Taking a 4k pay cut

Associate
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I'm 4/6 years through a part time OU engineering degree. Including 6 years at college I've been im academic study for 6 years now.

I spent 5 years braying on managers doors in my old job to get a change from shop floor level to design/engineering and the best i got was CMM inspection.

I got head hunted for a job at the end of last year and i took it for 4k more, taking me to 24k a year and closer to home. It is not a bad place but it's not what i want to do. I'm a production technician there that's rarely given opportunities to put engineering skills into practice. I've enjoyed things so far as it was all new but i felt i learnt more towards my trade at my last job and long term there isn't much progression. I left on good terms so could have alwaya gone have but was tpp proud, and they did offer to match my new job but i was tpo stubborn to accept and wanted change.

Now a new job has come up and an interview friday and i really want to give it my best shot but my partner feels 4k a year drop is too much on top of travel when we are supposed to be going in for a mortgage together. I'm currently not getting any younger at 31 and feel i need to do this tp get the experience otherwise I'll be chasing closed doors. I won't get a better offer for higher money due to my lack of experience being an engineer. The only experience i have is at shop floor level .

Would you accept a drop in pay for a chance i feel would be better long term and more fullfilling? Would you also mention these concerns at an interview?
 
Caporegime
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I'd certainly make a point of mentioning your current salary if their offer is going to be lower than it and try to get them to raise the offer a bit. Obviously this is contingent on you doing well in the interview process.

How likely do you think you'd get another shot at something like this in future? I mean if you want to get a mortgage with your partner then maybe it is worth securing that first and then switching roles. If it isn't some dream job/one off shot etc.. then perhaps better to make sure you're not both adding to stress at work and have additional stress at home as a result of taking the pay cut too, especially when you're at the most important stage of your degree!

Do you mention your nearly complete OU degree on your CV - I mean you perhaps ought to be able to take a punt at roles equivalent to the sort of work they'd give a university student going into their final year or perhaps a fresh engineering grad even. I mean there might not be any harm in perhaps phoning up a few employers that hire engineering grads and seeing if they'd take a look at you at this stage regardless... don't ask, don't get.

I'm from a finance then tech background myself and in both cases we had ambitious non-grads hired in grad roles, one kid in the NYC office (I say kid as he was about 19 or 20) got sent to our London office to take part in the grad scheme, he was part way through a degree course that he attended in the evenings and had initially been hired in a junior role in the company but had impressed one of the senior guys over there and got stuck on the new grad scheme. According to Linkedin, 10 years or so later he's doing rather well at a large US bank.
 
Associate
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I'd certainly make a point of mentioning your current salary if their offer is going to be lower than it and try to get them to raise the offer a bit. Obviously this is contingent on you doing well in the interview process.

How likely do you think you'd get another shot at something like this in future? I mean if you want to get a mortgage with your partner then maybe it is worth securing that first and then switching roles. If it isn't some dream job/one off shot etc.. then perhaps better to make sure you're not both adding to stress at work and have additional stress at home as a result of taking the pay cut too, especially when you're at the most important stage of your degree!

Do you mention your nearly complete OU degree on your CV - I mean you perhaps ought to be able to take a punt at roles equivalent to the sort of work they'd give a university student going into their final year or perhaps a fresh engineering grad even. I mean there might not be any harm in perhaps phoning up a few employers that hire engineering grads and seeing if they'd take a look at you at this stage regardless... don't ask, don't get.

I'm from a finance then tech background myself and in both cases we had ambitious non-grads hired in grad roles, one kid in the NYC office (I say kid as he was about 19 or 20) got sent to our London office to take part in the grad scheme, he was part way through a degree course that he attended in the evenings and had initially been hired in a junior role in the company but had impressed one of the senior guys over there and got stuck on the new grad scheme. According to Linkedin, 10 years or so later he's doing rather well at a large US bank.

I'm just wondering how I make a point. Do i ask if there is a 2nd stage interview at the end, and if yes then keep quiet if/when i make it to one. If not then i say the reason i ask is to talk level of promotions and realistic timescales to target for. I will mention i would be taking a £4000 or 17% drop in salary to take this job and feel it is necessary sacrafice to ensure i am surrounded by valuable people and support to accelerate my carrer in the right direction but is some thing i will struggle with a house and family to support.

I feel 20k is what i would be worth not having any design experience. I live and work in the north east and i doubt any grad round here would get anything more. I did try for a grad scheme for caterpillar and got quite far through the process for someone to ring me up and tell me they are sadly terminating my application due to not actually graduating yet. I still have 2+years left until i graduate so its still a relatively long way away, but just feels too long with how long I've been studying and the fact i feel i need to get into the field npw and take a cut rather than later.

I mention on my CV I'm qualified to HNC and currently over half way through my HND.
 
