I recently moved to a new company. I got a 5% pay cut from my previous job, and including commuting and other costs my yearly income will decrease by 10%, not considering inflation. I accepted because the job was very interesting and it's a nice move from a small start-up (1-10 employees) to a bigger company (100-500 employees).

However, I am wondering when my new salary will catch up. There is high request of developers with my background in the area, but I don't want to appear as a job-hopper. So I plan to stay here 2-3 years. But, I don't want to lose too much money.

So, my question is: how do salary increases work in bigger companies, when you are not getting promoted and there is high demand for your skills?

  • 2
    Every company is different and has a different policy regarding when and how to grant a payment rise. We can not answer questions about company-specific regulations. Ask your supervisor, colleagues, HR department or whoever seems to be familiar with how your company ticks.
    – Philipp
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 15:29
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    Why did you take a job you knew you were offered below market salary when you knew there is a lot of demand for people with your experience?
    – enderland
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 15:31
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    However, I am wondering when my new salary will catch up. - it probably never will. Especially at big companies, even as you get raises everyone else will be too.
    – Telastyn
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 15:55
  • This is difficult to answer because most people leave large companies to go work for a startup for less money and not the other way around. Wait, what? Did I read the question correctly?
    – user8365
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 18:05
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    You're a developer, you're in demand. It's a sellers labour market and it's full of contractors, is job hopping a big deal?
    – Nathan
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 0:02

3 Answers 3


Your mileage may vary but I've found the only way to get a decent pay raise in this industry is to switch jobs every several years.

At company A despite amazing performance reviews and hitting every mark given and doing great work - the raise was always ~ 1% with different excuses every time.

Jump to company B and snag a 15% pay jump. Lather rinse repeat

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    Been there, done that - it is the only thing that really works. Companies in general nowadays have no plans to increase anyone's salary so it is up to the employee to look after his own interests.
    – user1220
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 19:54
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    I have also found this to be true. It's not the 1960's anymore where corporations and employees lived by a social contract of mutual loyalty. Although there may be a few companies where there is truly shared goodwill between the institution and the employees, the work environment and culture have changed, and that is also true for the "job hopping" stigma. As long as you don't show something silly like 5 job changes in a year I think it's becoming less of an issue.
    – Bernard Dy
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 17:12
  • I'll accept a mediocre number the first year as I'm still proving myself and I might not be there a full review cycle. Year two I'll get a real feel for how the process works. Come year 3 if we've done the ~1% COL game again then I'll keep my ears open for new opportunitise
    – ist_lion
    Commented Feb 27, 2015 at 17:18

You need to talk to HR. I went through this process last year and I ultimately decided to change jobs. It depends on your skills, the context of your job, market pay, and how much work you do.

When I graduated with my Master's, I went to a smaller company (150 or so employees) and I asked for a high salary. They told me that I was being paid more than some people who have been there for years. This was the first big lesson on negotiation I ever learned, but that's off-topic for this. Anyway, not only did I not like the work I was doing, but I had the feeling that I would barely ever get raises or move up at the pace that I wanted, since I didn't have experience and was already being paid more than most of the other people on my team.

Shortly after (5 months) I got recruited by a bigger company (2000+ employees) and not only do I make more money here and do more interesting work, but I am the lowest man on the totem pole, so that means my raises will be more substantial.

Ultimately, it depends on where you are on the ladder in comparison to your team. The lower you are the higher your raises typically. 3% to someone making 30k more than you is much more than at your pay grade, so it tends to normalize. In addition, most big companies have yearly performance reviews. I asked HR at my company how raises work and they had no problems with the question, so do that!

Oh and piece of advice...never take a pay cut. Ever.

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    "Oh and piece of advice...never take a pay cut. Ever." +1 for that
    – o0'.
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 19:06
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    A real terms pay cut or a gross one? It's possible to have a lower number on your pay check but more money in the bank at the end of the month
    – Jon Story
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 21:53

You should be asking this question at the HR department of your firm. This shouldn't be an eyebrow-raising question for them and if you don't feel that you will be able to obtain a raise and/or promotion within a reasonable timeframe, you may be better off looking for a position with a new company. Unless you have an excessive amount of short duration positions back-to-back, you won't immediately get the 'job hopper' red flag, or at least not to the point where it can be a deal-breaker.

  • Talk to your manager too. "Hey, boss, what targets would I need to meet to qualify for a raise?" There often are specific things you can get involved in to boost your performance rating and take home more incentive bonus or a promotion or to be earlier in line when they start allocating raises. Don't count on your manager 'coming to you, or you could wind up being left behind. (Bt, dt, lwisk...)
    – keshlam
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 23:37

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