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I'm in the second round of interviews and my salary expectation going into the job is $XX,000 as an entry-level software developer. I am aware that most of the other workers in the company who have very similar roles as me are getting paid $XX,000 + ~$23,000 (I checked on Glassdoor.) I'm not too worried about starting off low, my goal right now is to get into a software development company. I also don't want to end up not getting hired because I requested a high pay (I'd rather get the job for a low starting pay than risk not getting the job at all).

With that said, the worst case scenario is that I come into work and after 6 months, realize that I am valued more than how much I am getting paid, but I am stuck getting paid significantly lower because of the contract I signed. What are my options in this worst case scenario?

Note: I didn't sign any contract yet, I'm still in the second round of the interview. But I'm certain one of the main reasons the company wants me right now is because have a decent skill set and good potential and want a low pay. If I increase my salary expectation right now then I'm afraid I'm going to risk not getting the job at all.

Edit: I calculated how much I need to earn in order to get through for the next few months, and I found that I can get through with earning $XX,000 / year (which is how much I said I expect). In most companies (and in the current one), a software developer or similar earns more than how much I said I expect.

marked as duplicate by gnat, scaaahu, Alec, The Wandering Dev Manager, Kate Gregory Sep 10 '15 at 19:10

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    Understand that their offer will be based on what they want to pay, not what you need to earn. Hopefully you can find some middle ground that works for both sides. – cdkMoose Sep 4 '15 at 21:03
  • Are you sure the average for a new graduate is $50/hour? I find that hard to believe. 6 months of experience really isn't a great deal. You are going to run into the problem of them being able to out and with relative ease simply replace you with a new graduate. – Donald Sep 6 '15 at 3:23
  • Very related - workplace.stackexchange.com/a/907/2322 – enderland Sep 6 '15 at 19:42
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With that said, the worst case scenario is that I come into work and after 6 months, realize that I am valued more than how much I am getting paid, but I am stuck getting paid significantly lower because of the contract I signed. What are my options in this worst case scenario?

That's your worst case scenario? I guess I could imagine a few that were far worse, but let's go with your assumption.

If that's truly the worst case that you want to avoid, then don't accept this job even if offered. Don't accept a job from a company you believe is hiring you because you are "a new grad with a decent skill set and good potential who wants a low pay". Selling yourself as a "cheap hire" is almost certain to bring about your worst case.

Work hard to find another job, and this time don't tell them that you are okay with $35/hour. Only accept an offer you are willing to live with for at least a year. Ask about the company's annual salary review policy to determine when you might be eligible for an increase, if you deserve one. (In the US most employers have annual raises. Many lump them all together and do reviews and raises for everyone at the same time.)

Then work really hard and show the company how much you are worth.

Stop trusting self-reporting sites like glassdoor as an indication of what you should be making (now or after 6 months). They aren't accurate, and have no real relevance for your specific situation.

Stop measuring yourself against how much you suspect others are being paid. Get a salary that works for you - without regard to what works (or doesn't work) for others.

These steps will go a long way toward avoiding what you view as a worst case scenario.

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You could ask for a salary review at six months as part of your initial contract. Be aware though that pay raises after joining a company are often much smaller that what they would pay a new person from outside the company with similar levels of experience. Expect that the raise in six months might not be more than 2-3% range. To get to your targeted salary, you may need to leave after you gain some good experience. Yes, even if they are paying others that much at that company.

So when you start low at a company, you tend to remain in the lower salaries for the rest of the time you spent there and possibly for a good part of your career. I realize you need a job, but low-balling your starting salary is a tactic that tends to harm you in the long run.

  • A lot of bigger companies won't do this either, because they have very defined processes for how/when raises work. – enderland Sep 6 '15 at 19:43
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With that said, the worst case scenario is that I come into work, work very hard (this is expected), realize I'm working just as much as everyone else and have the same skill set as the other developers / designers after 6 months, but I am stuck getting paid significantly lower than them because of the contract I signed. What are my options in this worst case scenario?

In my opinion the question is based on a false premise. Salaries are based on a number of things, and skills are an important one of those things, but it is not the only thing. Good judgement, knowing how to give a good presentation, knowing how to work with problematic team mates, etc., are also a big part of what makes you valuable to the company. And some of those things take time to develop, especially good judgement.

Given that, if you absolutely kick butt during the first 6 months I would think about asking for a raise. Otherwise I would wait for your annual review and go in loaded for bear with lots of evidence of the awesome stuff that you have done for the company. Keep in mind that if you do well they may decide to give you an early raise on their own. This happened to me a couple of times early on in my career.

  • Ah okay, so it is possible for a pay to change even before the date signed on the contract. Got it. And yes, I'm for sure aware that technical skills does not automatically equal the best worker. I was just saying it for the sake of assuming worst case scenario (where I am working a lot more than what I am getting paid to do). – user112321123 Sep 4 '15 at 20:41
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Your salary is not based on your skill set, it is based on your value to the company. The best skill sets in the world aren't valuable unless you apply them correctly. For this company, that will depend on a combination of experience, business domain knowledge and inter-personal skills. Your co-workers already likely have more experience and domain knowledge, and you aren't likely to catch them in 6 months.

Measuring yourself by skill set and hours worked is not likely to lead you to a successful career, financially or in your role. Learn to provide value to your employer, then career and financial growth will come looking for you.

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I would tell them what you expect long term, for example 60$/h and that you are willing to work the first few months for less, let's say 40$/h, until you get to know each other and see if it works. Try to get a contract now that has those numbers, doesn't need to be exactly 6 months either, 3-4 should be fine too.

This will reduce their risk of wasting a lot of money but also reduce your risk of wasting your time on a company that is not willing to pay you appropriate.

Not sure about proper wording in english, but the contract should state that the normal salary is 60$/h and the reduced version is the exception for the initial phase.

If you just need a money job for half a year, you can always go flipping burgers, or to stay in technology, take some freelance jobs, you might like it and reconsider becoming an employee.

  • 1
    This sounds like you want a contract that stipulates you have a guaranteed raise after a fixed period (e.g. 6 months). Also if I'm the employer it's not necessarily good, because it means you may want to leave at the end of the 3-4 months. Better for both parties to agree up front on the required salary. – Brandin Sep 5 '15 at 10:48

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