Soldato
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The way I look at it is; does this new job give you (as much as you can tell anyway) the progression you want and need to take you past that 4k and beyond? I've left companies before for not the money I wanted, but I made sure they knew that I wanted to progress and climb the ladder, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

I'd not move for 4k less and travel more just for more short term satisfaction though. Not unless there was a promise of an upside elsewhere... otherwise you're spending less time at home and getting less for it.
 
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Yeah thats the point. It does look a relatively large, qualified and secure company. Owned by a ftse 100 company withan operating income of half a billion and 12,000 employees.


I was sent 2 job specs and on one it says "Highly competitive and negotiable (+excellent benefits package)" and the other "£18,000 - £20,000pa". The agency asked was it still okay to drop to 20k a year and I said yes.

The job itself in terms of responsibilities and requirements for the junior mechanical engineer i cannot say hand on heart i could fulful off the bat but around 30/40% id have to set at targets / goals, which would say i shouldn't push for more than is offered. I do believe in paying what im worth and in 12 months time i would like a review of my performance, but i feel saying this in an interview is a no no.

I did ask the agency how many i'm competing with and what they know about me to recueve this.

You are up against two others but I do know that they are very much looking forward to meeting you.



They have you CV and a short paragraph from me just briefly explaining your skillsets.

To be fair it sounds a good job if there's chance for progression. Even if not, with experience i could well move on regardless I'd just need to convince my partner that pausing my life for a year or so getting by on 20k a year would have a long term benefit.
 
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Soldato
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What type of engineering? 20k seems low if you have a lot of relevant experience.

Can you not identify your experience as being relevant to design?

The field is wide though!
 
Soldato
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I'd be asking all sorts of questions at the interview in terms of progression opportunities, stuff like 'for previous junior mechanical engineers, how long has it taken them on average to move up to a non-junior position/senior engineer?'

Remember the interview isn't just for them to see if you're the right person for the job, it's also for you to see if the company/role is what you're looking for. Some places I applied for were quite honest about progression and that basically closed the door on those opportunities - I moved jobs 7 months ago and made a sideways move only gaining 1.5k a year - £21k to £22.5k (plus a much shorter commute) and some of the other jobs with sideways moves said they required people to do 2 years at that level before a promotion would even be considered. I'm aiming for £30k in 18 months from now (2 years from the original move) so obviously those companies were not going to be a right fit for me. I'm a bit older than you at 37 so progression is right at the top of my priorities.

So long as it works out financially in the short-medium term, doesn't affect your mortgage prospects too badly, and the company is a good fit, then go for it. As for convincing the missus - just point out to her that if you stay where you are, you'll probably be on the same money for the next 2-3 years. Moving jobs will mean a paycut but in a year or 2's time you could (should!) be on £30k, or whatever the going rate it for an experienced engineer.

Good luck :D
 
Associate
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What type of engineering? 20k seems low if you have a lot of relevant experience.

Can you not identify your experience as being relevant to design?

The field is wide though!

These are the job specs

Role Title: Junior Mechanical Engineer
Business Unit: XXX
Location: XXX
Salary: £18,000 - £20,000pa
Benefits: Annual Bonus Scheme; Pension Option; Flexible Working Hours; Healthcare; 25
annual holidays (+statutory); Share Match Scheme
__________________________________________________________________________________
Reporting to the Principal Engineer, the role will be required to support and provide the engineering
design service for the business. The role requires you to work with minimal support and guidance to
pursue robust engineering designs to cost, specification and schedule within a structured
multidiscipline team. It is important that you can perform basic engineering calculations
unsupported, are conversant with 3D CAD modelling / drafting, and can generate Bills of Materials,
document registers, and supporting documentation for build packs. The role also involves
coordination of manufacture with suppliers.
Key responsibilities:
 Work within the Engineering Support Team to deliver new and bespoke Mechanical
engineering designs to the business
 Report and manage engineering quality concerns through company quality systems and
procedures
 Perform CAD / drafting to the required company standard using Solidworks
 Develop products and solutions to the required standards and regulations
 Perform and document design calculations using the appropriate tools
 Support design reviews, documenting meetings and use close actions to provide an audit
trail
 Liaise with internal customers and make agreement on delivery of engineering items and
product
 Liaise with engineering suppliers to ensure feasibility, and complete definition of
components
 Drive engineering with a focus on QCD (Quality, Cost and Delivery)
 Provide robust engineering solutions and problem solving ability
 Drive and develop existing products striving for engineering excellence through quality cost
and delivery
 Contribute and consider good health & safety practice
 Consider environmental and compliance factors as defined by regulation and company
standards
Requirements:
 Previous experience working with or in Mechanical products, a manufacturing environment,
metallic products, design
 Minimum HNC / HND in Mechanical Engineering
 Proficiency in the use of IT Programs
 Proficiency in the use of CAD (3D and drafting) and the Microsoft suite of software
 Experience of Electronic & Mechanical integrated systems
 Some previous experience working in design office
 Excellent communicator
 Be motivated to learn, be receptive of advice and resilient to critique
 Can work independently, self-manage time and plan work and engineering activities after
guidance from other engineers and managers within the business
 Ability to understand detailed engineering from the perspective of the supplier
 A good understanding of machining, welding, and fabrication and material
 Understanding of basic mechanisms and mechanical systems
 Have drive and enthusiasm
 Ability to work within a team
 Enthusiasm for technology and engineering
 Be motivated to learn and progress
 Be motivated and have commitment to deliver
 Have the ability to create novel solutions to sometimes difficult problems
 Capable of articulating engineering information to colleagues and customers

