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Should I negotiate a higher salary? graduate mechanical engineer

  • 21-06-2021 4:18pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 3 engineire


    Hi

    I've recently finished college with a masters in mechanical engineering and have two job offers in Ireland.

    They're both offering €33k/yr, since that's the average in Ireland for my situation (what HR told me). One company is international with a base in Ireland and the other is a hot Irish startup.

    After spending 5 years in education I'm quite unhappy with these salaries.

    Is there potential for negotiation? Could I leverage my masters and the fact I have another offer?


«1

Comments

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,592 Mod ✭✭✭✭ shesty


    What do you think you should get, out of interest?


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,717 ✭✭✭✭ Interested Observer


    I think your expectations and reality are somewhat out of sync. You have no professional experience (I assume), that is a fine salary to start off on.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,819 ✭✭✭ xieann


    engineire wrote: »
    After spending 5 years in education I'm quite unhappy with these salaries.

    wtf

    Surgeons spend somewhat longer - around 7 years.


  • Registered Users Posts: 19,262 ✭✭✭✭ Larbre34


    engineire wrote: »
    Hi
    Could I leverage my masters and the fact I have another offer?

    How would you expect to do that? You are competing with a field of fellow graduates who have the Masters as a minimum standard.

    They aren't going to start you on anything other than a graduate salary, being a graduate and all, but if you are considering opening negotiations on your proposed remuneration, a word of caution. Don't take the piss, or you will very quickly get a name for precisely that and two offers will very quickly become no offers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 249 ✭✭ newirishman


    This is a good graduate salary.
    Of course you can always try and negotiate.

    Will you get more money by doing so? Not sure.

    I usually don't do much negotiation with graduates though, especially when a fair / good grad salary is already being offered.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,819 ✭✭✭ xieann


    Larbre34 wrote: »
    Don't take the piss, or you will very quickly get a name for precisely that and two offers will very quickly become no offers.

    I'm former IBM engineer: I received a 10 service award there, (some of this was for work done in xerox) .

    OP, your attitude is more suitable for some really "eminent" professional
    who

    1. Has been working in an organisation for TWO years minimum

    2. Has been getting "Performance Scores" or whatever they're called as

    "Above and Beyond" for consecutive periods.

    Good Luck.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,564 ✭✭✭ ligerdub


    I don't think it's unreasonable to ask the question. I'm aware of several roles which would have a higher starting point than that (and many, many that do not). A qualification of that type is not easy to obtain and has real applicable value.

    You'd probably want to ask around and get some advice from people you know who are already in the field and more importantly, if that salary is one that moves up quickly or not. I mean you don't want to cut your nose to spite your face. You don't want to be saying no on the basis of a salary that could be a lot higher in a year or two. I think it's reasonable that they would offer a moderate amount and see how you fare and then if you're worth investing in then it's a case of being backed or move on.

    It's good that you have an offer. Best of luck to you whatever you decide to do.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,135 ✭✭✭ FionnK86


    engineire wrote: »
    Hi

    I've recently finished college with a masters in mechanical engineering and have two job offers in Ireland.

    They're both offering €33k/yr, since that's the average in Ireland for my situation (what HR told me). One company is international with a base in Ireland and the other is a hot Irish startup.

    After spending 5 years in education I'm quite unhappy with these salaries.

    Is there potential for negotiation? Could I leverage my masters and the fact I have another offer?

    Hi Op,

    I was in similar situation to you 4 years ago. In 7-17 , I went to airline after 4-year bachelors and was on 26k, 3-18 was on 28k, 10-18 was on 35k, 9-20 was on 45k and this month put onto 56k.

    I've put in a lot of work in a loss-making company and have been reluctant to change so probably should be on about 70k, but enjoy the company.

    What I've noticed from a lot of people in the class who went onto do the masters in my course is that it added no particular jump in the payscale. Some like yourself started on 35k, but others came into ourselves at 26k.

