I have just got an initial job offer for $75k + benefits. However, the salary for this job was $40 to $50/hr (advertised on their website). This is my first job in the USA, and I have no industry experience, so for someone in my position it is a great offer.

However, as I mentioned, it is less that what it was advertised on the website ($36 per hour). I really need this job, and I don't want to lose it. Yet, I feel like I should give a counter offer (at least $10k/year more).

Considering my situation, do you think it is a good idea to ask for more (at least up to the minimum salary for this position)? As I mentioned, it is really really important for me to not lose this position!

  • Hi Ethen, your post here sounds very close to Just got an initial job offer. How do I ask for more without any real justification?. Can you edit this and explain what in the other post doesn't answer your question so we don't close this one as a duplicate? Thank you! :)
    – jmort253
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 3:05
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    $75k + benefits is considerably more than $40/hour unless you will be putting in a lot of overtime Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 5:34
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    thanks kevin for your reply, the work is from 8 to 5 pm . lets say 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week . so the minimum salary should be at least 83k
    – ethen
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 7:10
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    hi jmort253, I think I am in a different situation be cause the offered salary is even less than the minimum salary which was advertised for this position so I think I have enough justification for asking more money
    – ethen
    Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 7:13
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    In the US the hourly, monthly, yearly rates used in advertisements, and when people say I make X is the money being paid, the benefits and paid time off is on top of that rate. $40 per hour is $83,200 per year plus benefits. Commented Feb 19, 2013 at 11:05

2 Answers 2


You need to do the maths properly.

A standard salaried job will see you paid for public holidays. A certain number of sick days. A certain number of days of annual leave.

I don't know what sort of numbers you're looking at in the USA, but where I am, in NSW, Australia, there are 12 public holidays in the year. 10 days of sick leave and 20 days of annual leave are pretty common.

So a $75k salary divided by 218 working days (52 weeks minus the above paid days off) divided by 8 hours per day = $43 per hour. Inside your $40-$50 per hour range.

Plus consider whatever other benefits the job entails. I gather that in the USA things like health insurance are a pretty big deal.

Now, of course, if you're on an hourly or daily rate, you can make more money if you never get sick and never choose to take any holidays. Most employers will be delighted to have a contractor working every single day. That may make the hourly rate more attractive.

  • Also, hiring contractors invovles less tax/payroll headache. If the contractor is incorporated then it is possible to offload some of those expenses onto them.
    – MrFox
    Commented Feb 20, 2013 at 18:42
  • If you subtract your days off from your number of days worked in a year, then your days off are effectively not paid vacation. If they give you paid vacation you should act as if you worked those days for the purposes of calculating your effective rate of pay
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 21:25

imho, the advertized rate doesn't really matter; what matters is how much can YOU squeeze out of them. I highly recommend this article

...get into the habit of seeing employees like employers see them: in terms of fully-loaded costs. To hire someone you need to pay for their salary, true, but you also have taxes, a benefits package, employer contributions to retirement, healthcare, that free soda your HR department loves mentioning in the job ads, and what have you. (Trivia: for a US employer of professionals, the largest component after salary is usually healthcare, followed by payroll taxes.) The fully-loaded costs of employees are much higher than their salary: exactly how much higher depends on your locality’s laws, your benefits package, and a bunch of other HR administrivia, but a reasonable guesstimate is between 150% and 200% of their salary.

The fully loaded cost of an engineer receiving market salaries these days in California or New York is close to $20,000 a month. It is “only” $10,000 a month if they’re receiving a heavily below-market salary, such as if they’re working for a startup. If you have a kid brother who majored in Flemish Dance and got a modest full-time job at a non-profit, his fully-loaded cost is still probably $4,000 a month or more.

This is a roundabout way of telling you that companies are not sensitive to small differences in employee wages because employees are so darned expensive anyhow. You see $5,000 and think “Holy cow, even after taxes that’s a whole new vacation. Five thousand dollars. Five thousand dollars. It would be so very, very greedy of me to ask for five thousand whole dollars.” The HR department sees $5,000 and thinks “Meh, even after we kick in the extra taxes, that is only about 3% of their fully-loaded cost for this year anyhow, or seven hundredths of one percent of that team’s hiring budget. I wonder if the cafeteria has carrot cake today?”

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