Question: Our company has been recently got acquired by a much larger and reputed company. When I took the job at our existing company – I had agreed to a pay cut for them to be able to afford me. Now that a bigger company is taking charge – should I seek to ask them to match my salary to the market level? Will the new company think of me as an opportunist and will I end up not being offered a position because of my salary negotiation?
JIB: This is a tricky situation. We can think of few ways:
i) Talk to your HR to help negotiate your pay: Talk to your HR about how you had to take pay cut considering company’s situation and how much you liked to be in this profession. Ask your HR to put your request through to the new management, be ready to show market standards and statistics data to your HR to help her build a case for you. If this discussion can happen earlier in the stage when you first hear about possible take over – the better this approach works.
ii) Talk to the new management: It will be unlikely that new company will take you on board without having a general on-boarding process. During this process they will explain you what your new role, responsibilities, pay and merit bonuses etc will be. If this is a group session then ask to have few minutes to speak to their on-boarding team separately. If this one-on-one discussion – you can bring up the discussion about helping you get to the market norms (again, have your research about averages and industry pay standards handy).
iii) Why not seek a new job altogether? Don’t get us wrong. Using the excuse of change in management you can try and find a new job. Having a job offer to validate your worth is an excellent way to get into negotiations. You can bring all the market research you want but having an offer speaks volumes and if the new company needs someone in your role – they will have no problem in matching the industry standards (actually its cheaper for them to offer you what they would have to pay someone else than to get someone on board and train them to get to your proficiency level).
iv) Take a more responsible role at the new managing company: Can you think of any role that involves higher responsibilities than what you currently handle? Why not challenge yourself to ask for that role at the new managing company? It is not easier but you never know until you ask. Taking up more responsibilities is an easier way to negotiate a higher pay. If you were to just do what you were – it is difficult for the new company to comprehend why they should pay you more than what the other company was paying.
At the end of the day, if there are more companies (from the fact that someone acquired your company, it does sound like there are other employers in the market) out there that can offer you a job with better pay and role – then why not?
Having to work for a new employer is no different than working under a new management, except that you have to forego your complacency.