It's because agency recruiters lose probably millions in fees every year when candidates accept a counter. I have personally lost 30K on a single fee due to counteroffer on more than one occasion. It hurts quite a bit - that's a car - which is why if you accept a counter you'll get calls and emails from the recruiter saying it's "career suicide" (it isn't) and that you're making a huge mistake.
Then they quote these stats. I've heard things like "90% of people who accept counters leave the company in 6 months", and they might add "whether fired or through resignation" just to throw some fear into the candidate. These stats are pretty hard to find, and they should be, because companies don't report counteroffers to some agency. They happen in the dark. It's only surveys, and usually conducted by recruiting firms who have a vested interest in the results.
Some counteroffers are a mistake, but the people who scream not to accept coineroffers the loudest are the ones with the most to lose.
I've written about counteroffers as well, but didn't take the typical recruiter path (https://jobtipsforgeeks.com/2014/02/19/counteroffers/).
They played the old "not in the budget, lets revisit in 6 months game" but my ace in the hole was an unsecured network share drive where I found an offer letter for a coworker showing he made $135k. I was genuinely ready to leave so I contacted my recruiter (who had placed me at 2 consecutive companies) and she got me an interview at CAA (the Hollywood talent agency) as a node.js dev. They beat my salary with an offer of $125k, plus some perks like 2 week company shutdown around the holidays, half day before every gov't holiday, generous bonuses and 401k match. The downsides were a commute to Century City, and having to wear a suit everyday.
I went back to my employer and handed in my resignation and told them about the offer. They came back (unsolicited) with a counteroffer of $140k and an extra week of vacation. I took it and told my recruiter. She told me horror stories about people who take counteroffers who get fired or quit within months and how I would never work in this town again, etc.
I stayed at the company for 2 more years and was promoted to director of engineering, and got raises to $155k and then $175k before resigning to work freelance. On my way out the company was begging me to stay and I could only imagine what they'd offer if I chose to entertain them.
When the sys-admin left I asked for a raise since I was doing his job and my own. They made some excuses about his better education (he was a few hours away from his PhD in music) and the fact the company was under FDIC control.
I found a new job at a local oil company but contracting: my new salary was more than double what the bank laid. My bosses exact words when I quit were "Oh, shit" because he knew all along he'd been screwing me and he was never going to get a programmer/DBA/UNIX sys-admin for $27k/yr.
He asked if he could make a counter offer it was with great satisfaction I was able to reply "Vick, I now make more than you do. What's your counter offer?"
One of my colleagues had the year before, and had recently got funding for his startup. He offered myself and another developer a job, so we went to tell our boss together who obviously wasn't too pleased. He then spoke to us separately about negotiations, and he offered me £55k/year. The look on his face when I said "Sorry, but they are offering me much more than that" was priceless.
A few years later (after all the team I'd worked with had left) I went back to what was left of the company as a contractor for a few months. I was earning more per week, than I was per month, when I first started.
Two days before I left, he had been threatening, in a roundabout way, to fire me. But when I handed in my resignation letter, he was eager to keep me and asked what it would take to keep me. I named the salary my next job was offering. "You'll make more than I do now!" he said.
The instructions from the CEO were to limit raises due to the economic conditions at the time (very true). Apparently the tech manager was not as good fighting for us, since our department (4-6?) averaged the lowest raises. The departments with managers better at negotiating got average raises that were higher than the CEO's policies.
Personally, what I look for the most is honesty. Even if the product/company is crap, if the people working on it are honest about their current state and where they want to be in the future, I find that much more interesting than a well-known established company whose manager is just OK.
pick the team to join solely based on the manager
I drafted a new role that formalized all those things I had been doing and some, suggested a meager salary bump (like 5-7% when year over year bumps were between 3-5). My manager was on board, but getting leadership buy in besides "that's a great idea" languished for months.
I finally got an offer from a different company that offered all that and more, at a large salary bump (over 25%), large bonuses, options, and a number of other perks just not available to my privately held 200 person company. The huge problem with the new role was at least 30% travel (which means more like 60) and I had a baby and a baby on the way. I offered my resignation and they begged for 24 hours to put together a counter.
Their counter was a blanket okay of my plan, with a twist. I went from Architect to Director and became my boss' boss. They couldn't quite match the salary "because that would make me the highest paid employee at the company" but offered some creative ways to make bonuses to cover the gap.
I always preached the 'never accept a counter' theory, but I'd liked working at this company more than anywhere else and the thought of traveling that much (I used to travel a lot before) was awful sounding. I accepted and was gone 16 months later- so I made it! Honestly though, as much as I loved the work and the creativity we didn't have the time to really get deep into interesting tech. If we did, it was skunkworks projects (I started the skunkworks lab with beer and pizza) that meant working before and after hours and weekends to ever get a concept done.
