Low-ball Salary Offers

This topic was created by OzBob .

  1. OzBob
    Meh

    Low-ball Salary Offers

    So, back down-under now, currently employed but always looking, I saw a Senior SysAdmin Job for one of the larger public services in another city. SAN, Linux, Virtualisation; all the goodies I have worked on in the last 3-4 years.

    But! When I see the salary bracket, I chucked it in the bin. From my current role (which is senior but not that specialised) I would be taking a 25% paycut to take on a role with greater scope and higher responsibility. I reckon their HR department put the junior pay-grade figures on the senior role advert.

    I also recalled about a year ago a Linux job in another city which kept lurking for 9 months online, with a low-ball salary for a wide range of disciplines at the 3rd level support arena. It was no wonder they couldn't fill it.

    Are there many job adverts you find out there with ridiculously low salaries? Has anyone actually taken a low-ball salary and tried to bump them up afterwards?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Low-ball Salary Offers

      I got a job as a teacher at £2000 p/a (poor pay for London area, but HMG rates)

      I left for a school abroad, but found others were earning more and left when they reduced the perks during a contract (lack of knowledge of foreign pay levels on entry)

      I was offered a good job at a large company, but slightly below average salary (little choice)

      Had a English-speaking boss who argued that my teacher's diploma was a second degree, and put me on a 2-degree scale (nice guy)

      Been doing well enough ever since. (became realistic)

  2. future research

    My current job, they did have a low range. I got them to give me an initial offer above the top of the bracket advertised. I would never start on a low-ball salary expecting an increase, the time to negotiate is before accepting the job.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      "We're offering £250/day"

      "No problem, do you want me to work mornings or would you prefer afternoons?"

  3. Dominic Connor, Quant Headhunter

    Salaries are political

    Pay is a result of a political process in any outfit.

    To be fair it is hard to know exactly the "going rate" for a skill set in a given location and so it can be rational to start low and work up.

    The problem is that to get more money, the boss of the group has to go to his boss or HR or the client and ask for more and sometimes he can't get it.

    So a persistent low ball offer tends to mean that your immediate boss is politically weak, which in my experience is a good predictor of your job being crap.

    I have had one skill which meant that for one very specialist role I was pretty much the only person in the country who could do it and had proven in the interview that the people doing it already were flatly lying.

    Short version: They were using s/w I'd helped develop and the suppliers claim that "it had been in service" since before we'd ever released any version of it

    This was the Docklands Light Railway, a non-trivial project and the agent who put me forward was quite smug that he'd found me and he had earned that smugness.

    The DLR offered rather less than half the going rate and an expenses deal (I would have to travel often to Canada) which would have left me on shelf filler money.

    I declined and the DLR kept saying "we pay X" where X was this silly little number and it was in a good market, so I was far from desperate.

    I heard later they'd hired some guy who bullshitted that he'd had the skill and as you may recall the DLR has had quite a few s/w problems.

    The core problem was that never spoke to anyone that actually cared.

    The management level that interviewed me had financial limits and as long as they paid people according to policy they had an easy life. Their management were "Management", they neither knew nor cared how stuff worked or even if it did as they spent money at the right rate.

    Even the agent didn't care, his cut was pathetic and he knew as a recruiter that if you place someone far below market rate some combination of these N things will happen

    1) They will quit suddenly once they realise they are underpriced

    2) Their resentment will cause them to do a bad job, somertimes a *very* bad job

    3) They are fairly priced, they are only worth what you are paying and are likely to be incompetent

    4) They have some non-trivial personalty defect

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    By strange coincidence, I got an offer this morning.

    Apparently, they really liked me, I aced all the tech tests and I had way more experience than they were expecting in everything they wanted except for one area (where I have extensive related experience) - basically, I was as perfect a fit for the role as a company's likely to get .. but they still offered me £5K below the job's advertised max.

    Shame. I would have liked to work there but with it would take years, given current wage inflation, to make up that £5K.

    (Anon for obv reasons)

    1. jcitron

      In this economy the employee, both prospective as well as hired, is the one that loses out due to wage deflation. Companies see that they can get the cheap labor and will avoid giving out raises and bonuses to their current employees knowing full well that there is such a glut of applicants in the job market that they could hire a replacement very easily.

      Sadly, this is the bean-counters driving this and feeding the drivel to the corner office and of course then to HR who laps it up voraciously. What they don't realize is they will end up losing good, talented employees, as they look for the cheap way out. This is why there are those adverts from the same companies always looking for employees. They are not growing, they just get good people who leave for better opportunities when the chance comes along.

      John

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lowball salaries are the rule around here. I'm a ColdFusion developer with 10 years experience, a degree in web design and a laundry list of certifications making $38k/year. My research on the subject puts that well below the normal entry level salary for CF devs. For further examples, our network manager with a masters degree and at least 3 Cisco certs (I can't tell you which ones off the top of my head) makes right around $50k, as does our sysadmin.

    Unfortunately IT jobs are scare around here, so anyone wanting to make a living as a professional geek has to settle for what we can get or move, and I've got some pretty strong ties to this area. I've considered moving and it frankly scares the hell out of me.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FWIW when we post for jobs we let the candidate tell us what we want. Good people are difficult to find so we pay. But we are a small company so can afford to be informal...

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