So, I realize that there are a few questions out there like this, but not one that's specifically my situation, so I'll ask.


I was hired at 19 years old as a "Web Content Specialist" primarily to develop the company's main website and do simple content updates at $22.50 an hour (salaried, at .75 fte). Now, it's nearly 3 years later and I'm about to finish my bachelors in Computer Engineering. I know the average starting amount for computer engineers freshly finished with their degree, and it's more than double what I'm currently making. I was accepted the position at a a steal rate because I was 19 and doing undergrad work, but now that I'm nearly finished with my degree I'm feeling underpaid.

I should also mention that I am no longer working as a "Web Content Specialist" instead I'd say I'm much more of a general "Software Developer", over the past three years I've been rapidly picking up other responsibilities (as co-workers left the company, no one was hired and I was given their jobs); such as:

  1. Integrating previous Microsoft Access CRM system into a fresh custom build of Salesforce, developed only by myself.
  2. Salesforce Admin and companywide training for SF.
  3. Creating multiple promo apps for the iPhone, Android, and OSX platforms, used for tradeshows etc.
  4. Taking over all graphic design responsibilities for the entire company after my boss quit (and the position wasn't filled), oh and I'm not and never want to be a graphic designer - I just happen to be good at it.
  5. Taking over a secure download system/custom java website that supports the entire company in delivering their product. (Was given this responsibility after another employee quit and their position wasn't filled, see below)
  6. 6 members of the support staff at this company have recently left/quit (in the past 3 months, at a 120 employee company), my boss and two co-workers were among them and positions weren't filled increasing my workload immensely.


  • How do I ask for a raise amounting to 30% more than I currently make, after just accepting all of these responsibilities without a caveat?
  • Is it reasonable to ask for a 30% raise under these circumstances? (Noting I took over the responsibilities of someone making that much)
  • How should I approach it with my boss, or the director of the company (who is one above my boss)?
  • Can I go about this in asking for a new job title, (Software Developer, instead of web content specialist) which has a different pay grade in the HR department and could constitute the pay adjustment?


I know that my new boss also got a pseudo new responsibility (in managing me and one other person), got no raise, and currently makes less than I do. So I feel awkward approaching them with this.

Also - during the latest raise cycle, I was given a 4% raise, and the director of the company (analog to CEO) stopped by and told me that this is more than what anyone else got for a raise, and that he really appreciated my work and "wanted to make sure I knew that".

  • 3
    Have you looked through the similar questions on this topic? And for the record, doing some freelance website work when you're 12 is not the startpoint of your career. Your career starts when you move into your first professional (office) job or you start dedicating the majority of your time to freelance work. The odd website project doesn't qualify. And what is a "reddit-style response"?
    – Lilienthal
    Sep 7 '16 at 6:21
  • @NathanCooper, thank you that makes much more sense, and I'd agree with the lack of respect for software development, and that I'd learn a lot more somewhere else. I'll still argue with you about being a "junior", but cheers :)
    – jrobe
    Sep 7 '16 at 7:19
  • 1
    @jrobe : unfortunately, you're not the one making definitions. The market makes the definitions. Everyone out of degree is a junior, wether that person can remake Stack overflow in one week, or cannot make a fizzbuzz in the same time. You're an experimented junior.
    – gazzz0x2z
    Sep 7 '16 at 7:46
  • I think Kilisi and Nathan Cooper have said it all in their comments. You have now the responsability of many people that leaved the company, surely even with a 100% raise you won't cost more than the bunch of people yo're replacing. If everyone is leaving and not getting replace, that just mean it probably won't get any better. So you're better leaving. You have done as a "junior" more than people expect from "juniors", if the problem is on their side, it's their problem, not yours. and it seems those problems are running for years. Move on.
    – Walfrat
    Sep 7 '16 at 11:27
  • 2
    If you've been working there for 3 years, you've taken over all these responsibilities and the best you got was a 4% raise and a pat on the shoulder, you should move on to a new job on principle alone.
    – Erik
    Sep 7 '16 at 12:17

When asking for a raise, don't focus on where you are (e.g. that it's a 30% raise); focus on the job responsibilities.

Assuming you want to stay (if they pay you more), in your next one-on-one meeting with your manager, say something like the following:

As you know, I'll be graduating soon and am ready for a software-development role. I really appreciate the opportunities I've had to learn here. I'd like to stay if I can. What would it take for me to be promoted to a software developer?

Notice that I didn't say anything about money yet. What I did say was: here's what my degree qualifies me for, and I'd like a promotion. A promotion is an opportunity for a salary adjustment that is not part of the annual performance review/raise.

Even if they'd wanted to, they were not going to give you a 30% -- or even 10% -- raise as part of the annual cycle. That would be way out of whack with your coworkers, and people would be disgruntled. Your goal is to move up in the hierarchy, which naturally involves adjusting your salary. Then next year when you get your 3% or whatever, it'll be in sync with everyone else.

If your manager is open to the promotion idea, then you discuss salary.


You can make a logical argument why you should have your 30% raise and lose your job. Your obsession that you deserve the money may be more than matched by their obsession that they can't or won't pay what you are asking. Deserving a raise may be a necessary condition to getting a raise but it is hardly a sufficient condition for getting a raise. At least with most employers.

You can tell yourself that you are indispensable but they won't fold if you leave - they'll limp along until they find somebody else.

Your asking for the kind of raise you are asking is probably a lost cause - you are graduating from college as an underpaid undergrad. You would have been better off leaving for better pay a while ago. Right now, the best argument you can make to a prospective employer is that you enjoyed getting the experience and that pay was a secondary consideration.


A few important points:

  1. If you've taken on all this work so far without balking, it's already been assumed by the company that you were comfortable taking it on without the raise. Now, to suddenly demand a raise, at 30%, will mark you as a "problem child" (no pun intended.)
  2. Taking on responsibilities other than your desired or intended field of work is most definitely a sign to your management that you're sort of a push-over. Companies love this sort of employee until the day the employee shows up -- frustrated and underpaid -- with a rifle. "But he was always such a nice guy" is what they'll say to the local SWAT team. Don't take on such varying responsibilities ever again because it actually makes it HARDER to assess what you really do and come up with a rationale for a raise. Never sell yourself short.
  3. You're going to have to leave, despite the fact that it may cost the company more to replace you than to give you a raise. The funky thing is that once you're gone, they may actually decide that some of the stuff you've been doing isn't that mission-critical after all, and just limp along without it. Who knew? It's unfortunate, but you can't assume that your own well-thought-out rationale is actually what motivates your management.
  4. You're right on the thing about the titles justifying higher pay, but it's likely nothing's going to happen on your current job with a title change to facilitate a raise. Make sure your next job title matches what you want to be, as it will carry weight on the next job after that (think long-term!).
  • +1 for "But he was always such a nice guy", it was almost me at some point. Sep 7 '16 at 16:28

You are at a transition in your career. Have you considered want you want to do and where you want to work? If your current company meets those criteria, you can apply for a new position that matches your skill set, and negotiate a new salary accordingly.

If you stay simply because you are already there, and/or you dig your heels in that you're being treated unfairly, you are likely undermining your own career. People will brag about a great new hire, even if the pay is a bit high. People rarely brag about giving more money to the person who was already there.

This company has given you tremendous experience, and has increased your value as an employee substantially. If you shop that experience elsewhere, and it will be valued using the market in your area as a guide.

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