I didn't leave for just any other company though, I went and started my own. I'm glad I accepted that counter, I never would've had the chance to take my current leap if I had left for the other company.
I've semi-changed my stance now. If you trust your team and leadership, and trust that you are going to be given the power to affect the changes you were looking for that had you looking to leave- then accept the counter. If it's the same ol' same ol' but you have a higher salary, you will wind up leaving sooner rather than later.
They won't tell you what this higher number is under any normal circumstances, and may lie about it, but it probably exists.
If it's small you just have the CEO/founder who decides everyone's salary, if it's a big bigger you have a manager with a margin of negociation but can always get a signoff for a bigger raise by the CEO, and when it gets really big there is a hard grid with categories, ranks within the categories, lower bounds and upper bounds.
In face-to-face communications, those not accustomed to negotiating will often give in just based on misread cues. For example, if someone asks how much you want, and you say a number, stop talking until you get a response. Many beginner negotiators will interpret silence as disagreement (even a short amount of silence) and quickly add "but that number is negotiable".
I have this happen all the time when I'm doing profiles of new candidates, particularly when they are junior. They say "I"m looking for 60K, but I am willing to negotiate". I usually respond by telling them they have already backtracked before receiving any objections.
Practice or get some coaching, and until that time, try to do it via email.
That's my experience anyway.
Sadly 6 months or so later started multiple rounds of layoffs, while i didn't get hit, our team size went down 30% in one round of layoffs. Being my team was the reason i stayed, i ended up leaving another 6 months later...
after this, i was wondering if there is a way to get the average salary of a group without revealing / knowing actual numbers ?
edit-001: ok, one thing that i can think of:
1. take a big number, and add your salary to it. this becomes the 'token' for the next guy.
2. he adds his salary to the number. etc. etc.
once you have the final number, remove the original number, and divide by number of folks. since this scheme appears to be so trivial, i am now wondering what i did wrong ?
Because the people at positions N and N+2 in your scheme can collude to determine the salary of the person at position N+1 without even having to reveal their own salaries in the process...
umm, not really trying to prevent from folks actively sabotage the whole thing, but just seeing if it actually works i.e gives the correct average salary...
but yes, as you have pointed out, people at N and N+2 can collude to get the original salary (for N+1).
Edit: I guess it doesn't even have to be a third party as long as everyone trusts the randomization (e.g., pulling identical pieces of folded paper from a hat).
If you really want a cryptographic secure process, the key word to begin your journey would be "secure multiparty computation", and a very appropriate example in the book modern cryptography:
Basically your first solution but encrypt the communication between parties to prevent the n+1 - n attack.
edit - Only say infinite8s reply now, which is almost verbatim my reply including the same link.
oooh :) this is pretty cool. thank you !
In many jurisdictions, this is illegal.
I can see where the arguments about trust etc are coming from (not that I necessarily agree), but that one I don't get at all.
If she actually thought that was tantamount to "you'll never work in this town again", she needs a reality check. Oh, this one recruiter firm won't work with me, whatever will I do?
I've worked at four different companies. In order, I got those jobs through Craigslist (2007), Monster (2012), Indeed (2014), and a friend referral (2016). None of them involved recruiters. Also, during the times I've been looking, I talked to a very large number of recruiters. If one of them blackballed me, it wouldn't affect me because I talked to so many other recruiting firms, and even then I ended up getting all my jobs without them.
It's a threat that is totally unrealistic.
As a recruiter, I'd actually say that technologists are more likely to be able to damage a recruiter's career than the other way around. If word gets out about a recruiter not behaving properly, that word can travel much faster in the worker space than word travels in the recruiter space.
I work for a company (Surge) that guarantees 40 hours a week, though I regularly exceed that, either through clients who don't mind overtime, or when clients overlap. The team is distributed, and the schedules are completely flexible (I spent a month at our condo in the Philippines in February, and was able to put in work despite the time difference).
If I had a time machine, I would go back and do this sooner.
EDIT: If you want me to pass along your resume to Surge, email me (contact info in profile)
Tangential, but...a friend of mine is an RN in an ICU who works nights (how he copes with the long hours is beyond me). He's struggled to get a single week off, much less an entire month without quarrel. Turnover is high, they're shortstaffed, etc. What is different about your wife's hospital (maybe there's less pressure and more nurses available in other sections of a hospital)?
