First of all a little background:
Fresh employed (<2 months) for a new - permanent - position
~5 years experience in IT-Sector
Service Company in Pharmasector
<15 employees
**.000.000 turnover

The Situation:
My responsibilities go far beyond the job description. I was hired as IT-project staff but this is only a fraction of my role here.

Actually, I'm the only person with IT-Knowledge in a company whose service relies on quite (way too) complex IT-Processes. These processes, the architecture, Service Providers and so on, have to be refactored and managed.

The job is actually a quite big thing and not as banal as I thought in the first place. The management is aware of that, but due their lack of IT-knowledge (they say) they where unable to write a proper job description. I now write my own description which will be part of the working contract.

Within the next 6-12 months, I'll be almost irreplaceable. Everything I do should have been done years ago (literally). The IT structure reminds me of a tower of razorblades. God knows why this still stands up, but it doesn't take a lot for everything to fail at once.

I'm perfectly fine with the job, it's an awesome challenge within a good friendly and high budget environment.

My direct superior (Not part of the management) told me, that there where only 2 other candidates which where suitable and that they chose me for the social fit (I fit perfectly in the team).

The Problem:
I've sold myself far below value. Looking at national salary statistics, companies financial situation and my (now gathered) knowledge of that position, there is a discrepancy of factor 2-3. I think that's huge and I feel "way too cheap".

I do not want to ask for the double or triple. Let's say within the next 3 years, I want my salary to be doubled from the current. By that, it would be slightly below the median for such a position for a person of my experience (8 years then).

How and when is such a topic addressed best?

  • I have some difficulties to understand, how could you sold yourself for the half of what you worth ? I mean how many are you paid currently and how many do you think you're worth (or market price). Being somewhat 10-20,30% under market happens, but half/third of it ?? Or is it a matter of the job ? Like you were recruited as a simple developer already underpaid and your like their IT Architect now ?
    – Walfrat
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:10
  • Coming from a sw development position in a small low budget company (32k/anum) and with a vacancy asking for an operative xml expert as project staff I was happy asking for slightly above 40k. But now I know what that job really is. Actually I am doing strategic it management, which is usually payed 80-120k with top earners above 200k.this is not what I am asking for, but maybe this helps to understand the situation.
    – jawo
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:38
  • Seemingly you did not understood how it came to this situation. Please read again, in particular the part about the position doesn't match the description and interview topics. My salary fits perfectly for the initial vacancy description, but that's just not what I do.
    – jawo
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 15:19
  • 1
    After 20 years in this industry one learned lesson is: Ever sell yourself for what you are worth. If the job description is...not describing all your responsabilities it's a company problem. Your problem is to sell yourself. If recruiter says "but it's too much for your tasks" just tell them to give more. Also I rarely found a good description for the actual job and always assume it ill be some sort of herculean odyssea, I'm rarely disapointed
    – jean
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 16:18
  • Sempie : use @[nickname] when you answer to someon's comment or we don't see it.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 19:49

4 Answers 4


How and when is such a topic addressed best?

You have already started addressing it, you have let them know and got confirmation of the scope of work you need to take care of. So now what you need to do is start giving solid results instead of complaining about the existing structure which has somehow stood the test of time despite being a complete shambles.

Once you have solid results under your belt, and solid documentation on all changes implemented and how they benefit the company, you're all set for when they review your salary. Doubling a persons salary does not happen very often, but it CAN happen, but you need to have something to show for it.

Check your contract and find out when your review is due and prepare for that, if it's not on there, ask your manager.

  • 3
    Absolutely. Prove you're worth more and after most of a year, when your evaluation is coming into view, you can quietly mention that your research says you're being paid below average for this position, you've demonstrated your competence, and you trust then to do something appropriate and/or tell you specifically what else they need to see from you.
    – keshlam
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 14:19

Coming from a sw development position in a small low budget company (32k/anum) and with a vacancy asking for an operative xml expert as project staff I was happy asking for slightly above 40k. But now I know what that job really is. Actually I am doing strategic it management, which is usually payed 80-120k with top earners above 200k.this is not what I am asking for,

Well you may be doing strategic IT management, but you're working for a 15 employee company. I'm pretty sure that those $80-120k salary are standards for companies with more than 100 people, where the job is more difficult and involves managing teams.

Of course, since you have way more responsibility than a single developer, you could reasonably ask for quite a bit more.

If your company grows, the heaviness of your responsibility will grow too, because you won't be able to continue alone anymore, you will have people under your orders. So if your company is able to grow, you will catch up the salary you're talking about.

So instead of asking for double salary in 3 years, which probably doesn't match to your job according to the size of your company, you can expect first to ask for a reasonable increase (up to 50k in 3 years?) and hope the company grows. If it grows and you hold that position, your salary will follow.


Negotiating after that long time will be not easy. Especially if you want to double your current salary. You signed the contract and agreed on your current salary. But you have arguments on your side to propose a raise.

State to them:

  1. What you have accomplished yet and what benefits/profits they gained from that.
  2. What disadvantages / problems / financial loss would probably come up if you have not done more then your old job description stated.
  3. What new Responsibilities, Tasks and Roles do you have.
  4. The description of the job was inaccurate and a appropriate one would have resulted in a much bigger financial compensation
  5. Before talking about your salary it can also be helpful to have a new job offer which gives you a better salary. This proves you are worth more then they are currently paying you.

I would also consider the timing of discussing this cause. After finishing the rebuild you are not so needed anymore, so I would try to negotiate after 6 months or so when you can show first results.

In my experiences its easier to look for a new company and to make new negotiations. But you have to try to fix it. But do not expect anything.

  • edit: I am from Germany and I was in a similar situation. 25% percent under the common average payment for my job tasks. I had 4 attempts to improve my salary but more than a 3% raise was not accepted by my boss. Even though my tasks were doubled, lots of overtime and I had to go on business travel to our customers to write software. After 5 years I stopped to be loyal to this company. I had no problem in new job negotiations and ended up with 40% more salary then before.
    – Picard
    Commented Sep 15, 2016 at 16:10

Sooner rather than later, meet with your boss and explain the situation. You need to cover 3 main points:

  1. The scope of your work is far beyond the position you thought you had landed.
  2. Reference market rates and explain that you took the position at a rather low rate than you are really worth because you wanted to work for a startup, get in the ground floor, and help guide the company as they grow. A small company may not have the resources to pay market rate.
  3. You are fully capable of filling your current role, enjoy working there, and want to find a way to make it equitable for both you and them.

From there, ask your boss about the goals of the company and at what point they think the company will be able to offer you a competitive compensation package commensurate with your responsibilities. Try to work out a plan to get to that point--perhaps you can get there in stages over the next several years. If they cannot afford to pay a competitive salary, perhaps they can substitute equity or some other benefits like more PTO, fully paid medical/dental insurance, etc. Come to an agreement on how your performance should be measured in order to hit your milestones and salary increases, and get everything in writing.

In the meantime, keep your eye on the market, interview with other companies for similar roles, and be ready to move on if your current employer fails to live up to their end of the deal.

Generally if you are early in your career, you should be changing jobs every 1-3 years or you will stagnate.

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