I appreciate there are similar questions such as this question, but it doesn't quite meet my concerns.


In early March, I'll have been working in my business for 2 years, originally taken on as a graduate web developer on £17k basic in a small team: my manager, myself and a dev for niche piece of software. That dev then left the business and I was landed the role of taking on the development for this piece of software. Following the first year, I had a rise to £20k basic.

We've since recruited 2 extra developers.

In about 18 months, I've become qualified developer in that piece of software and have responsibilities such as: managing the telephone lines, internet lines, system administration, technical support, travelling between offices (who don't have anyone technical) to support them if required and am unofficially regarded as the "second in command" of our small team whereas my colleagues have the luxury of just being able to code, relatively undisturbed.

The point I'm trying to make here is that in addition to developing for the website and the niche piece of kit, I've got a lot of extra responsibilities.

I've recently been contacted by a recruiter, explained my situation to them and they're claiming they could get me £30k plus benefits which got me thinking and after a quick search found that jobs being advertised with my credentials earn between £25k and £35k.

Long story short is: I'm feeling underpaid. Although the question linked refers to increments of 10%, what I'd be asking for is an increment of about 25% which I feel is absolutely reasonable, but it does sound like a steep increase.


  • Is it reasonable to request such a high pay rise given the skills I've acquired over the 2 years I've been at this business?
  • How could I approach such a large % increase with my manager?
  • Should there be anything to be aware of during this process?

When I got my first rise, I was simply offered an amount and accepted so there wasn't really any process for myself. Each quarter we have a review which is what I'm waiting for to bring this up, as it feels to be the most appropriate time. I want to take this opportunity to mention it as otherwise I'm concerned the process would be the same as the first time.


I appreciate the feedback! I would like to clarify and expand a little on a few points:

  • I'm flattered about the remarks around £30k-£40k, but I think with having only 2 years industry experience, £25k is reasonable.
  • I actually work in recruitment. I'm not sure if the type of industry makes a difference? Searching for a new job isn't the easiest as we specialise in IT so posting my CVs to boards is a big no-no, rather I'd have to probably contact recruits and employers directly. A bit of a pain, but that's my problem I suppose.
  • The other 2 devs have no idea how the phones work, administration, internet networking etc... works. So I do feel I have a lot of leverage to work with.
  • I have a good relationship with my manager. It's not always incredibly formal.

Not sure if this makes any difference to the answers present. But I massively appreciate your responses.

I'd upvote if I could but I'd really rather keep this anonymous.

Thank you again.

  • If you work in recruitment they should know your market value. Be direct - I think my market value is £25k+. You are not threatening to quit but use of the term market value implies you will test the market if you don't get that number. – paparazzo Feb 12 '16 at 16:05
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    I know that you do not believe it is a duplicate, but you haven't explained why it doesn't meet your concerns. The difference between 10% and 25% won't change the answers given. This answer in particular explains it well - you need to go in with concrete examples and support for why you are worth what you are asking. – David K Feb 12 '16 at 16:37
  • @DavidK I disagree. 10% at $50k isn't the same as 25% at £20k. It's two ends of the spectrum. Furthermore, the accepted answer starts with A 10% raise is nothing to sneeze at whereas I'm explicitly saying I want a bigger percentile on a much lower wage, and how to approach that as someone who has ~2 years professional experience. – User1234567890 Feb 12 '16 at 17:07
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    The other 2 devs have no idea how the phones work, administration, internet networking etc... works. So I do feel I have a lot of leverage to work with. Something I like to humble myself with: "don't you ever for a second get to thinking you're irreplaceable" -Beyoncé – Professor Allman Feb 12 '16 at 17:49
  • 2 years experience is nothing in the big picture... just saying – Kilisi Feb 13 '16 at 2:36

This company clearly undervalues you, or they believe they have you over a barrel, and can pay you whatever they want.

So the first thing you need to do is start interviewing. Get a job offer for > 35K. Then go to them and ask for 40K.

What you should understand, however, is that the second you ask for more money you're painting a target on your back.

If they don't give it to you yet you stick around they'll know that you're probably going to leave soon, and start planning to replace you.

If they do give you that substantial raise in order to keep you working for them they may resent that you forced their hand, and start planning to replace you ASAP (because you're costing them as much as two fresh employees).

If I were in your shoes I would simply get a new job.