I've known a few medicos/1st responders, including a brother, who do this(take a month/week off, etc). It sounds enviable to most until you see/hear/experience what their 24 hour shift often entails.
I'm now self employed for 4 years and I earn 6x as much as I earned in my last job. (though I believe I was underpaid in my last job)
He said it, contacts and social skills.
One other way is referrals but you generally need to have a few clients before that starts happening.
I'm curious too, because that's what everyone says, but they stop there. It's always:
1. Have contacts and social skills
3. Make 6X as a freelancer!
Let's say I'm starting with contacts and social skills. And a mortgage and a full-time job that lets me pay it. Any good books or blog posts that describe what's in step 2?
Step 2 - make sure you have enough money put away to last for at least six months with no work.
Step 2.5 - put some stuff on github, publish your cv, prepare to talk to and turn down an absolute ton of agents who will try to talk you into totally inappropriate work.
Step 2.75 - find a decent project to join, work your ass off getting up to speed and contributing fast. Build a reputation.
Step 3.1 - goto 1
The agent thing is a constant in contracting. They'll tell you "you're dreaming, you'll never find the money you're asking". They'll tell you "you need to be able to move around the country for work". They'll tell you "there's nothig contract based around anywhere right now, you need to look at my permanent roles". Some will even tell you you're awesome amd perfect, and then you'll never hear from them again.
But then a good one eventually comes along.... and gets you a well paying contract in a broken team doing something pointless. But hey, the money's good and you're only there for a few months so what does it matter?
I personally value the autonomy over almost anything else -- I can live in a low cost-of-living city with my wife for half the year, go skiing/mountain biking over lunch, and overall spend more time among the people I care about. But that does come with all the stress of building a client base, chasing down payment, explaining to non-technical people why their ideas aren't feasible and I can't build Siri in 3 weeks, etc.
Edit: My point is that freelance work income may not compare, but the income may not be the reason for moving to freelance. The op did not explain why he moved to freelance, but I can think of some great reasons to do so.
If I didn't have paid vacation days, I doubt that I'd ever take one. They'd simply be way too expensive. It's one thing to use paid vacation days, another thing entirely to give up over a week's worth of income. I don't think I could do it.
Top independent freelance software developers can make $300k if they work hard and have a good network, as can top big corp engineers. Of course, neither is easy to achieve and the metrics are different. (Freelancers are valued on their results, big corps hire on pedigree and games.)
There are two essential skills required to manage your own freelancing or consulting practice. The first is the core competency for which you bill (software development, sales conversions, security auditing, etc.). The second is the ability to inspire confidence in your clients that you are capable of using that competency to solve a business problem. Perception matters a great deal in business relationships and framing yourself as an equal who will leverage a unique mix of skills to contribute value is very important.
'patio11 has spoken about this a lot, and his writings helped me get to ~$300k per year as a consultant.
people get what they ask for. when you make nearly 200k working for someone else you quickly start to realize what you are actually worth in the open economy compared to someone who is trying to imprison you professionally.
I turned in my resignation, and my boss offered to double my salary on the spot.
No. Thanks. I'll work somewhere that doesn't need me to RESIGN to be willing to pay me what I'm worth.
>They beat my salary with an offer of $125k
This barely seems worth switching companies for after tax.
Of course they contacted you in 6 months and begged you to reconsider their offer, right? ;)
Sounds like he/she didn't make a wise career choice. So why the duck did they feel qualified to guide others to jobs?
I've worked at 2 companies in the last 14 years and they both got really shitty after being acquired by a private equity firm. It usually takes 2 years until it's unbearable. I stayed so long because they were wonderful jobs; work and pay; and growing like wildfire before the M&A.
Do you not look around unless you are miserable?
The only recruitment calls I ever get are from body-shop class contracting firms that never manage to even come close to my current compensation for scut work.
Another guess is that I had a recently listed promotion to Lead Developer on my LinkedIn account. Anecdotally I've heard similar experience from other people who started getting more high quality contacts once their job title on LinkedIn reflected a more senior role. I know we all hate LinkedIn but it matters because people on the hire side use it extensively, so spend some time entering details in there so that it's as impressive as your resume.
Then again, curiosity doesn't hurt either.
You don't have to be miserable just to look for another job that will pay more.
(2) If you're applying to similar jobs (in terms of skill) then a single amount of prep can be shared among many
I know many who try to "get in the market" every year or so just for "curiosity"
Not everybody lives in a major hub, and for those who don't it can be really hard to get a company in one to notice you exist, let alone make you an offer.
