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This is my situation: I ended up starting a new job late 2015 so I wouldn't be part of the salary reviews of that year. I took the job in a different city so I was not fully aware of the salary averages for software engineers, so I ended up taking a lower salary than the average. It's about 10k below the city average. My manager is extremely happy with my performance and I have gotten really good reviews from several colleagues. How would I go about discussing a salary review for this job since:

  • I have only been in the company for about 5 months.
  • Missed the performance review period since I joined the company late. This would require me to wait another year for the next one.
  • Changing jobs is not an option for me since I really love the work and I feel like it's what I want to do as a career.

Any ideas of how I should bring this conversation up with my manager? Now keep in mind, I can making a living with my current salary but I am on a pretty tight budget when it comes to expenses.

  • You don't say where you are in the country. If you're in the US, a difference of 10k between geographic areas may be normal. There are also industry differences. Are you comparing your salary with other salaries in your area and industry? – Thomas Owens Apr 5 '16 at 19:42
  • sorry it was not national average, I meant city average. And it's comparing to people in software engineering. – waveguidestructure Apr 5 '16 at 19:44
  • Are you also looking at industry data? For example, I work in aerospace/defense. In this geographic area, my salary is in line with other aerospace/defense companies. However, if I go to a company in the next building over that's in a different industry, they pay about $10-15k/year more generally. – Thomas Owens Apr 5 '16 at 19:45
  • Good point, I didn't look into a specific industries. – waveguidestructure Apr 5 '16 at 19:47
  • I'll turn my comments into an answer since they seem to be at least somewhat helpful. – Thomas Owens Apr 5 '16 at 19:48
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I am assuming 10K is in US Dollars and it is on your yearly salary. Well, as someone once said, experience is the sum of all mistakes we do, that fits your situation very well. When you accepted a job offer, you must have noticed that your workplace is in a different city.There are myriad of resources on the web to help you set your expectations as far as cost of living goes. Probably you did not look any of these places and took the offer on the face value. At this point, it is your error not seeking this information. Probably the best thing is to wait for the next review cycle. On the flipside, I am not sure what percentage of your compensation is thet $10K maps to but if it is something like 15% or so, it is a tall order to get that kind of salary increase in any company I know, unless you get promoted to a higher responsibility position.

On the other hand, if you were hired to work in a different city but few days/weeks after you are hired, you were told by the company that you will work from this other city offices of the same company and you had to move for that, then you should ask the person who initiated your transfer about cost of living adjustment. If they say they don't make such adjustments, you can ask to go back to the city where you started initially.

Unfortunately, I don't see too much of a positive outcome in your situation, especially since you said you like this place/job and job change is not an option.

  • Thanks for the advice, I guess I will just wait until the next cycle. – waveguidestructure Apr 5 '16 at 20:04
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You mentioned that you looked at the city average. That's not really a good measure for comparing your salary to others.

First off, it's good that you narrowed down your geographic region to city. You do need to look at least at your region, since salary data can fluctuate throughout the country. Depending on where you are, looking at a city or a metro area will give you better ideas than looking at national averages.

However, you also need to look at your industry. Some industries pay more or less than other industries. For example, my salary is very much in line with people doing similar work at similar companies in my industry. However, if I were to change industries, my salary becomes significantly below average, even in my geographic area.

Something else you need to consider is the complete benefits package. You may have perks not available at other companies - educational and training opportunities, different (and better) insurance plans, corporate discounts (perhaps even on recurring purchases, like cell phone bills), commuter benefits, and so on.

If you're going to do a comparison, do a comparison based on all of the factors. However, if you like your work and you're making enough money to live a suitable lifestyle, I don't think you should bring up the compensation concern so early. However, you can bring it up at your next review cycle if it is still out of line with your research.

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I think that because you have hardy got your feet under the table, I think you will have to wait another year. Companies have these things at fixed times in the calendar.

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