I've accepted a potentially long term position that has the intentions of me filling a leaving persons position in roughly 3-5 years. There is specialized training and the company is willing to invest in me (to my understanding with questions I've asked).

The pay is currently low for an engineering position but I have a set number in my head that I want to be making in 3 years.

Should I :

  1. Inform the employer now that I'm expecting that type of pay (a "real" engineer's salary) in 3 year

  2. Or wait for the time to come and give them the ultimatum of increase pay or I'm leaving?

I understanding being upfront with employers can be a risky situation. But I feel that option 2 may burn bridges and leave a bad taste in the employers mouth because I would essentially be backing them into a corner that they'd have no choice but to accept.

The increase wouldn't be anything substantial like $50,000, but it would be a pay increase.

The group that runs the company does notice dedication and give back to loyal employees, but they are to the core business men and the overall pay scale for the company is low among all positions (Labor to maintenance, but haven't spoken to many engineers because I don't discuss pay. I've only heard other maintenance and laborers complain about pay).

1 Answer 1


No, don't tell them. It's just stupid and could backfire. You will have the market power to make wage demands when the time comes, until then just gain experience. You should think of the situation as getting the experience now and then getting the 'real' engineer pay in 3 years time at a competitor.

Only discuss pay when you're in a position to enforce your demands. Until then you need to keep your powder dry. What you're considering is a) naive b) counterproductive and c) indicates a serious lack of people skills (which is as much a barometer of prospective payscale as hard skills).

Option 2. is fine, you don't have to be explicit "pay me this or I will leave" just "I've done some research and it looks like my position is worth X because of A,B,C". Save this until the time has come to get the rise. Until then you are weak and shouldn't be making manovures like this. From a managers perspective, it just looks like trouble. What happens if you get fed up of waiting 3 years and quit after 18 months? Maybe I shouldn't bother investing in you, at all.

  • I do think this is a better answer to what I am looking for.. Your explanation of why Option 2 is exactly what I was looking for but couldn't think out.But the second paragraph really wasn't needed.
    – Luke
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 17:30

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