Job-hunting in Dallas is hard. I've been unemployed twice. The first time was long-term (to the point where it was affecting my sanity) and during the Great Recession. The second time, which was earlier this year, wasn't that long but still harrowing. After I got laid off, it was two months before I got an in-person interview. I got the job, but I'm fairly sure that a good part of the reason I was even considered for an interview was because one of my best friends works here and put in a good word for me with HR.
Also, on at least three occasions I've tried job-hunting while employed. Only one time did I actually find a new job before giving up.
There is absolutely no reason not to. One might argue this is essential -- how can you know "market" if you don't study the market?
Or to look at it another way, the same programmer with the same skills is going to make more profits if they're working at, say, Amazon, than if they're working on some backend IT system at a regional bank. So the former has correspondingly higher remuneration.
Ironically, it's generally less offensive as well as much more effective at getting a real increase in take-home pay to go out and get an offer from an external employer.
Haven't they laid off around 20,000 people in the past few years? Seems like MS as a company wants to have it both ways, as I'm sure many do.
If they do, flee. Business is business and if people are getting offended about business, something is wrong.
Business would be better named "pampering giant babies", because that's what it is. Despite the mythology that we're programmed with, most of the work of being in charge is managing peoples' feelings so that they stay favorable to you. There is a ton of room for mistakes as long as everyone likes you, and very little if nobody does. Thus, the whole of business training can be summarized with "be as popular and well-liked as possible". They try to dress it up fancy and act like they do something better than that, but they don't.
The most important thing in anyone's career is what their boss and their boss's bosses think of them. Only slightly less important is what their peers think of them. Work performance is essentially a non-factor in career advancement, so it actually is really important to manage this kind of thing carefully.
Asking directly for a raise is confrontational and inelegant. Subtly demonstrating that you deserve a raise and making your boss believe it was his idea is how you actually get one without alienating anyone. That's a lot of work, so most people just jump to another employer instead.
The most important thing in anything, not just business, is not what people think of you. The whole purpose of your employment is to exchange your value for their value; why would feelings get involved if you recalculate your own value? You're asking poorly if people get offended, or the person you're asking does a poor job of separating emotion and business (literally step one of succeeding in business).
Do you really think Tim Cook gets up before sunrise to manage his SVPs' feelings? Your observations about what business actually is speak more to you than they do "the real world"; speaking of, since your opening retort was a slightly condescending explanation of that real world which I assure you I live in as well, I suspect the problem with your outlook reflects on you. But I don't mean that to belittle you. Just that perhaps the outcomes you experience come from how you approach things and not a firm understanding of business.
Might be worth some introspection here. Maybe I'm totally wrong but if I am, a whole lot of people who aren't you are too.
Partially. His primary job is managing investor's feelings.
>Maybe I'm totally wrong but if I am, a whole lot of people who aren't you are too.
You believe the version of the world that they want you to believe, not the world as it is. That's understandable. The powers-that-be project this narrative specifically because if people know their job is to manipulate feelings, it'll be much more difficult to do that effectively.
Good managers want to make themselves sound like self-sacrificial superheroes and inspire hero worship so that it's easier to manage the subordinate's feelings. That's the narrative they project.
However, it doesn't take an intelligent person much reading or experience to realize that things don't line up with the narrative. Management is all about managing feelings. Yes, it's true that management has to make decisions that won't bankrupt the company, but that's the easy, minor part. The difficult part is pushing those decisions through the organization with as little feeling-damage as possible, and running programs of feeling-grooming to keep your employees cooperative.
Typically, you wait for your yearly or quaterly review, tell him what great stuff you did for the company, how you will contribute again in the future then tell him you feel like a raise of x percent or n dollars would be appropriate. You don't say "you're underpaying me", but "the value I bring to the company increased, so I deserve more than I did last year"
I've never seen a boss get offended for it, at worst he'll make excuses like "sorry I can't right now, but at soon as things get better I'll think about you".
And nowadays in many companies, if you never ask for a raise you never get any. Your boss assumes you're happy with your pay, so why give more?
So if you do sit on your hands for 11 months so that you only ask your boss at the time when he won't find it offensive, you're still most likely going to walk away with nothing or a pittance, since as I said, bossess appear to believe any raise in excess of 5% is outrageous (again, a large bump is like an admission that they're cheapskates, so they don't like doing it).
On the other hand, most programmers can go out and get a new job offer within 2-4 weeks, and unless they're at the top of the pay scale for their industry and area, probably get a 20-40% pay bump. Which option is more attractive?
It was amazing how much everything improved once I had a higher-paying offer from a leading competitor. Boom! Better title. Boom, more money. Boom, a lot more face time with VP level folks who became my de facto bosses and boosters. I ended up staying at that place for another 13 years and had a great ride. My timid "boss" was gone from the organization within two years. The guy never caused me a bit of pain after that.
