This week's book giveaway is in the Servlets forum.
We're giving away four copies of Murach's Java Servlets and JSP and have Joel Murach on-line!
See this thread for details.
The moose likes Jobs Discussion and the fly likes What should I do now about salary negotiation? Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login


Win a copy of Murach's Java Servlets and JSP this week in the Servlets forum!
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Careers » Jobs Discussion
Bookmark "What should I do now about salary negotiation?" Watch "What should I do now about salary negotiation?" New topic
Author

What should I do now about salary negotiation?

Tiffany Sun
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 02, 2001
Posts: 26
I'm a J2EE developer with 3 years experience in Detroit area. I just got an offer from a top five consulting companies, but it's a shocking 45k base pay with all the benefits (with overtime, it's 51k). I'm also talking to another University through the contract company I'm working for, so far they are willing to pay $55k.
The big consulting company give me one week to think about this, what should I do now?
Thanks.


SCJP, SCWCD, IBM-XML
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Well, do you want the job? Assuming you do...

When does that week end? Can you make a decision by then or do you need more time. Most companies are reasonable if you need a few extra days to compare offers (although consulting firms and Wall St are notorious for being on the less flexiible end).
See if you can contact some local colleges and ask their career services if you can get starting salary information for college grads at that type of company (better yet, that company spceifically), so you have a baseline against which to compare your salary--remember to take location into account.
Ask them if this is a company policy rate for your level, or if it is specific for you. Ask what opportunities are for growth, both in your career and your salary (e.g. are reviews/raises, quarterly, semi-annually, annually). Ask if they have any freezes on raises, or if there's a lockout period.
Do you think this salary is low? Why? What is a fair salary? Why?
--Mark
Tiffany Sun
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 02, 2001
Posts: 26
The title they'll give me is "Analyst Programmer", they have two more lower levels: Programmer and Senior Programmer. I checked salary.com, Programmer II in Detroit Area should have $57k in average, so that's how much I expect at least. Do you think I'm too naive?
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Hi,
Money is not everything... unless you want to make the most out of it while you are still single. What is you wanted to obtain from the consulting firm? What is you wanted to obtain from the univ position?
On general, consulting firm is more like image. The more polish you are, the more bucks you get. Good look is also a plus sign. Univ is more into stability. After certain years, you will have opportunity to attend classes for free and your kid will have opportunity enroll in school for a fractional costs.
Just my two cents,
MCao
Jon McDonald
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 02, 2001
Posts: 167
Has anyone else heard of the practice big 5 consulting firms have where they hire a person at a low salary, but the new employee receives raises at a faster rate than in the marketplace? I have had several friends who work for big firms (Arthur Anderson, KPMG, etc) tell me that this is common. But since I don't work for firms like that I don't know for sure. Anyone hear the same thing?
Jon


SCJP<br/>
"I study politics and war that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy in order to give their children a right to study painting poetry and music."<br />--John Adams
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Tiffany Sun:
The title they'll give me is "Analyst Programmer", they have two more lower levels: Programmer and Senior Programmer. I checked salary.com, Programmer II in Detroit Area should have $57k in average, so that's how much I expect at least. Do you think I'm too naive?

Does it matter what the title is, look at the responsibilities.
Ignore salary.com and just about every other site with salary calculators. The job descriptions are too rigid and the variability between developers too wide to make them useful (the standard deviation isn't sufficent after normalizing for locality and other differences).
It's been suggested by Brooks and emprically demonstrated by DeMarco and Lister that there's a factor of 10:1 in productivity between the best and worst developers, and a factor of 2:1 between the top half and lower half. In other words, the distribution isn't linear, so the further you are from average, the greater the error bar in the estimation.
--Mark
Tiffany Sun
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 02, 2001
Posts: 26
I agree that big consulting companies will have more chances to learn things, but I heard that salary history is very important also. I'm really confused now.
Kevin Thompson
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 04, 2001
Posts: 237
Tiffany,
I am assuming you are female. Here is what you need to know.
There is a HUGE PAY DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEEN MEN & WOMEN IN THIS INDUSTRY!
You only get what you DEMAND. They expect women to accept less, that is why they offered less to you.
Kevin
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Tiffany Sun:
I agree that big consulting companies will have more chances to learn things, but I heard that salary history is very important also. I'm really confused now.

Salary history is important to whom? Why? For what purpose? Who told you this?
The only place where I've seen it matter is in MBA applications.
--Mark
Tiffany Sun
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 02, 2001
Posts: 26
This company gave the offer based on my previous salary, that's what they said, and they gave me less than what I got before. Is this common with big companies, or I'm just the unlucky one?
Yes, I'm a female, but I did good job for all my projects, no less than any of my male coworkers. I asked a salary much higher than what they offered me. I felt insulted when they told me the offer.
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
Originally posted by Tiffany Sun:
This company gave the offer based on my previous salary, that's what they said

This is why you should read this.
--Mark
heath carlough
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 01, 2003
Posts: 34
Lemme make wild guess...is it ACCENTURE?
I've heard they are lowballing offers and underpaying like crazy. Typically they hire fresh grads and people just starting off in the industry and hire them real CHEAP. Most of their projects that they will put you on, are also very light on technology and more labor intensive.
If it IS Accenture, you shouldn't take it personally IMHO
But be warned, there is little or no chance for any raises in the near future with this company. The field is ripe with fresh graduates trying to break in and a lot of people feel putting a BIG 5 on your resume will pay off down the road, so they don't feel like being a fair paymaster. Stupid but thats the way they want to do business
Matt Cao
Ranch Hand

Joined: Apr 03, 2003
Posts: 715
Originally posted by Tiffany Sun:
This company gave the offer based on my previous salary, that's what they said, and they gave me less than what I got before. Is this common with big companies, or I'm just the unlucky one?
Yes, I'm a female, but I did good job for all my projects, no less than any of my male coworkers. I asked a salary much higher than what they offered me. I felt insulted when they told me the offer.

