Pay raise to switch jobs

What type of pay raise do you think is necessary when switching jobs. I think maybe in the range of 10% at least, but I’m wondering what others think.

Pay is just one thing to consider, and you can/should consider pay in different ways.

Base salary vs additional compensation (bonuses) split might be a factor

Other “non-compensation” benefits could be a factor

Corporate culture could be a factor

Working conditions could be a factor.

10% is a reasonable standard, but to say 10% is a line in the sand that you won’t cross is sort of saying that you don’t see the big picture.

Younger people tend to not understand that money is not everything. Younger people also do not seem to understand that even if money IS everything, the starting salary is not the only consideration. Big salary growth potential might be higher at one company than another, even if the starting salary is lower.

Edited to add: A good friend of mine ended up being laid off at one company that had no appreciation for his abilities, personality, style, and potential. He ended up at another company that he has excelled at, and he now out-earns anything like he could have made at the first company. He did get the enviable privilege to derail the application of the boss who did the lay-off, when said boss came looking for a job one day.


Anecdotally, I switched jobs a few years ago because I really didn’t like the direction things were going at my last place. I got about a 5% raise when I switched. But the new job came with much better culture, better work-life balance, less travel (19 business trips in 2019, ouch). And the new place is in growth mode so the upside looked better - and I got a 26% raise this year.

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Some companies give highly-tenured new hires extra vacation/pto vs what they give to an entry level person and some don’t. If I’m giving up 2-3 weeks of pto just to get an extra 5-10% in my paycheck that might not be a good trade off.

As a non-credentialed student, I’m not sure I could get much of a raise, if any. But with the inflation being so high, I wonder if it is possible.

I took a pay cut last time I switched companies, but in a few years made it back (switched specialties).

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For you, what you think might be the only think that matters.

I took a pay cut to leave my last job. I was miserable.

I would probably require a 100% raise to consider leaving now. Not that I love my company or job that much, but I’m content and know that what I have is decent, not worth risking a terrible job for less than that.


was it consulting or something?

Multiple things to consider.

As @NerdAlert said, if your job is shitty and you’re going from $90k to $85k, may be worth it (especially if you’re going from 60 to 40 hours for example.)

If you’re starting off at $55k (this was pretty okay for the Po when I started) and you’re offered $59k with no move required that may be worth it.

If you’re at $140k and offered $145k, quality of the job probably supersedes money.

This depends. First thing you need to know is where your current pay stands in the market. Glassdoor and the owners of AO (can’t remember right now) both have pretty good pay bands for jobs. If you’re good and experienced at what you do and you’re in the bottom of the pay band and someone is hiring you to do the same thing I would expect to move up above the median of the pay band.

If you’re going to do something new then it depends on what skills you have and how much of a learning curve there is. It could be more like a very similar pay and then you have to decide if whether it’s worth it to learn what you want to learn.

If you’re getting a promotion then it’s going to depend on the pay band of the new position, but you’re probably going to be in the bottom quartile. I push to get above that quartile when negotiating, but the other side has to agree. Just remember, getting raises and whatnot in corporate America is going to be a very rigid structure so salary negotiations for a new role can really make a big difference over 3-4 years time. That extra $10,000 or so is a actually a pretty big deal when you consider it’s going to carry into every year moving forward and it’s going to be part of the base the companies yearly % increase is based on.

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Just piling on here and agreeing with most everything that has been posted so far. All other things equal, a 10% salary increase is a good target. However, it depends on all the things said above. Different companies are different and what it takes to make up for those differences are up to you. A 10% increase would not be enough to go back and work for my last boss. A 400% increase would not be enough to make me go back to my last employer. My last job change I had no change in salary. Actually, I take that back. I think they bumped me up like $200, I’m not sure why. But I wasn’t looking for more money, I was looking for a new boss and it was an internal move. The previous change before that (also internal) was a 15% or so bump and I was most definitely looking for more money.

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Don’t forget the benefits! Tangible and intangible.

Does the new place have a more generous 401(k) match? maybe a 3% safe harbor setup? Profit sharing?

Health benefits? Depending if you need family coverage, the monthly cost can vary widely depending on the plans available and the extent of the coverage you need. I went from a big employer where I was paying like $350/month for coverage for me and my family and moved to a smaller company and was paying nearly $900. The difference was like 6 grand a year, so don’t forget to factor that in.

Commuting costs. Was taking the ferry into NYC at $800/month. Now working from home. The arithmetic there is simple.

Work/life balance. How many hours a week are you expected to work (old job vs new). Commuting time. Time int he car or on the bus is time not at home. (Though I enjoyed taking the train or the boat to work. i got a lot of reading done that I wasn’t at home). Will you have time to see your kids play a weeknight ballgame? or get a quick 9 holes in after work in the summer? PTO? Set amount of time, or unlimited?

Company culture. Loose band of colleagues or a strict hierarchy? Company picnics or happy hours, or head down, get your crap done and sign off for the night.

Education reimbursement? Do they help defray the cost of schooling and/or exams? Do you get study time?

Responsibilities? More? Less? Simply a lateral move?

Internal systems. is the software something you are used to working with, or will you have to learn a whole new package? maybe even have to learn a new programming language.

Advancement potential. Sky’s the limit, or will you have to wait for someone to die or retire to move up?

Another wild card between employers, what’s the typical bonus payout as % of target? My current employer has provided much more stability there than my last employer. That’s hard to get a gauge on unless you know people in the company unfortunately.

This is interesting. I am a young single guy so I don’t have kids or need family coverage, but I do see what you are saying about commute time/cost.

Because I work from home, I totally forgot about commute cost, to be honest. 800/month sounds extremely high to me.

I was commuting to NYC. There is a premium to NYC salaries.

I took a pay cut for my next job. But the work/life balance was much, much better.

I had assumed 800/month was a typo. Your commute REALLY cost 800 per month? That’s about $40 per work day just for commuting?

NFW ! ! !

A book of 40 trips was like $775

At first it was a much better commute than the train (which was half the price). Office was downtown NYC, and it was a 45 minute ferry ride (and the ferry is walkable distance from my house) and a 10 minute walk to the office.

But when we moved to midtown, there was another ferry stop (actually, I had to switch boats) and that added 20 mins tot he trip, as well as adding 15 minutes to the walk.

So, I opted for the train which was about 75-80 mins door to door and had more options as to timing.

more time for taylor hams