I'm glad other posters are saying that in the end, it's the agency recruiters who really hate counteroffers. The economics for them are so disastrous that they can't help but try to tug talented employees over to their point of view. From my experience, it all comes down to whether you can get your current employer to make your working situation a lot better, as well as bump up the money. If they are capable of delivering a whole new situation, then you're in a good place.
In all cases there were failures on both sides (me for not realizing what I was getting into, and them for bragging about a technical branch they didn't have); however, I very much enjoyed working at those places and would have stayed if they upped my compensation to match my [actual] responsibilities.
> Back to my candidate. Two days after he took the counter-offer, I received a call from one of his colleagues. She said word on the street was that one of her co-workers had recently accepted a counter-offer with her employer, and she wanted me to know she would never do that. If I represented her, once she gave a commitment, she would stick to it. Not only that, but she also said only a weak-minded person would do something like that (accept a counter-offer) and she had lost all respect for this person.
Can you imagine an actual human being calling up a recruiter completely unprompted to inform them that counteroffer-accepters are weak-minded jerks and no one likes them? It's like one of those ads where a bunch of guys suddenly interrupt their game of ultimate frisbee or whatever to discuss how great their car insurance company is.
Yes, it is called 'jealousy'.
Back when I worked at a bank, counter offers were the standard way of getting a raise. If you had a competing offer, the Bank would almost always match that. Meanwhile, raises were maybe 1% a year. (I remember that Illinois raised state income tax at about the same time I got a raise. I had less take-home pay after both of those took effect than before. Raises didn't even keep up with the tax burden, much less the cost of living. Not that they necessarily should, but they also didn't keep up with my career growth, which is a better benchmark.)
Counteroffers are still a fairly common way to get a raise in software, although I think now that there is much less stigma to "job hopping" candidates are just as likely to move to new companies to get the raise.
Sounds like you can just say, "I guess I'll go work for you then."
All that said really good recruiters are well paid.
Does this also work for in-house recruiters?
Quite fascinating area really.
In-house recruiters are not usually paid fees like agency recruiters - they might get bonuses, but most in-house are paid mostly in salary with smaller performance bonus. Agency recruiters are usually paid little (sometimes nothing) in salary with most comp coming via commission.
This explains bad recruiter behavior, or at least much of it. Every deal might be 10-20K in the recruiter's pocket. For that amount of money, some people will do things they wouldn't normally do, and morals go out the window.
If you are able to manage the up and down cycle, its great.
Living in the EU is somewhat limiting in the legal and financial sense, because I am unsure about cross-country pay-outs, recruitment and legislation. Do you happen to have sources where I could learn more about these things? I might just make it a side-business to my existing one to refer people as a recruiter agency, not simply via already in-house acquaintances (which yield mediocre referral bonuses in many cases).
I'd go on LinkedIn and find a recruiter in your area - they may be willing to talk to you about the business. My blog (jobtipsforgeeks.com) has a handful of articles on recruiting topics as well.
That said, early in my career as an employee, prior to reading any advice by recruiters, I made a decision to not accept counter-offers as a general rule. My main reasons are the ones people usually cite: a) if I am dissatisfied enough with my job that I applied for other jobs, it is almost certainly not (just) about the money, and b) my relationship with both employers becoming strained.
So far it has worked out for me, and I don't plan on changing that, but I'll be sure to keep this in mind in the future.
Most recruiters would rather have you believe the scary counteroffer "stats" that aren't well documented.
A counteroffer can "right a wrong" in some cases, and employees who are not sure how to ask for raises/promotions/changes to their employment situation may find that their resignation facilitates a conversation that maybe could have happened if they'd asked.
Agreed. I appreciate your work in this regard.
> A counteroffer can "right a wrong" in some cases, and employees who are not sure how to ask for raises/promotions/changes to their employment situation may find that their resignation facilitates a conversation that maybe could have happened if they'd asked.
I was thinking about this very problem after my post, and while I don't have a better solution, I think I have a better understanding to the cause. Sometimes employers take for granted the increasing value provided by the employee (which, along with other factors, may be a sign of bad management) but even when the employee's value contribution is stable, their opportunity cost for keeping their current job goes up.
Either the employer is unaware of that increase in opportunity cost, or they are banking on the employee not being aware / being unwilling to leverage that opportunity cost. It's not enough that the employee be fully aware of their own opportunity costs, their employer has to know that they know (and the employee has to know that their employer knows, and so on. i.e. "common knowledge"). I see your point as being that the only way right now for that opportunity cost to become common knowledge is for an employee to field offers from other companies.
