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I work as a software engineer with few years experience, being hired on a junior position and having since then getting two consecutive promotions and considerable raises (at least 8-12%) each year. For last year I got a bonus that goes around 45% of my annual net income. However, given the fact that I started with a very low pay on an entry level (at that time I didn't even finished my studies), taking all this into account I am still sitting with a yearly income of around 55% of what I am worth.

Now, during the past few months I got contacted by a company with which the discussions are now almost finished and everything went absolutely perfect; they are now only waiting for my final requests to finish the negotiation after which I am very confident that the final offer will be at least twice as my current yearly income and could potentially go as far as being almost three times bigger. It would also be a more interesting job and I will be more engaged in my new work there.

The catch, however, is that I have to move to another city (the difference in cost of living is just around 11%) and right now I have personal constraints that would make this very hard to do; realizable but highly uncomfortable.

The question is, would it be OK to mention this offer when telling my manager about my resignation in the hope that I can bait them into a negotiation where I would have leverage and the upper hand, although I know they are somehow rigid? Anything above 35% raise would definitely mean I could spend two more years here, which I want to do for personal reasons.

I find it to be somehow unprofessionally to say you leave for a bigger wage and I really want to leave without burning bridges so I am uncertain if it is a wise step to take.

closed as off-topic by Jim G., scaaahu, Jan Doggen, user8365, Garrison Neely Jan 5 '15 at 16:10

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    One observation: Never quit your job, or try to play power games, until you have the final offer in hand. Too much risk of winding up with neither. Another: Odds of any company giving you a 35% raise "in place" are pretty low; if they're really underpaying you that much it's because they think you're replaceable for not much more than that. They may be wrong, but that's what's going to guide their decision. – keshlam Jan 4 '15 at 21:18
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    possible duplicate of How to secure a counter offer from my current employer – Garrison Neely Jan 5 '15 at 16:10
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As Makoto says, "once you have your offer in hand, and only when you do, should you start mentioning any perks. Nothing is guaranteed until you have the offer letter, so I would advise against mentioning it until it's finalized."

As a counter to what Makoto says, I would urge you to attempt to negotiate. I would also suggest you not set a pay level for the company to match (ie, the 35% raise). Rather, let them know what the offer is (again, once you have it), and ask them if they could make you a counter-offer, otherwise you will resign to take the new role. I don't know how you'd like to phrase it, that depends on your relationship with your boss, your work output, etc.

Maybe something about how this is obviously a big step up for you, but that you enjoy working at your current company on the whatsis project with the great people they have. However, clearly the pay gulf is so large you cannot ignore it, what can they do to help ameliorate that issue so you can stay?

You gain two things from this - firstly, the chance to stay wherever you are, for whatever personal issues you have. More on that in a bit. Secondly, you get experience in negotiating a salary, which is always always a good thing to have. I cannot stress this enough, negotiating is fun, do it whenever you can.

If you do this delicately enough, you won't burn bridges in the terrible sense. You might burn the option of immediately returning to your old job if this new job is a horror, but that bridge is going to be 80% burnt when you announce the resignation, so I wouldn't fret about it.

Finally, rethink your desire to stay (negotiate anyway, though). Regardless of your pay now, a 2x~3x raise is just massive. Setting that aside for a 35% raise is an odd notion. I don't know what your personal constraints are, but almost all of them can be dealt with the extra money - you don't mention another country, just a city, so transport back to your current city should not be so expensive/time-consuming as to be impossible.

Think long and hard about what you're giving up - or rather, if you even need to give it up with the higher wage.

  • You're right: negotiation is fun. But that doesn't mean that it's a game. Think very well before moving any "piece" in this "game" because it can easily backfire. – Radu Murzea Jan 5 '15 at 14:59
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Once you have your offer in hand, and only when you do, should you start mentioning any perks. Nothing is guaranteed until you have the offer letter, so I would advise against mentioning it until it's finalized.

That said, it is unlikely at best and detrimental (to you) at worst for the company to make a counteroffer for you to stay.

All things considered, you're an inexpensive employee for the experience and education you currently have. If they wanted to find another college rookie and they felt that they had success with you, they'd be more open to trying that again as opposed to giving you that huge raise.

It's also more detrimental for your experience to not move to other opportunities. As a fellow software engineer with 2 years experience, it makes tons of sense to go out and try something new in the field, especially if you'll be more engaged in it.

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The question is, would it be OK to mention this offer when telling my manager about my resignation in the hope that I can bait them into a negotiation where I would have leverage and the upper hand, although I know they are somehow rigid?

If someone on my team tells me that they have decided to leave, I would seldom bother negotiating at that point. People leave for a variety of reasons, getting into a bidding war only impacts one of those reasons.

Of course it's "okay" to go get another job offer first, tender your resignation, and then somehow hope for a counter-offer.

But why wait until you resign to talk about the other offer? That might be too late for your current employer to take action, and could leave you in an awkward position with your new employer.

Instead, talk to your manager now about your current compensation, and your feelings that you are worth more. Discuss specifically how much you want.

And if don't get anywhere with your manager, you can decide to either hint or directly tell him that you are looking elsewhere. This move has its risks - your manager could let you go right away - but also has the possibility of starting a negotiation.

It's always okay to make a move like this in your own career. Just know what you really want, what you are willing to settle for, and be aware of the potential risks.

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