    Firstly, why are you listening to the company (who you're going to work) for's HR dep? Of course they'll say you're only worth so much!

    Secondly, yes if both offers are ready to sign contract you should leverage based on the other job. You've already CV'd with the masters, so you won't get much push on there. Showing you've gone to look at market shows you think well of yourself, so you should push them.

    Be mindful that a startup might struggle to pay good wages straight away, but who dares wins, you could have a bump up if it goes well, or stagnate if it fails to take off.

    During Covid you need to be mindful of how strong the business is. If pick company A and it goes under, company B will go with their 2nd choice and you'll be going to to the virtual dole queue.

    It is of course right to think that a masters is a step-up, but often thats the university selling that idea. I've a number of friends who've done masters to get jobs in Boeing/Airbus, who thought that would make a difference and were let down.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3 engineire


    Woah didn't expect for this post to gain traction.

    I guess I am extremely biased in one sense since a lot of my friends are software engineers and earning €40k+ in their graduate roles and get nice benefits such as stock options and health insurance. This has muddled my thoughts for sure.

    I know mechanical engineers earn a lot less than software engineers in Ireland, I guess I thought doing a masters was uncommon and that I could leverage it. Also I'm unsure if the offers include benefits, but I will have meetings before accepting either offer.

    Since I have two offers, I was thinking of 'experimenting' as I would be content working in either company (and hence an outright rejection wouldn't scare me) - I just want to earn more money. Especially since I will need to relocate across the country for these offers.

    I'm also mindful of future opportunities and want to ensure both offers have a future growth plan.


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭ iColdFusion


    engineire wrote: »
    Hi

    I've recently finished college with a masters in mechanical engineering and have two job offers in Ireland.

    They're both offering €33k/yr, since that's the average in Ireland for my situation (what HR told me). One company is international with a base in Ireland and the other is a hot Irish startup.

    After spending 5 years in education I'm quite unhappy with these salaries.

    Is there potential for negotiation? Could I leverage my masters and the fact I have another offer?

    Are you going into the construction industry?
    Salary is about right if so, masters only starts to pay off once you have decent experience and are chartered.
    You don't appreciate it now but your company and its existing engineers will have to invest alot of time in training you how to take all that learning and use it practically, best of luck!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 249 ✭✭ newirishman


    engineire wrote: »
    Woah didn't expect for this post to gain traction.

    I guess I am extremely biased in one sense since a lot of my friends are software engineers and earning €40k+ in their graduate roles and get nice benefits such as stock options and health insurance. This has muddled my thoughts for sure.

    I know mechanical engineers earn a lot less than software engineers in Ireland, I guess I thought doing a masters was uncommon and that I could leverage it. Also I'm unsure if the offers include benefits, but I will have meetings before accepting either offer.

    Since I have two offers, I was thinking of 'experimenting' as I would be content working in either company (and hence an outright rejection wouldn't scare me) - I just want to earn more money. Especially since I will need to relocate across the country for these offers.

    I'm also mindful of future opportunities and want to ensure both offers have a future growth plan.

    There is not too many companies in the Software Industry that pay that type of money and benefits to graduates. Unfortunately, they ruin it for everybody else.
    It is also only a minority of graduates that will get that money (usually the top)


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,657 ✭✭✭✭ listermint


    There is not too many companies in the Software Industry that pay that type of money and benefits to graduates. Unfortunately, they ruin it for everybody else.
    It is also only a minority of graduates that will get that money (usually the top)

    His friends could be Spoofers or are two years into their graduate program in a placement. Most graduate renumeration would be 30 to 35 range in software.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,149 ✭✭✭ Padre_Pio


    Are you going into the construction industry?
    Salary is about right if so, masters only starts to pay off once you have decent experience and are chartered.
    You don't appreciate it now but your company and its existing engineers will have to invest alot of time in training you how to take all that learning and use it practically, best of luck!