Trusted intermediaries or professional associations could probably help make the costs to all sides more transparent, and maybe they already do, but that's about as far as I know.
I recruiter was not happy and basically told me that I wouldn't get anything else, and if I got a reputation for turning down jobs I couldn't expect agencies to ever put me forward for anything else. They just screamed at me on the phone.
I did get another job and it was far better (for me) than the one I turned down.
Because it would cost him more in time to find another candidate than to give you a cut. This is assuming you've passed the interviews.
After some thinking (2min... NO), and letting them stew for a few days, I told them "No". They asked if it was because of the salary. "Yes, yes, it is". They immediately doubled their offer.
Sorry, but the answer is still "No." If the first contact you have with me is that you try to screw me and assume I'm stupid, I will not work for you. I'd be better off unemployed.
I found another job 2 weeks later, for more than their second offer. And those people didn't play games.
The author posits that you've begun looking for a new job for a reason. There are things that you dislike about your job. That's logical, and it's the number one reason that I went on a search of my own.
The problem is that there's always some level of information asymmetry. You know everything you dislike about your current job; you can't know what you'll dislike about your new job until you begin that role.
However, once I was given another "great offer", it made me realize that part of every job is disliking certain aspects of it. No matter where you are, it's impossible to find a role that you like 100% of the time.
When I received another job offer, it made me realize that there were a lot of things that I was taking for granted about my current job. And when I notified my current employer that I was leaving, they reminded me of how valued I was with the package that they put together. In fairness, they could've done a better job with this throughout my employment.
At the end of the day, the compensation and future commitments (all of which are in writing) made it compelling to me to stay and not risk disliking my next role.
Have you ever heard the saying that you should flip a coin to make important decisions, because as soon as the coin is in the air you'll know what you want anyway? Well, I went through the coin flip process and realized I had taken a lot of things for granted at my current employer. And that's why I stayed.
Yea, you were so valued that they DIDN'T offer it to you until you threatened to leave. That doesn't sound like an employer that values you, it sounds like an employer who got away with a great bargain while it lasted.
This sounds insightful, but I don't think it's fair. It's almost always true for everyone that you don't know what you have until it's gone, or almost gone if you're lucky. Your employer is no different. Give them a break, just a tiny one.
EDIT: To be more exact, it's probably more like: N > [P(N) - P(market)] x C
Second, this isn't how decisions get made on real-world software teams. In the real world, you find yourself just working with managers who need to make judgment calls with limited resources and time. Pursuing a raise for an employee is expensive to do proactively. A valued employee leaving sends a manager into crisis management mode, which expedites the process and helps them prioritize it up whatever chain they report to. The manager (+chain) make a judgment call about whether to make you a counter against a backdrop of company policy.
Their failure to proactively get you a raise before you went seeking other opportunities is usually due to a failure of communication, timing, or time budgeting on both your and their part. You can't expect people to read your mind and figure out if you think you're being paid what your time is worth. Sometimes it's obvious (oh look, the last of X's stock grant just vested), but usually it's not.
Your suggested envelope math might help inform general company policy, but it doesn't inform day-to-day managerial decisions in any but the vaguest way. Most management I've worked with has not been formally sophisticated; I imagine this is the case in the industry broadly. Managers do not wake up in the morning and consciously wonder "what do I need to do today... hmm... does the marginal utility of working on a raise for X exceed the marginal utility of writing this operational improvement plan?" They think "Is there a crisis? If crisis, expedite. Otherwise check shit off checklist."
I told my most recent manager I was pissed off about my salary a few months ago (after a year at the company). He got it kicked up the chain, I got up-leveled at the next review session. It took him a lot of time and effort, it netted me a large salary increase. I think we're happy with each other still.
The unfortunate conclusion is that to maximize earnings employees should test their market rate in the job market periodically.
I think you have to remind yourself that sometimes, everyone gets so busy and caught up doing the work that they forget these other parts. Would it have been better to do this proactively? Sure. But I think you can find some empathy when you imagine yourself on the other side of the table.
And, you might be right. :)
It's just business. Hate the game.
In a private capitalist environment, everything exists to maximize return in investment: morality, goodwill, company culture, values, information asymmetry.
Take the emotions out of it. Everything is quantifiable.
They then did the exact same thing when it came to me leaving and didn't offer a significant raise until I had an offer elsewhere.
If it didn't suck in some fundamental way it'd be a hobby not job.
Sometimes your compensation simply has fallen behind market without you or your employer realizing it. Especially at a smaller company, your manager might very well not have firm sense of what your market compensation would be. A competing offer is a great way for both you and them to get your compensation up to market.
