I’ve been offered a job by an industry competitor that proposes to triple my pay and perks package. My current pay has remained fixed since 2018 and I’ve not been given any merit increase as I was told by the Human Resources (HR) department that I’m already receiving the maximum level of our salary scale. I’m still motivated by material needs but I can’t decide on the new job offer. Could you please help me explore my options? — Rising Tide.
You need to make a decision based on your understanding of your own situation, status at your current job, and possible issues that may crop up with a new employer should you accept the new job offer. Let’s focus on the last two — your current employer and what a new employer could give you.
What are the prospects that you can achieve your career and pay package goals with the current employer? Would it be possible in one to three years? What are the factors that could hasten the actualization of your dreams? How would you describe your work performance and can it somehow fast-track your promotion? How old is your boss, how long has your boss been in the company, and what are the chances you might someday step in as a replacement?
Have you received a written offer that spells out all details of your compensation package with the new employer? Why or why not? What’s the reason for the vacant position being offered to you? Did the former executive retire or accept another job elsewhere? Was your predecessor forced out? The answer could give you a good idea of what’s in store for you.
Furthermore, why are they hiring from outside? Why don’t they promote from within? Do they have a robust succession plan? Why or why not? Have you carried out a background check of your potential boss? What is the new boss’s management style? How would former employees describe that employer? These days, it has become easy to pick up clues from social media and from the pages of job hunting sites.
You have to understand the situation very clearly. First of all, your current company has a salary system with a maximum level for each job. This is not the fault of your current employer unless it is remiss in updating pay levels to make it competitive with the standards of your industry or other companies in your geographical area.
Therefore, a good question to explore with your HR department is to find out how updated the pay structure of the company is. One caveat though. You need to be diplomatic with HR as it may misinterpret your “investigation” and word could reach your boss. You know them better than I do.
In knowing the industry trends in pay and perks, major organizations rely on input from objective sources, like the annual industry survey of Willis Towers Watson and other similarly consulting firms that sell it for an average of one million pesos.
If buying a survey report is impossible, the other option is for your HR department to conduct a friendly benchmarking event with three or four companies within your industry or other major companies of comparable size that are located in your geographical area.
The benchmarking event could be a “kaliwaan” exercise — an on-the-spot exchange of salary information at a face-to-face meeting among HR professionals from other companies. Your company may even offer to host a lunch meeting to establish rapport and explore other opportunities.
To make it easy for other HR people to join the benchmarking event, limit it to key officers in your company and be prepared to discuss annual salary in terms of minimum, average, and maximum levels. You can also include other benefits like a car plan, housing, medical and insurance coverage, among other “golden handcuff” provisions.
This is an economical approach, although it is difficult to do given that most companies are secretive about their pay packages.
There’s always something you can work on. Who knows? Depending on your relationship with the boss, you may opt to discuss your pay with your superior and the new offer being dangled to you. If the job offer is three times your current pay and perks, there’s also a chance it’s at par with the package that your boss is receiving. Be careful about this.
Your boss may hold all the cards in helping you make an intelligent decision. What your boss can do is important. The boss’s opinion carries the same weight as what you consider important insofar as your career is concerned. If you can’t wait long, then you have to make a decision based on your instincts. And if you’re still torn about the right decision, then I suggest you stay put at your current job.
That’s because you don’t want to make a mistake that could leave you empty-handed if you accept the offer. The new job could turn out to be worse than expected because of certain issues that you were not aware of.