This is an answer I get quite often since I am "relatively" new to Canadian job market. In particular, when I am asking for a better offer compared to the initial package. I usually ace the technical interviews, and brag a bit (just a bit) about my professional background which reflects a good sense of adaptation. I also demonstrate what I can practically bring to the company in terms of improvements, and hence I really expected that I could negotiate a bit more my package but putting aside the number of annual leaves, it seems I do not have much bargaining power.
90 percent of the time I get the answer as follows:
Sorry we really cannot do that, you have to understand that this can lead to a terrible situation where your co-workers are going to be jealous of you and destroy or break the harmony within the team.
This is also the case when I show them that I got a better offer somewhere else (but still really cheap).
I have tried different types of counter moves:
- Don't you think that increasing the number of annual leaves is equally shocking for my future co-workers?
- Out of curiosity, the package I have is not supposed to be at my entire discretion? How come my work colleagues are supposed to know about my package...?
- Do you purposely hire puerile personalities (it was not really phrased like that but that was the gist) cause the recruiter was saying that he is currently facing jealousy issue and it was really hard for him to handle the situation... (honestly, I feel it would be hard whenever you hire someone who is not trustworthy)
- One harsh but sadly true: in my past experience sometimes for the same position, we got till 5k euro annual difference, it didn't really bother anybody we were helping each other and working together... so can you tell me what the actual reason is?
I confess that these are not the best options, but I haven't found a way out to change their minds when they come up with this excuse (cause I do believe it's just a "little" white lie to keep the package as low as possible, ...or... or this is actually the case and there is something here in Canada that I don't really get)
I managed to get something really decent even though it was harder than what I originally expected (probably due to the smaller size of the job market here). Actually, at some point I realized that most of those companies who were using those (cheap) excuses were generally not the best... I cannot really say "Please don't waste your time and don't go with them" but think twice before accepting their offer. Based on a dozen of offers where I got this excuse I almost systematically noticed something wrong for 10 out of 12, be it:
- Unprofessional attitude
- "Dirty" employment contracts, unclear clauses
- The walk away trick triggers
- Being insulting when refusing their offers
- Giving me that long silence when arguing that their excuses are not legitimate and talking about my previous experiences where a salary gap from 5 to 10k annual was certainly not a big thing even when employees talk and share about how much they make. I agree that this can legitimately happen with companies that are using a fixed and rigid grid system but when it's not (i.e. heavily administrative) this is just a sign of getting you at the cheapest price and a clear sign that they are not really willing to invest in their employees...
Honest companies would rather tell you something along those lines:
You don't have enough experience to deserve / get this package
This salary is for our managers / team lead positions not for software developers
We are a startup company and therefore at that stage of our growth we are a bit short on the budget
Even if you can still argue about those reasons, they are at least more reasonable and legitimate than just saying that you would break the so-called "harmony" within the team or the whole company (even cheaper that one), salary-wise.