    Look at medical and you might get into the €40k range starting off.
    Personally I wouldn't bother with civil. The wages are lower. Fantastic money in medical.
    I think your expectations and reality are somewhat out of sync. You have no professional experience (I assume), that is a fine salary to start off on.
    xieann wrote: »
    wtf
    Surgeons spend somewhat longer - around 7 years.
    Larbre34 wrote: »
    They aren't going to start you on anything other than a graduate salary, being a graduate and all, but if you are considering opening negotiations on your proposed remuneration, a word of caution. Don't take the piss, or you will very quickly get a name for precisely that and two offers will very quickly become no offers.

    Don't mind posts like this. There's no harm in asking.
    No one is going to not hire you because you asked for more money.


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 6,592 Mod ✭✭✭✭ shesty


    There's an engineering forum OP, you might get a better gauge there.
    I am a civil engineer, and to me that seems like a fairly healthy starting salary.Unfortunately the Masters is not too uncommon these days due to the way the Universities have gone from a 4 year course to a 3+2 year one and you need the Masters to become Chartered.

    https://touch.boards.ie/forum/431


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,135 ✭✭✭ FionnK86


    engineire wrote: »
    Woah didn't expect for this post to gain traction.

    I guess I am extremely biased in one sense since a lot of my friends are software engineers and earning €40k+ in their graduate roles and get nice benefits such as stock options and health insurance. This has muddled my thoughts for sure.

    I know mechanical engineers earn a lot less than software engineers in Ireland, I guess I thought doing a masters was uncommon and that I could leverage it. Also I'm unsure if the offers include benefits, but I will have meetings before accepting either offer.

    Since I have two offers, I was thinking of 'experimenting' as I would be content working in either company (and hence an outright rejection wouldn't scare me) - I just want to earn more money. Especially since I will need to relocate across the country for these offers.

    I'm also mindful of future opportunities and want to ensure both offers have a future growth plan.

    Like other posters, they could be spoofers, or genuine because companies these days need coders/programmers. If it's money you're after, then might be worth retraining in a few years after having a go at the mech. engineering or indeed medical. It's nice to say you're getting a few pound, but I know 24 year old pilots on 130k who are always short of money because of how they spend it.

    Benefits can make it up a lot, make sure if you're going anywhere for more than 2 years you look into a pension, it could push one job over the other. By the 2 years, you'd have a decent amount of experience to look about.

    They won't reject you outright, but you'll have to be prepared to accept something lower, if you need a job to pay rent, by moving across country I assume you mean Dublin. Factor in working from home, if they'll let you. Sometimes better to be on the job if you're young and want the buzz.

    If you don't already, build an excel spread of costs for accommodation (I'd say a grand a month in Dublin if your single), and use that as a gauge for how low you can go before you decide.

    Good luck with the future. I can say that walking into here I'd no other opportunities and have received 6 different offers last week for well above salary. Dress well, always be on time and in 2 years time you'll have enough on the piece of paper to pull 50/60k. Also, don't rule out travelling. Middle-east have a good few opportunities.


  • Registered Users Posts: 172 ✭✭ Iguarantee


    Firstly, congrats on your degree and masters, you have one of the most employable skills sets in the western world (if not THE most employable).

    I’ve an honours degree in mech eng. (graduating in 2016).

    Graduate salaries are crap with respect to the time investment you’ve given to get the qualification. However that’s pretty much where the bad stuff ends for mechanical engineers. You’re career and salary prospects are very, very bright.

    My own progression has been non-standard but is very achievable if you have the skills that companies want (not just degrees).

    My own progression was something like this:

    Company A
    June 2016: €30k
    December 2016: €35k
    December 2017: €45k
    December 2018: €50k

    Company B
    January 2020: €60k

    Company C
    May 2020: €71k
    May 2021: €85k

    Good communication skills, leadership skills, management skills, driven mentality. That’s what I’ve identified as the necessary skills to leverage serious pay rises.

