Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Job Market and Your Compensation

After many years of an iffy job market, it is finally safe to say that the job market in Silicon Valley is very strong. My wife has been with the same technology company for more than 9 years. Much of that time her compensation was handsomely augmented by stock options that she got and that we sold for respectable profits. However, when the options finally ran out, it was very clear to both of us that she was under-compensated based on her skills and experience.

Because she really liked the company and didn't want to leave, my wife has been trying to convince them to bring her salary up to market rate for the past 18 months. Finally, about four months ago, it became apparent that the company would not come to its senses, and my wife began to quietly search for a new position.

We knew that the job market was pretty strong, but were both surprised by how easy it was for her to get interviews and job offers. She got two or three interviews each week, all with solid tech companies, and took her time picking the right offer. Last week she made her decision and accepted an offer with a publicly traded tech company. In the next day or two I will write a post about the negotiation process, but the bottom line was that the final offer she accepted literally doubled both her salary and her bonus.

I have three comments about that whole story:

1. Whooooppppppeeeee!

2. Now that the job market is hot again, employees have much more power in salary negotiations. Employers are searching for qualified candidates and are not shy about making offers. It is time to press the advantage and ask for that salary increase. It is not clear how long this hot market will last, and I think that the economy is headed for a much cooler patch and possibly even into a recession.

3. How stupid is my wife's former company? They had a very loyal employee who consistently got top rated performance reviews. The employee repeatedly complained (and showed evidence) that she was under compensated, yet they refused to bring her compensation up to market rate. Now that my wife is leaving, the company will have to hire someone at market rate and train them from scratch. Does that make any sense to anyone?

Two days ago my wife announced her resignation. That same day the VP of Marketing called my wife into her office and proposed to match her offer if she would stay... naturally my wife refused.

1 comment:

Gates VP said...

Hey lucky guy, found this via Carnival of Finances.

Congratulations on your wife's newish job. The behavior of her VP demonstrates the exact reason that she should be leaving the company. Offering to match an employee's salary after they've given notice is one of the most bone-headed leadership decisions around. Especially after the employee has asked for raises.

If I were another employee of this company, I would be sending out resumes right now. With leaders like that, it's a sinking ship. There are so many things wrong with this it's like an entire blog post of it's own :)

I mean at the least he could've made the match retro-active and apologized profusely for how underpaid she was. But I don't even want to suggest that b/c that undermines the fact that what he did is still so very wrong.