  • I appreciate your response. I thought I'd let you know I've modified my question slightly, just in case it makes any difference to your answer. – User1234567890 Feb 12 '16 at 14:45
  • @User1234567890 - the situation mostly remains the same. No employer likes to be told "give me X or I quit". On the other hand, if you simply politely ask "may i please have a 20% raise" the answer is most likely going to be "hahaha! no." Remember that the basis of any negociation is why you should get that money. You may feel that you've added that much value to the business, but the owner may not (either because he doesn't realize it, or because you're overestimating your contributions). The fact still remains, however, that other companies would pay you more money for that work – AndreiROM Feb 12 '16 at 14:49

First, if a recruiter says you can get 30k, then you can get 40k. (Edit for clarification: this means if they are talking about 30k in the market generally -- not if they are discussing only one particular job)

Second, the best way to negotiate is to have other options. The people who get the best pay raises go into their pay negotiation with another job already lined up.

You can be polite for sure, but this isn't going to come across as "polite" no matter which way you ask for a raise. Even if you are very polite, it will still feel tricky. To some extent your goals of keeping your boss comfortable and asking for a significant pay raise are conflicting.

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    "if a recruiter says you can get 30k, then you can get 40k." Things may be different in the USA, but it's my experience that recruiters tend to oversell, rather than undersell, to candidates. – user145 Feb 12 '16 at 14:01
  • Maybe its just an IT thing then... are you in a field other than IT? I find that they undersell in the USA, and UK recruiters were underselling when I was contracting there, but that was about 15 years ago. – Brad Thomas Feb 12 '16 at 14:04
  • Also bear in mind that largely, the recruiter and the employer are singing from the same hymn sheet. So if a recruiter seems to oversell, e.g. at 40k, and then the employer later seems to indicate 30k max, its probably not because there was a communication error between them, but because the recruiter passed on the message that the candidate sounded like they would take less – Brad Thomas Feb 12 '16 at 14:10
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    @BradThomas: I found my current job through a recruiter and discussed the process with my new boss afterwards, and the recruiter definitely painted a brighter picture than what the company told him. What the recruiter told me I could make was more than the CEO's salary. – RemcoGerlich Feb 12 '16 at 14:19
  • I have edited my answer since it seems there is some confusion about what I meant by "if a recruiter says you can get 30k, then you can get 40k" – Brad Thomas Feb 12 '16 at 14:31

The polite way is "hey, it looks like I'm getting paid below industry average for my jon. What do I need to do to accelerate the next few raises?"

That may not bring you up as much as you want, and may not do it quickly. But it's polite. If the difference was only a few percent it might even be enough.

  • I appreciate your response. I thought I'd let you know I've modified my question slightly, just in case it makes any difference to your answer. – User1234567890 Feb 12 '16 at 14:46

I second going to them only after you have an offer in your hand for your desired range. In my experience, talking directly to them, no matter how politely, will only end in frustration for several reasons. To name only a few reasons:

  1. You'll set yourself up for more disappointment
  2. You'll engage in future discussions which will highlight why they can't pay more
  3. You may become a target, if so, its not likely that you'll know. You'll find out after the position has been approved and several interviews have taken place.
  4. They'll find opportunity to re-work your job description, potentially including your peers as well, in order to get more from you FOR FREE.

These are some big ones, but there are others as well. Interview like there's no tomorrow and go in there with something in writing, then let the cards fall where they may.

EDIT: I'm tailoring this to your exact situation - In most cases you can talk shop and get 1$/hr raise. This sounds like the precedent has been set that you'll go above and beyond and accept any pay rate. It's hard to resist going in and complaining, but you need evidence that you can and likely will leave for competitive compensation.

  • I generally agree with this but I think it's better not to disclose the offer in hand, since this limits his new pay level to just above that – Brad Thomas Feb 12 '16 at 14:12
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    I agree, he would have the opportunity to be creative in how he presents this information. – V1GG3N Feb 12 '16 at 14:15
  • I appreciate your response. I thought I'd let you know I've modified my question slightly, just in case it makes any difference to your answer. – User1234567890 Feb 12 '16 at 14:45

Make a case for the additional duties you have taken on and why that makes you more valuable and ask for a promotion with a raise. If your workplace has a formal system for pay bands based on job duties, asking to have your job duties re-evaluated by HR can also work (generally only in large organizations though). You are not likely to get 25% in any event because they don't have that in the budget. If you feel you really need that much, then you will likely need to find another employer.

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