    I don’t have a masters and I’m not chartered; I don’t need those things, I’m on €85k after <5 years. Those things are fine and are indeed good for earning power but the time spent on those is time I’d prefer to spend elsewhere (for now).

    Keep your chin up, don’t worry about the starting salary, figure out what type of result you want to get from your first salary review and keep track of how you can leverage more money.

    Attention to detail, delivering tasks on time, managing yourself instead of being babysat and taking responsibility for tasks (or taking tasks out of your managers hands) are ways I’ve figured out for leveraging more cash. It helps to be a team player too.


  • Registered Users Posts: 946 ✭✭✭ iColdFusion


    Padre_Pio wrote: »
    Don't mind posts like this. There's no harm in asking.
    No one is going to not hire you because you asked for more money.

    It would depend how well the OP did in the interview, if I was in charge of hiring I would either give the OP some extra cash because I appreciated their up front courage to ask for more and would like them to take that same attitude when working for me, or id just hire another graduate who didn't ask for more money if I thought they were being greedy or demanding because they thought I owed them more.
    Commercial acumen is an important part of being a good engineer!


  • Registered Users Posts: 172 ✭✭ Iguarantee


    Commercial acumen is an important part of being a good engineer!

    Well said, I concur.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,338 ✭✭✭ kingtut


    As someone who works in the engineering field (13ish years) I think that starting salary is fairly spot on especially as you have no experience and are fresh out of college. While the masters is a good achievement I don't think any company would factor it in when offering a wage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,289 ✭✭✭ skinny90


    listermint wrote: »
    His friends could be Spoofers or are two years into their graduate program in a placement. Most graduate renumeration would be 30 to 35 range in software.

    yup, even big 4 IT consultancy grad rates are 35K, and are heavily advertised as great for grad roles.

    Here is the thing, its a grad role, so there is or at least there should be a safety net or programme in place to help get you exposed to the real world without getting chewed up and spat out.

    My advice is check out what company graduate programmes are available, is one better than the other?

    Use that to gain experience for 1-2 years.

    That gives you leverage to position yourself in that chosen company or move on to bigger and better things.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,501 ✭✭✭✭ CIARAN_BOYLE


    You've been offered two jobs.

    Pick one. That's your fallback.
    Ask the other one if they can go higher.
    If 5hey say no go with your fall back.

    It can't hurt. That said you've a good offer at what is probably a market rate for a graduate in your field.


  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 7,850 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Jim2007


    engineire wrote: »
    Is there potential for negotiation? Could I leverage my masters and the fact I have another offer?


    Well you can always try.... but you'd want to bring something extra to the table to justify a higher salary than the going rate.


    It takes two to negotiate and it could very well be that your potential employers decide to go with someone else instead. Beyond a personal preference there is not much difference between you and another graduate, so you need to decide if it is worth it.


    In the first couple of years after graduating you need to concentrate in getting a good variety of experience upon which to build a future career. So as long as you can manage to live on the salary offered, I'd concentrate on the type of experience both positions offer and how it will enhance your resume going forward rather than get too concerned about benefits. They will come with experience in any case.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,334 ✭✭✭✭ mariaalice


    With Tax and PSR are taken into account the difference between 33k and 40k take-home might not be as much as you think, take the job that gives you the best experience.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,135 ✭✭✭ FionnK86


    mariaalice wrote: »
    With Tax and PSR are taken into account the difference between 33k and 40k take-home might not be as much as you think, take the job that gives you the best experience.

    If my excel is correct (probs some cells out)

    33k is 27.6k
    40k is 31.2k

    So you're looking at about 4k difference or 300pm in difference. If one job is a few extra km spin from home, or over the M50 toll that's nothing!


  • Registered Users Posts: 3 engineire


    The amount of advice and feedback is overwhelming but I'm delighted that people care!

