I've been working in my current job for 7 months now, as a call center employee. My title has been "Team Lead". I've spent the majority of that time designing, deploying, and maintaining reports, dashboards, and productivity tools for our 100+ person team. I spend 8 hours a day programming.

My employer has decided to have me try and adapt my tools to work with other teams within the company and wants to promote me to a position to do so. They have not divulged the pay yet, but my PM has let me know that they are going to try and low-ball me into something less than $30k/y.

I have some leverage. One of my tools is heavily used by the companies workforce team to the point where they rely on it. And my dashboards and reporting is a required part of day to day activities for the operations team for our largest client.

This is a VERY cheap company, they pay their supervisors $28k/y and their program managers $50k/y. They put anyone that earns over $11.50/h into exempt positions if they can get away with it, so there is no getting around that part.

I want to put my foot down at $35k. What are some effective methods to push back on the salary when I know I have some leverage?

Note: I understand that an exempt position for such a low wage is me being taken advantage of. I enjoy my work, and I need to get good experience on my resume.

Edit: Current salary is $23k, but I am hourly.

Edit: Company made offer, then rescinded it, no negotiations were made.

  • I suggest you add your current salary.
    – Bougret
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 6:49
  • What is your alternative? Are you prepared to leave if you don't get the salary you want? Are there other employers that would hire you at the salary that you want? Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 6:54
  • The alternative is I continue doing what I've been doing and they don't get the tooling for more than one team. To your other question, I'm sure there are, but I do not have a job offer in hand for another employer. Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 6:55
  • If you don't take the offer you don't get the experience on your resume.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 6:58
  • 4
    Are you in the states? If so, even 35k/yr for a programmer is horrendous
    – Magisch
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 8:17

3 Answers 3


I want to put my foot down at $35k. What are some effective methods to push back on the salary when I know I have some leverage?

First, wait until you are actually offered a promotion and an associated salary. You would look foolish if you did something without that offer.

Then, if you still feel the promotion and raise (and additional benefits?) aren't what you feel you deserve, you can act.

You could talk about why you think you should get a raise of over 50%. You should talk about value to the company, rather than trying to hold your existing work hostage.

Then, you'll find out how much leverage you actually have. If this company is a cheap as you think, you probably have no leverage at all. You've only been there for 7 months - I assume the company existed before you got there.

Be aware that we often think we are more invaluable than we really are. While I'm sure your current work is important, a company can always find someone else to do the work. It might be painful in the short run, but it's always possible.

Also be aware that the promotion may have more long-term value for you than the raise. If this company is really very cheap, you should think about your exit strategy. Looking for a new development job with a promotion under your belt and a title more befitting a developer than "Call Center Team Lead" may be far more lucrative in the long run than the $5k you are planning to hold out for. Consider negotiating with that in mind instead of trying to "leverage" a few tools and reports you maintain.

  • 3
    the important thing here, is the "build your CV" part. This advice alone is worth far more than any pay raise. Especially in a cheap company.
    – gazzz0x2z
    Commented Feb 17, 2016 at 14:21

It sounds like this place is a dog and a horrible long term investment--so focus on what you can get out of them before you leave. Focus on what do you need for your next job, so you don't repeat the mistake of winding up in a call center with a non-developer salary.

Firstly, a developer title and clear developer responsibilities reporting through a development hierarchy will give you a much better resume. Get that, regardless. If not this place, then somewhere else, even as a junior developer.

Secondly, focus your work on the tools and processes you need to succeed. Look at the jobs you'd like to have and do those things. It might not be the shortest path to success for your current employer--but consider what your new employer will want.

Thirdly, get involved in the communities around those tools and processes. Get to know people working in places using these new tools.

Lastly, worry about salary at your current job. You should only expect to move up so much in salary between jobs, so everything you get will multiply into your new position. Allow your current job to commit to your first goal, then press for more salary. If you ask for too much, they'll detract you from your other goals, which will kill your ability to pull in some real money.

The real question isn't "How can I get more now?" It's "How can I quadruple my salary in the next 5 years." It won't be where you are.


Many companies have created some rules based on generalizing past experiences or they just don't know what they're doing. In your case, they feel they are better off with low wages. I know you feel you have some leverage, but they've been extremely low-balling your wages and you've done nothing about it.

They're offering a promotion to leverage your expertise. This shows they recognize your skills, but that doesn't mean they properly value them. So now, you've been with a company for only 7 months and you want to play hardball on the salary. In a comment you indicated you are willing to leave if you have to; I think there is a good chance it may come to that. Some companies just put a glass ceiling on salaries and are stubborn enough to suffer the consequences.

There is a chance you can nudge them on salary. You're going to need some numbers to show how much more efficient you can make current employees. They will probably like to hear that they can grow a certain amount without hiring more people or they may even be able to let people go. You have to decide if you want to be know as the person who cost other's their job. Let them know that most people who are capable of doing your type of work are going to ask for more money. I would mention something about why you initially took the job at a low salary because you felt you would be able to prove yourself eventually. Some see this as bragging, so tread lightly. Also, if they have to hire someone new, not only will they ask for the same salary as you, it will take more time for them to get up to speed.

Make sure there aren't some other managers that see you as a threat or don't want to change. Right now, management may be willing to ignore those that oppose this strategy because they can get you cheap. If you're going to ask for more money and others are going to resist/complain, they may think it is no longer worth it and leave you where you're at.

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