Hi,
Look like the company did its homework and you haven't. It offers you low because of the economic condition and regional market. But your play cards are experiences, female & minority (it plays a quota game on you.), work performance records, and wiser in negotiation.
Also play a little psychology game with them
1. Who are better communicator? Women.
2. Who will make the room brighter? Women.
3. Who will win them more contracts? Women.
4. Who does not afraid to speaking out? Women.
5. You get the point.
Never let anyone paid you base on your salary history. It is a dirty HR & Managers game. We all learn more experiences by the days whether technical or just a plain daily life.
Never let them see your fold card... desperado.
Regards,
MCao
Jeroen Wenting
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 12, 2000
Posts: 5093
Originally posted by Tiffany Sun:
This company gave the offer based on my previous salary, that's what they said, and they gave me less than what I got before. Is this common with big companies, or I'm just the unlucky one?

It's not just large companies but all companies.
Starting salaries across the board are down, you're lucky to get the same as in your previous company. If your benefits (apart from salary) are the same or better you're also very lucky indeed.
I had to get a new job (prev company went bust) last year and ended up getting 30% less than on the old job AND worse benefits.
I changed to another company (this was a temporary contract) and am now working at about 10% less overall than just over a year ago, not taking into account the 5-10% inflation over the last year...

Yes, I'm a female, but I did good job for all my projects, no less than any of my male coworkers. I asked a salary much higher than what they offered me. I felt insulted when they told me the offer.

I don't know of differences in pay between men and women (in this country it's considered 'not done' to ask coworkers about their pay, and anyway I have not worked with women with the same job title and experience level so would have noone to compare with).
I DO know that sex discrimination in any way is illegal here (as it supposedly is in the US). In practice it's of course hard to prove as far more women than men work part time for example.


42
Tiffany Sun
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 02, 2001
Posts: 26
Heath, you are right, it is Accenture. So according to what you said, I don't have a chance to get a better offer, then I have to give it up. Yes I was excited about the big name of the company, and thought it would be good to put that name on my resume, but to pay that kind of price is not what I'm willing to sacrifice.
Bela Bardak
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 179
That is a good decision, Tiffany. The assumption that you would learn more with a big 5 firm is a questionable one, IMHO. I worked for a big 5 on my last job (not Accenture). To be honest I didn't see any women in development. They were either in high-powered management roles, network administration/security, testing, or they were secretaries.
Even for male programmers the choices tended to be lacking. You think there will be a smorgasbord of choices for projects, but not typically. Usually it's Hobsons choice. Moreover you often don't have a choice in the tools you use. Higher-ups (architects or senior developers tend to make those choices).
I think the University job is the way to go, both for learning and for the higher pay.
Bela Bardak
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 02, 2004
Posts: 179
I don't know of differences in pay between men and women (in this country it's considered 'not done' to ask coworkers about their pay, and anyway I have not worked with women with the same job title and experience level so would have noone to compare with).
I DO know that sex discrimination in any way is illegal here (as it supposedly is in the US). In practice it's of course hard to prove as far more women than men work part time for example.

Female developers tend to be pretty rare. For some reason they tend to get channeled into management, testing, or tech writing. Unless you actively wish to be a tester or a tech writer a female should never take such a role! That doesn't mean you don't test or write manuals. But don't allow yourself to be pigeonholed into this kind of role because while for men it's difficult to move back into development, I've known women to complain that it's virtually impossible!
Tonny Tssagovic
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 30, 2003
Posts: 226
Just a simple question, How much does "the big 5" charge per hour in the US? In here (europe) they charge around 175$ / hour or so..
Joe Richard
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 15, 2001
Posts: 76
Tiffany,
If you were insulted with the offer, it sounds like you don't want it.
You are going to have to negotiate a higher base. If it were me I would not be able to take the job if I was not happy with the offer. I would get there and be unhappy from the start thinking they screwed me. If this is the only offer and you don't currently have a job I would take it. If you have a job, can keep it and the salary is about the same. You may want to wait for a different job. I know if I was insulted with the offer I would have to ask for a higher base salary. If I didn't get it I would have to decline the offer and continue looking.
If the job offers something other than salary, like the chance to learn a lot of new and exciting technologies I may take it. Opportunities like that are worth more than money sometimes. It depends on what you are really looking for. Money or a chance to grow your skillset and career.
Joe


Persistence equals goals
SCJD (In Progress), SCJP
heath carlough
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 01, 2003
Posts: 34
Hi Tiffany
Its YOUR decision whether you can live(literally!!) with this offer. Obviously, I don't know of all your options. But I know one thing for sure, that you won't be able to reason much with them. Accenture is also tight with raises etc...they have a higher than average turnover in the IT Consulting department. If they put you on a nice little project, it might be fun for a while. There's a good chance you will be doing low tech, grunt work for some client. Best of luck with whatever you decide.
Tiffany Sun
Greenhorn

Joined: Oct 02, 2001
Posts: 26
Thanks for all your reply, now I don't have to make the hard decision. I got another offer much much better than the previous one, so I'll go for it.
 
jQuery in Action, 2nd edition
 
subject: What should I do now about salary negotiation?
 
Similar Threads
A big confusion -- pls help...
Certified programmer looking for job
consulting company
Do fixed hour work weeks *always* make sense?
need an opinion