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Situation: I am working as a product manager on a product that is designed and implemented by our software engineer contractors.

Due to insufficient delivery quality of the contractors and given that I have strong technical skills, my employer has decided to give me the full ownership of the product, including the design and implementation responsibility.

Positive aspect: This will allow my company to save a large amount of money and will provide me with much more responsibility since I have to perform everything on my own.

Challenge: My employer knows that I already have the skills to perform this new task (based on my previous job experience) and therefore wants to assign me this new role without a raise.

Question: How would you tactfully tell your employer that the new role you got is much more senior and deserves an adequate compensation?

PS: My employer is not specialized in software engineering and is therefore not able to assess the true benefits an experienced software engineer / software architect would provide.

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  • What steps have you done so far? Boss told you that you are now in charge of the design an implementation... what was you answer then? You mention that before the implementation and design was done by contractors (plural, I imagine several people, some designing, some coding, some leading, etc.)... Does this "new role" of yours include all of that?! Or will you now have other people who report to you and you lead them towards the design and implementation?
    – DarkCygnus
    Jul 4, 2023 at 21:50
  • Does this answer your question? How should I properly approach my boss if I'm feeling underpaid?
    – gnat
    Jul 5, 2023 at 7:01
  • If this is a US situation, then the OP probably doesn't have a contract. Jul 5, 2023 at 15:13
  • How is having more responsibility a positive aspect? And how is it a positive aspect that your company is saving a lot of money, if you're not gettng any of it?
    – user140582
    Jul 7, 2023 at 23:23
  • You mention that the company will save large amounts of money. Make a list of all the positive aspects that the company will achieve by raising you to a senior role. Then use this list to negotiate how much of a raise you want for taking such responsibility.
    – Elerium115
    Jul 14, 2023 at 14:08

4 Answers 4

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An open dialog with your employer is probably a good starting point.

If that fails use the opportunity to gain some experience and take it with you to someone who will pay your worth.

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    This is a contract change. Mention that a new contract needs to be written up, then look at the compensation and go "Hmm, this seems to be exactly the same as my current compensation, why is this?"
    – Nelson
    Jul 5, 2023 at 5:04
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    The answer is concise and to the point. Most likely outcome IMO is the second sentence, but by all means, give your employer a chance to match market value. If they're smart, they will. Too many don't.
    – bytepusher
    Jul 5, 2023 at 22:45
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Is this actually a promotion to something more senior? You're going from managing a project to having to do all the work yourself. While you may have many valid reasons to ask for a pay rise, I don't think there's any increase in seniority here, only a shift of roles.

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How would you tactfully tell your employer that the new role you got is much more senior and deserves an adequate compensation?

There are some clarifications needed to have the whole picture (does your boss expect you to do all the work of a contractor team on your own? for example), but in the meantime I'll answer the best I can.

To do it tactfully, I would first thank them (your boss) for the trust and recognizing your good work as to be given these new responsibilities. Then, I would ask a detail of what the new role involves and what would be my new responsibilities or people who report to me, etc..

I know you know (or may know) what those new responsibilities are, but it's important for the other part (your boss) to also know them and list them.

Then, I would politely (but assertively) ask about what steps follow now to have these new responsibilities and role reflect on your contract. The other part will now have to say that there will be no new contract (or that yes, there will be, and problem solved for you).

If told that there will be no contract or no new title or similar (red flag #1), then I would state that, as this comes with increased tasks, responsibility and seniority, what would my salary be for this new position.

If told there is no raise you got your second red flag, and you should carefully decide what to do next. (I can think of: take it, insist on raise, start looking for other jobs)

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Note that in some companies standard practice is to give you a raise after you have demonstrated advanced skills, not in anticipation of you demonstrating them. And/or to only consider raises at a specific time each year.

Don't assume. Ask whether the new role comes with a raise, and if not what you would have to do in this role to help him justify giving you a raise.

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