Should I take on an offer that pays peanuts?

Caroline Mboijana. PHOTO/FILE 

What you need to know:

My current salary is small. I want the position but the offer is demotivating

I got a promotion at work and I was excited. Much as I was recommended for the position, I was taken through an interview process and during the interview, they asked for salary expectation. Now I got the offer letter and it is not even close to what I asked for. The difference in my current salary is small. I want the position but the offer is demotivating. What should I do?


Hello James, it is always disappointing when you have gone through a selection process, where you have been asked to share your expectations and then get a different offer from what you expected. 

You need to be aware and mindful that many roles are pegged within a salary structure and what you are being offered is was allowable within the salary structure.

Before you make a final decision, you need to take a step back and think about the promotion itself and why you were recommended and recognised as a suitable team member who has been promoted. 

While the money aspect is essential, you need to think beyond the money. More is a reward that will only have an impact for a short period. As time goes by, money becomes secondary because your career growth and development become the more critical issue.

You may want to speak to your human resource manager and seek clarification. It may be the case that they have started you on a lower salary while you work through a transition or probationary period, which may be applicable even if it is an internal promotion. Once you are confirmed in the role, you may get an uplift in your salary. My suggestion is to take the role with what has been offered and focus on excelling in the delivery of this role. 

Learn the new skills and abilities that the position requires you to have. Skills development ensures you are the best technical and behavioural fit for the role. Focusing on the job allows you to demonstrate your potential and abilities and if you do well and deliver, you will have positioned yourself as a valuable resource to the company. Once that has been established, you can return to the table and revisit the salary issue. With a track record, you have evidence that speaks of your value addition to the business.

Caroline Mboijana,

Managing Director, The Leadership Team (U) [email protected]


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