially promoted, but I also think it will be for much less than the offers I have seen online. Is it appropriate to ask for an increase to the market rate, despite not having the market level of experience? (I've been given some/most of the responsibilities of this new position for the last 4-5 months, and have not had any issue in performing them, so I must be at least able to perform them adequately)

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  • "How can I handle the conversation around salary when the official promotion arrives?" Do you plan to take whatever salary raise they give you for the promotion ? Or do you plan to negotiate to get a higher salary that what they would give you ? Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 20:57
  • @Job_September_2020 I am confident that a raise will come with the position, and I have been informally told this by my direct manager. I am not sure what the offer will be, but I anticipate it will be much less than the job postings I have seen for the same position (considering my experience is just 1-1.5 years). I want to know whether it is reasonable to ask for a salary in line with what I've been seeing online, or if it would be too bold to try and make that leap this early in my career
    – Flats
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 21:05
  • Does this answer your question? How can I determine a reasonable salary to ask for?
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 22:14
  • @gnat I think that this question is more specific than that one. It’s a question about salary in relation to a position that, according to the market, I am unqualified for. I think that answers to that more specific situation will answer the question better than the suggested dupe
    – Flats
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 23:07

2 Answers 2

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A promotion means "more than you have now", right? Why don't you wait and see what is being offered and see if it feels right then? You'll almost certainly get something. Once you know what it is, you can decide if it's reasonable or not.

With only 1 year of experience (and no real Product Owner experience), don't compare yourself to someone with 5-7 years of experience. You likely couldn't leave and land a job like that, yet you are being offered a chance to get into a managerial position early in your career.

Try to think of this as an opportunity to grow long term, not a just as short term bonanza.

If you don't feel the offer is reasonable, just tell them that you feel that you are worth more. Don't turn down the promotion no matter what. These chances don't come around often. Not many make the move from Junior Developer to Product Owner this quickly.

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Do you think CEO's worry about seeming greedy when they're negotiating their compensation? Do you think professional athletes worry about seeming greedy when negotiating their contracts? Get this idea about "seeming greedy" out of your head. You have every right to ask for what you think you're worth.

That being said, do some research for similar positions with your level of experience and use that as a gauge. If you can't find anything then negotiating for a 25-50% increase would probably be reasonable.

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