Just because you interviewed for another job does not imply you're unhappy with your current one. I try to occasionally interview just to keep a tab on the market, even when I'm entirely happy with my current job (including its compensation). In fact, the results of such interviews are often that my current job is better than anything else out there.
Additionally, I have been given many opportunities specifically designed to help me grow my career in the direction that I preferred. This has included everything from project assignment, to introductions to board members and VCs, to educational opportunities.
One must always be careful when considering a counter offer, however any blanket advice stating to never accept is going to be wrong, and harmful.
The lawsuit is still ongoing. :)
This tactic is of cause risky if you actually like your current job, since the counter offer may not come after all.
There are always exceptions, even more, there are cases when accepting a counter-offer is a right decision
Just because he later contradicts himself, doesn't make it good writing. You can't have it both ways.
When you are not paying people what you are really willing to pay them, eventually they'll learn about this, and hell will break loose. You either have to change the way you pay, or be OK with losing people. Counteroffers get you the worst of both worlds, and on top of that, they are wonderful sources of lawsuits in the long run, as the people that won't complain are typically women and minorities.
The one counteroffer that make sense is to go and say 'look, now we realized that we are underpaying, but we want to keep you all, so we are doing an immediate salary review'. You still look like someone that isn't on the ball, but at least you show you are trying to have equitable pay.
But being paid below market rate also sucks. By making a counter-offer and having it accepted, you're now setting a precedent. All of that person's peers will now see that the way to get a raise at this company is to constantly be interviewing and threatening to leave. Is that the environment you're trying to foster?
Trying to get a raise with another offer is a bluff. You have to live with that fact that you might be called on that bluff.
I think you meant to say "without another offer". When you indeed have an offer, it's not a bluff. Whether you get a counter or not, the outcome for you is you win. Now, if you DON'T have another offer, but try to get a raise by claiming to have another offer--well, that's an advanced tactic and very risky.
>the way to get a raise at this company is to constantly be interviewing and threatening to leave
If your goal is to get a raise and keep your job, coming in with another offer is a bluff. The way to get a raise at my company isn't to constantly be interviewing because we won't counter offer everyone and we generally won't offer repeated counters.
Where is this mythical "market rate" that I as an employee or employer can constantly get access to?
Every employee has their own market rate and that rate is determined by BATNA negotiations. If I'm hiring someone, I don't have market rate for them in mind which I try to pay under.
As a manager at a small company, you barely have more info on market rates than employees do. Sometimes savvy employees even have more info than I do (they can go out an interview to assess the market, while I can't interview people just to see what offer they'd accept).
Of course, there are also cases of flagrant underpayment (ex. paying <$100k for an engineer in SV) which should drive you away automatically.
I've seen most of the options in action. The workplace can be an evil place.
Even if that is true, how would you ever know that? How would anyone in the world have access to those facts?
I did a job search, found 10 jobs I was overqualified for that were offering 60% more money, and took the list to my manager as part of my argument for a raise. For six months he delayed, said he was looking in to it etc, but in the end said there was nothing he could do, he had no flexibility.
I found a different company that I liked, accepted their offer at about 60% higher salary and told my manager I was leaving in two weeks. Within 24 hours they had matched the other salary, and thrown in some stock too.
They could clearly have done this at any time in the past six months, when I was pressing my manager on it every single week.
Of course I left. If you are worth the money, you should be paid the money, and not have to beg for it. I was at the next company for a very enjoyable four years, and even got promotions and raises without having to lobby for them and explain my impact.
They had no incentive to.
I was recently in the same situation - doubled my salary after years at another place.
Until you bring proof positive that you could bring in more elsewhere there's no reason for them, there's no reason for them to take your word for it that the market would pay you more.
Companies often rely on the sunk cost of employees laziness/sunk cost.
Depending on the company, if companies gave out raises whenever anyone asked, they'd be broke pretty soon (this applies more to a company like Walmart that relies on a lot of low-paid workers compared to Bell Labs).
> I was at the next company for a very enjoyable four years, and even got promotions and raises without having to lobby for them and explain my impact.
It's likely that you started working a lot harder at the second place. I know I did.
It's usually cheaper to keep an employee than to hire and train a new one.
Sorry, as someone who runs my own company, such short-sightedness as seen above is stupid.
I keep my employees happy, and make sure they don't want to leave. I get more out of them than I would if they were underpaid, overworked, and treated like shit.
I said this to a manager right before I quit. There are a million ways to demotivate your employees and precious few ways to motivate them again. Finding out that you've been totally screwed and then not having that fixed will kill morale damn near instantly. The best managers I've had gave me a fair shake and they had my loyalty.
