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I'm a programmer with a job working in mobile apps and web design. I have a secure job with reasonable pay and nice coworkers; I enjoy the mobile work and I tolerate the web design part.

I've just seen an ad for a job with a startup. It's 100% mobile work, the pay range starts at my current salary and goes up to 60% higher than that plus equity; and there are more perks. The only downsides are that, as a startup job, it's less secure, which is important to me; and that I absolutely loathe the entire process of moving jobs.

I'm happy and established where I am, but I do like the sound of a 60% pay rise. If I could get that at my current job, that would be great. Is there any way I can make my employers aware of the existence of this other job without making my current job less secure?

  • Would you be doing the same job? – Kevin May 2 '14 at 7:52
  • Close. Just the mobile app work, which is the part I like best. – user19232 May 2 '14 at 8:21
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Is there any way I can make my employers aware of the existence of this other job without making my current job less secure?

Your employer almost certainly knows about lots of other jobs out there in the world. Perhaps your employer already knows about this one too.

I think you are really asking "Can I use the threat of my leaving for this job as leverage to get a raise at my current company?" The answer is probably No.

Honestly, every manager knows that virtually anyone on his team could leave for another job at almost any time. But that doesn't mean he/she can just throw a raise at everyone on his team every time a new job pops up elsewhere.

Managers have budgets. Companies usually have annual raise cycles. Reacting to every job posting doesn't make sense.

If you want to get a good raise, you can work within the performance review framework in your company. Work hard, find out what matters to your boss and company - then deliver. Do great things, and expect good compensation.

If you start threatening/hinting that you will leave because you happened to see an interesting job posting, you might get more money thrown your way. But you also risk that your current employer will conclude that you won't be around much longer, and will start planning for your departure. That might mean you won't get good assignments or good raises.

Many managers believe that trying to entice a team member to stay by throwing money at him/her is at best effective only in the short term. Since it's easy to come up with a new job posting every month, a manager really cannot respond with more cash each time. Thus, in many managers' minds, it doesn't make sense to start down that path. If someone is going to leave to chase more money, there's not much you can do.

So you could try to dangle the threat of leaving due to this new job posting you saw, but it's unlikely to be effective.

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You cannot use a single job ad as a leverage for a raise. An actual job offer can be used as leverage, though you must tread carefully.

What you can use as leverage for a raise is the market price for someone of your skill set (and years of experience). Find out what the average salary is, check some more job listings and maybe actually apply for another job and see what they offer you.

After checking (some of) these out get some facts together about you and your contribution to your current company and 'confront' your boss with these facts.

Even with all these facts backing you up there is no guarantee you will get a raise (for now).

By Phil H:

A company doesn't pay you what you are worth, or worth to them, but roughly just enough to keep you up to your worth to them.

  • A company doesn't pay you what you are worth, or worth to them, but roughly just enough to keep you up to your worth to them. If you look like you're not going anywhere, why would they pay you more except for increments to make you feel better? – Phil H May 2 '14 at 9:23
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I doubt strongly that showing up with a copy of the ad, and a demand for more money will get you further ahead or less secure in your current position. There's too many "ifs" here for this knowledge to do you any good. You haven't interviewed, you don't know if you'd get this particular job, you don't know (if you got the job) - where in the range they'd offer you for a salary, you don't know for any of the equity or perks how likely it is that it will be valuable for you.

Realize that different jobs have different tradeoffs. A less secure business may very well offer money, it may also demand more hours - and overall it certainly will be a different context, slightly different work, and different people.

Generally management does survey the climate and adjust salaries to make a fairly equal pay structure in comparison with their most obvious competition - so a stable small company will compare with other stable small companies in the region, particularly if they need similar skills and experience. If this particular opportunity doesn't fit in with likely competition, I doubt that knowing about it will change your boss' view all that much.

However, if you've interviewed, found a job, liked it, and have an offer - then you do have some leverage because it's quite a true reality that you may actually move, and you have a value to the company beyond just being a warm body - you already know the business and fit well with the team. But this will require you to have taken the time and effort to along way into the interview process.

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And the reason you want to let them know about it is......?

If you're hoping to leverage an offer to raise your salary, you need to be at an offer stage, just saying "I've seen this job I could do that pays more" will just get your card marked.

You firstly need to decide if the risk and move are actually worth the possible 60% rise (whether you'd actually be offered it is another thing, ranges can be well above what they really want to pay).

You then need to decide if you really want to play off this job against the security you have (if that's your plan), you may risk it all for no quite as much more as you'd hope, for a life that isn't for you. If you do manage to use it against your current employer you WILL change the dynamic forever, and the "secure" part of the job may no longer be that, especially if you do get as much as a 60% pay hike.

Think carefully about what you want, but make sure you have something concrete before you involve your current employer.

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