Paygrade on the application says it's band E, on their website this is £24,000-28,000 and when I spoke on the phone when I was confirming I was preliminary accepting the position I was told £26,000 but when the offer has come through it says £20,340.

Is it rude to email them and ask them? I cannot turn down the job and really need it but was just curious about the pay as that's a massive difference.

  • 4
    No, it is not rude to ask them as long as you don't have a bad attitude. Nov 5, 2014 at 17:07

4 Answers 4


The best thing to do is to treat it as a mistake on their part, and contact them to verify it.

I received the paperwork for the offer today. I'm a bit confused because it says the pay is £20,340, but in the phone call I was told it would be £26,000.

Then wait for their response. It's possible that they're including something else (bonuses, perhaps, or possibly free insurance or stock options) in the total value, which brings the total value of the offer up to 26k, which they had earlier lumped together and represented as the "salary". It's also possible there's been a company-wide pay cut, so their offer has been lowered accordingly. There are a number of other different possibilities as well - you can't know what's happened until you ask.

That doesn't mean that you have to accept the new offer - they made you one offer, which you accepted, but now they're showing you something different, which you're free to turn down or negotiate further.

(Side note: you say I cannot turn down the job, which makes me wonder if the company knows or suspects that, and is attempting to lowball you into accepting less.)

  • I say I cannot turn it down as I have been out of work for over 6 months now and after 30+ interviews have not progressed past the final two, so I dont want to turn it down as I know they have a great pension scheme etc, Thanks however, I will phone tomorrow I think and see..
    – Marriott81
    Nov 5, 2014 at 17:37
  • 8
    In which case, I'd accept it - but keep looking for something else.
    – HorusKol
    Nov 6, 2014 at 0:53
  • Bear in mind that a six month gap is unnerving to an employer. Undoubtedly they do think they can get away with offering less - but they may also perceive that they are taking a risk that they are offsetting the cost of by offering less. Still, it is usually best to clarify matters.
    – Quirk
    Nov 14, 2014 at 0:13
  • What's the point for a company to offer way less if you have to accept the job? It only means for them that you will keep looking for a job and ditch them as soon as possible...
    – dyesdyes
    Nov 14, 2014 at 10:12
  • @dyesdyes: If the company believes your market value to be below what they're offering, but choose to hire you anyway, they probably aren't concerned that if you keep looking you'll find someone else who offers you something equivalent to their original advert. This becomes only more pronounced if the person in question has gone a long period without having any job at all.
    – Quirk
    Nov 14, 2014 at 13:27

Aware that I'm a few days late to the party, but felt compelled to add my thoughts to this.

As others have said, it certainly isn't rude to ask for an explanation of a discrepancy like this, as long as you do it in the right manner. I wonder whether it could be that this is the salary you will receive for a period of time, rising to the full £26,000 after a period of time (probation/training/a years service). Or it could simply be that some harangued junior HR person has put the wrong amount down, given that the role is on a different pay-scale to the norm.

I think, as a British person, I'm quite worried that my actions could be deemed rude, but when you're talking about job terms and conditions, asking firm questions is fair.

Aside, I have a reasonable idea of the organisation in question (and possibly the position, although the advert for the one I'm thinking of explicitly stated £26,000) and I'm not necessarily that surprised. I had to break through my fears of being rude to chase them for an interview result and soon have to chase for my promised feedback as well.

  • 3
    I think, as a British person, I'm quite worried that my actions could be deemed rude -- I hope you won't think I'm rude if I say that all British people worry about that.
    – Rob Moir
    Nov 14, 2014 at 14:11
  • 1
    Ah good, I was worrying it was just me.
    – Miles
    Nov 14, 2014 at 20:02

The difference from the phone call is worth enquiring about, but the verbal offer (or acceptance) is unenforcable, and it isn't uncommon for numbers to change between the two as different parts of the company get involved in the hiring process. Nothing is real until it's on paper.

If they confirm that they're now offering only the lower number, you need to decide whether the job is worth taking anyway, and/or whether you want to make a counter-request and risk losing the offer to someone who's willing to work cheap.

If you do accept the lower salary, you might consider (gently!) reminding your manager of the original estimate after a year or two with the company (after you've proven your value to them) and see whether that helps justify a raise. It might. It might not.

  • If it were me, there might not be a year or two. I would take the job if I needed it and keep looking. Nov 6, 2014 at 17:42

Maybe 26K was before taxes and 20.34K is after taxes.

So there's a reasonable chance that they didn't lie to you. I recommend proceeding with caution: don't go in there with accusations and finger pointing. Instead, state your concern about this in a polite and calm manner.

  • 2
    All salary offers are given pre tax (gross) because the employer won't know how much you're going to get taxed at this point.
    – Dan
    Nov 14, 2014 at 9:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .