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A few months ago, I had an interview and received 8 months contract position. I accepted it. After a month later, the company offered me permanent position. They offered me 68k and I accepted it. I accepted it because I love my co-workers and working environment, and I didn't know my market value because I have been freelancing for last 3 years.

I had a chance to talk with people who work in same industry few days ago and I found out that I'm being paid less than industry's average. I'm also being paid much less than my co-workers.

Do I have to wait for one year to negotiate my salary again?

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    6.8k per ... month? year? Are you currently under a contract, or are you an at will employee? Are you in a union shop? What country are you in? All these things are important factors. – C. Ross Apr 23 '11 at 13:35
  • @C. Ross // 6.8k per year, I'm permanent employee, I'm working as a php web developer with strong frontend skills (5+ years), I'm in Los Angeles, United States. – Jay Apr 23 '11 at 19:47
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    I did the same thing as C. Ross. So 68000 (68k), not 6800 (6.8k). Got it. – gef05 Apr 23 '11 at 21:58
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    Perhaps they have a reason and it is temporary? Rather than ask for a raise, perhaps inquire about career paths and how you can progress in the company. Make sure that you discuss money as a part of that. – MrChrister Apr 24 '11 at 4:08
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"and I didn't know my market value because I have been freelancing for last 3 years."

Unless it explicitly states it in your contract, there is likely nothing to stop you from negotiating now, next month, whenever. But evaluate the risk of doing so:

  • You just entered into the agreement and you're already unhappy - will you look like a good long term acquisition or will you look like someone to boot at first opportunity?

  • You accepted the agreement. By renegotiating now you signal to your employers that you failed to do basic leg-work on a fundamental task. This will not exude professionalism.

  • You are ratting out your co workers. Like it or not, most companies do not like employees getting together and chit chatting about who gets what. The boss will not be happy and the focus will be on you - thanks new guy!

You may come off looking the worse for doing this, so be very careful before proceeding. Also, have you done the leg work yourself, or are you going by what the co-workers (and others in the industry) are telling you? People are notoriously inaccurate when discussing their pay levels. Find out where you stand, and be absolutely sure of yourself if you decide to proceed.

  • @get05 // thank you for your advice. I'm not going to tell my manager that my co-workers are getting more than me. If I get a chance to talk to my manager, I'm going to ask him nicely what it takes to increase my salary because i found my current salary is lower than current market average. – Jay Apr 23 '11 at 22:19
  • @Jay. Sensible approach. You know, another thought just occurred to me. If the job market is good for your skill set, negotiating with another job offer in hand would make things a easier... – gef05 Apr 23 '11 at 22:22
  • @get05 // I talked to my co-workers (I didn't ask their salary, they asked mine first) and I also talked to developers in my local area. – Jay Apr 23 '11 at 22:23
  • @get05 // right...but..I really like my co-workers and my manager as well. it is only salary that depress me a little bit. – Jay Apr 23 '11 at 22:24
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    @Jay. Okay. I strongly recommend getting official figures. The folks you are speaking with may be being 100% honest with you - but you need more official sources. Dig around here - bls.gov/oes/current/oes151021.htm#nat - and here - bls.gov/oco/ocos303.htm. Forgive me posting these if you've already looked them over. Best, – gef05 Apr 23 '11 at 22:29
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I think you should wait till your annual review. I think if you talk now you'll damage your relationship with the management and chances of getting a raise are slim to none (unless you really did stellar job). Most of the time to get a raise in the middle of the year your manager needs to get an approval of senior management. There is just no budget for it right now.

Also in normal companies if you are paid lower than your co-workers you should get a higher raise than everybody else %%-wise (given all other things equal)

4

Well, I wouldn't consult an attorney; this isn't a legal matter. An attorney's opinion on this is worth no more - and possibly less - than anyone else (worth less because an attorney doesn't have any personal experience with the sort of work setting you're in).

Start by considering this from your manager's viewpoint: you've been working there in your permanent position for two (three?) months, and you already want a pay increase?

Another thing to consider: annual reviews are a good time to discuss salary, but there are other good times as well - after someone has very successfully completed a major project, for example, or when there is a significant change in job responsibilities. Don't make any assumptions about annual reviews being a major timing factor.

So, specific advice: Wait until you're worked at least six months in the job (starting from the date of hiring into the permanent position), then evaluate whether you've done really good work. If so, go to your boss and say that you understand why you were hired at significantly less than the industry average - because the company was taking a chance on you. But now you think you've proven yourself, and you think a raise is in order to get you closer to the industry norm.

Be prepared to be told that (a) it's too soon for a raise, either because of the manager's general approach to raises, or because of company policy as to timing of raises; or (b) that the manager wants to discuss this at your annual review. If so, the best decision is probably just to wait, keeping in mind that you've planted the seed for a significant raise. And keep doing good work.

Two other things to keep in mind:

  • First, while companies often do take advantage of new employees who don't recognize their own market value, you did voluntarily agree to the salary, and, if you hadn't found out about what others are paid, would have been happy with it. So no one at the company is likely to be apologetic about your current salary level, or feel that they "owe you" to raise it. By providing them with a solid six months (or year) of good work, you give them a reason/rationale for raising your salary.

  • Second, if you put in a solid year of good work, you should learn a fair amount, and then, if you're not given a pay raise you think is fair (this assumes you don't get a raise earlier), you have improved your skills and resume when you start looking for a new employer - an employer who might well give you less consideration if you'd worked for far less than a year at your current job before you started looking for a new job.

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You should consult a lawyer knowledgeable in employment & labor law for the state of California. Yes, you'll spend a few hundred dollars, but his/her advice will be invaluable to your future livelihood, given the information you've shared in your question.

I would expect my attorney to tell me that it's not too early to negotiate my next position at the same company, and he would advice me how to proceed. He'll be able to tell me whether my salary is in line with the position, the prevailing wages, and most importantly, whether full-time work in my chosen line of endeavor needs to meet federal- or state-level minimum wages.

The current (July 24, 2009) federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour. At 40 hours per week, and 52 weeks per year, that's $15,080 per year.

According to Salary.Com, the median salary for a web applications developer in the Los Angeles area is $86,470. 10% of folks make less than $62k in that same position, while another 10% make more than $107k. 50% of the people make between $73k and $97k.

  • 86K. That makes sense, Andy. I found a 2009 figure of $83K (CA) on the BLS site. – gef05 Apr 23 '11 at 22:33

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