At my first software job I worked there while I was going to school. I hated the program for myriad reasons so I dropped out. At the time I was getting paid hourly and there wasn't budget that year so my boss commuted my hourly pay into a salary which ended up shafting me due to overtime, but promised to give me a raise at the first review. He was a man of his word and gave me what I perceived to be an insane raise (something like 60-70%). To my incredulity I got another raise a year later of something like 30% and suddenly I'm a twenty year old kid making more than anyone in my family.
Thing is it wasn't the money that earned my loyalty and hard work, it was the fact that I knew I had people looking out for me and that I could trust. There was many a day where I'd go to the office 6.00 - 16.00 or so, go to the gym, go home and then get bored and go back to the office for an hour or two. I sure as shit wouldn't have done that if my boss fumbled around and made excuses, put things off. All of the great managers I've worked with knew that if you treat folks with respect and treat them right, you get results and that goes beyond salary. Simply having your manager come to you and point out you've been busting your ass and should take a couple days off really kinda clues you in that you're not just a widget factory.
The incentive was that they didn't want to lose the employee. Clearly it was not enough of an incentive in this situation, but there was an incentive.
Why did you wait so long to leave?
I've worked happily at one of the "big" tech companies. Without going too much into details, I ended up getting a really big offer from another one of the big guys (i.e., in the seven figure range over 4 years, obviously with the bulk of it being equity).
I was really torn. I was happy at my job, but that's a large enough of money to make a material difference in the lives of my loved ones. And like a lot of people here, I value the happiness of my family over my own.
I didn't expect my existing employer to do much. So I gave my boss an early heads up this was happening, partly because I thought there was a small chance there would, but mostly so I would leave on good terms.
Again, long story short, they not only matched the offer but came over the top of it. I went home to think about, talked about it with my wife & decided the next day to accept the counteroffer.
That was a few years ago. I've honestly been happy since then. I don't feel this was ever held over my head or held against me. (To the contrary, I was recently promoted.)
When it comes to counteroffers, a lot of it comes down to two things: 1) why you were looking in the first place, and 2) how you handle things with your existing employer.
Regarding (1) - if you were unhappy, money isn't going to fix that. Staying just because of money is dubious at best.
Regarding (2) - the main thing is don't be an asshole. Nobody is going to hold you advocating for your own best interests. Senior execs know the game. They would do the same thing in your place (if they haven't already). If you're an asshole, well, nobody wants to keep an asshole in the first place. But if you're pragmatic & even–keeled, you don't damage the relationships (even if you stay or go).
This paragraph bugs me. It's as if the author assumes the workplace to be swarmed with malicious agents, and you, some ambitious, innocent and pure-hearted employee.
Why wasn't it solved before? Because it was cheaper to leave it unsolved.
Suddenly, you introduce a significant cost to leaving the problem (your leaving the company), and so it gets resolved.
And whaddyaknow, it'll happen at any other company too because its pretty damn effective way to operate a business.
I agree its wrong to moralize about it. This is business. You sell your skills for cash. You should be prepared to get the best deal you can. Just asking meekly is a losing gambit. It will take more than that to put wheels in motion (get considered for a raise). Like showing an offer you received.
Now, that said, my son works as an ME at a contract house. The company owner threatens that anyone even looking for a job will be fired summarily. Childish. It just means resentment simmers, and nobody gives notice which has to screw up schedules and hurt their bottom line.
You know what really would be a shocker to me? A company that isn't in it for the money or a company that isn't trying hard to have employees that are highly productive.
It's essentially a cultural thing. Many employers and employees only want to get/keep as much money as possible in the short term, and don't care about anything else. Others care about long-term relationships, stability, and realistic plans, and are willing to sacrifice a little short-term money for it. I'm not here to say either one is better, but do know which one you want, watch out for signs that anyone you do business with doesn't have the same values, and treat them accordingly.
In the spreadsheet, if square "A23" takes n hours to accomplish a task, the spreadsheet tells them they saved n x 0.2. This means that the longer it takes square "A23" to accomplish a task, the more the company appears to "save" in the spreadsheet.
I'm sure you can imagine what the author had to say about that attitude. I am totally one of those saps who assumes that if I'm good to people then they'll be good to me, so I found it useful if depressing.
15 months MORE. Damn. I wish I could stay that long in a single company.
Either the project is long finished, or the startup went bankrupt, or the entire department is redone, or there is somewhere else offering a significant raise, or...
Sometimes, I wonder what's the average tenancy for competent employees in a hot tech hub.