    Interesting what people think about the situation and yeah you're all correct that €33k is a decent starting salary.

    Just to note, both offers are not a graduate program. I will be joining their full-time teams as a graduate engineer working on the ground level projects. At the moment the start-up is more enticing since there is huge potential in the market.

    I think my plan would be to gain some experience for 2-4 years at the company, and then seek work somewhere else abroad.

    From stories, it seems like the best way to get 'promotions' and pay raises is to hop companies every few years.

    After living in Dublin for 23 years, it will be strange venturing to the West but I heard life is more pleasant outside Dublin... hopefully more peaceful.

    I've meetings penciled with these companies so I will try to play one of them a little and see how far I could take it (just to remind people that I accept losing one offer).

    Another note - while I am a graduate, I do have internship experiences (a collective 16 months) and won multiple national and European awards for projects. While in the professional world this doesn't matter of course - I do think I'm an industrious worker and bring a lot to the table compared to my peers.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,501 ✭✭✭✭ CIARAN_BOYLE


    I would fully expect both jobs to tell you to take a hike if you negotiate starting salary.

    That's said you can afford for one of the jobs to tell you to take a hike so you might as well try.

    Pick your less favoured job and tell them you were offered another job and tell them 35 or 36k will make you decide to take their offer.

    I am 95% certain you will be told no chance but you still have another job available.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,973 ✭✭✭✭ challengemaster


    You can have a look at recruitment agencies salary surveys if you're not sure what's actually the average vs what people are telling you

    https://www.brightwater.ie/docs/default-source/surveys/salary-survey/2020/brightwater-salary-survey-2020.pdf?sfvrsn=79138276_8


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,803 ✭✭✭ touts


    engineire wrote: »
    Hi

    I've recently finished college with a masters in mechanical engineering and have two job offers in Ireland.

    They're both offering €33k/yr, since that's the average in Ireland for my situation (what HR told me). One company is international with a base in Ireland and the other is a hot Irish startup.

    After spending 5 years in education I'm quite unhappy with these salaries.

    Is there potential for negotiation? Could I leverage my masters and the fact I have another offer?

    Unfortunately in the real world those pieces of paper you spent 5 years studying for are window dressing. It's experience that counts and for someone with little or no experience then €33k is a good entry salary. Spend two years. Learn as much as you can from the experienced engineers and your salary will increase in the next job.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,540 ✭✭✭ true-or-false


    Jobs.ie puts Mechanical Engineer at €50-75k: https://www.jobs.ie/job-talk/engineering-salaries-in-2021/

    No offense intended, I realise you've put a lot of time/energy into your education to date, but while you're academically a Mechanical Engineer, and you've done internships, you've not established yourself professionally as a Mechanical Engineer yet. As such I wouldn't expect your salary to quite reach the €50k as a graduate, because you haven't fully taken up the role before.

    That said, I'd think based on the link above that you have some wiggle room there. If you're going back to them to ask for more, make sure you're doing it armed with solid reasons (don't use your masters - they already know about that). If I was you, I'd be saying something like 'my expectations were closer to €40k, based on salary guides and xyz, and I have higher value than a typical graduate because xyz', but realistically I'd be expecting to settle somewhere between €35-37k.

    I'd fully encourage you to try to bump it up the few extra grand.


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  • Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 4,617 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Mr. G


    There is not too many companies in the Software Industry that pay that type of money and benefits to graduates. Unfortunately, they ruin it for everybody else.
    It is also only a minority of graduates that will get that money (usually the top)

    Actually I know numerous grads in software/IT getting €40k a straight out of college in past few years. Not all Dublin either. That’s not unusual so don’t act surprised.

    However, €35k ish would be common. After a few years, it does definitely jump.

    Many grads tend to go back to where they had placement. You’ll find Software/IT employees move around and retention can be poor. Particularly for people in their 20s-30s.


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