Role: Junior Mechanical Engineer
Location: North East
Salary: Highly competitive and negotiable (+excellent benefits package)
__________________________________________________________________________________
Our client are a leading global leader in diagnostic measurement and instrumentation. Due to
expansion, they are now looking to recruit for a Junior Mechanical Engineer, reporting to the
Principal Engineer, to support and provide the engineering design service for the business.
Key responsibilities:
 Work with minimal support and guidance within the Engineering Support Team to deliver
new and bespoke Mechanical Engineering designs to cost, specification and schedule
 Perform basic engineering calculations unsupported
 Generate Bills of Materials, document registers, and supporting documentation for build
packs
 Perform CAD / drafting to the required company standard
 Develop products and solutions to the required standards and regulations
 Drive and develop existing products
Requirements:
 Previous experience working with or in Mechanical products, manufacturing and design
 Minimum HNC / HND in Mechanical Engineering
 Proficiency in the use of CAD (3D and drafting) and Microsoft suite
 Some experience of Electronic & Mechanical integrated systems
 Previous experience working within a design office
 Be motivated to learn, be receptive of advice and resilient to critique


I'd be asking all sorts of questions at the interview in terms of progression opportunities, stuff like 'for previous junior mechanical engineers, how long has it taken them on average to move up to a non-junior position/senior engineer?'

Remember the interview isn't just for them to see if you're the right person for the job, it's also for you to see if the company/role is what you're looking for. Some places I applied for were quite honest about progression and that basically closed the door on those opportunities - I moved jobs 7 months ago and made a sideways move only gaining 1.5k a year - £21k to £22.5k (plus a much shorter commute) and some of the other jobs with sideways moves said they required people to do 2 years at that level before a promotion would even be considered. I'm aiming for £30k in 18 months from now (2 years from the original move) so obviously those companies were not going to be a right fit for me. I'm a bit older than you at 37 so progression is right at the top of my priorities.

So long as it works out financially in the short-medium term, doesn't affect your mortgage prospects too badly, and the company is a good fit, then go for it. As for convincing the missus - just point out to her that if you stay where you are, you'll probably be on the same money for the next 2-3 years. Moving jobs will mean a paycut but in a year or 2's time you could (should!) be on £30k, or whatever the going rate it for an experienced engineer.

Good luck :D

That's a good pitch on how to deliver the fact of enquiring about promotions thank you.
I do beleive with a bit of experience behind me I would be far more desirable to higher paid roles
 
Man of Honour
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£18-£20k to do that and they want experience too?
We pay people that to answer the telephone.

I'm not taking the mick or anything, it just sounds underpaid, is this the form in the industry for such a role? Really surprised.
 
Associate
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£18-£20k to do that and they want experience too?
We pay people that to answer the telephone.

I'm not taking the mick or anything, it just sounds underpaid, is this the form in the industry for such a role? Really surprised.

https://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Junior_Mechanical_Engineer/Salary

I would say it is a starting salary. I don't think they expect somone to have all that experience - to be fair what they require is more in line with a mechanical engineer and not a junior, which is more around the 30k role. I would hope there would be a review in 6 months or 12 months at the latest. At worst even if I got 2 years under my belt, once I graduate and with a few years experience I should hope to achieve a salary of 30k elsewhere.

It is really dire round here for junior roles and the likes. If I put what I wanted in the midlands or warwickshire location it comes up with pages of job roles, but where I want and within 30 miles it brings up very few.
 
Soldato
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https://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Junior_Mechanical_Engineer/Salary

I would say it is a starting salary. I don't think they expect somone to have all that experience - to be fair what they require is more in line with a mechanical engineer and not a junior, which is more around the 30k role. I would hope there would be a review in 6 months or 12 months at the latest. At worst even if I got 2 years under my belt, once I graduate and with a few years experience I should hope to achieve a salary of 30k elsewhere.

It is really dire round here for junior roles and the likes. If I put what I wanted in the midlands or warwickshire location it comes up with pages of job roles, but where I want and within 30 miles it brings up very few.

I haven't looked too much at the job specs but I'd try tailor your previous experience to the role and get paid the max possible.

For what it's worth i know some engineering apprentices (zero experience, just gces ) at 4 days a week + college getting circa 17k near me.

I agree that getting a role with good experience is more important than salary but it sounds like if you have a head on your shoulders you should get paid more.

Can you finish degree quicker to get paid more sooner? (I imagine it's frustrating as the likelihood is you won't know anymore relevant material than current after graduating )

For what it's worth I now get 175% of what I started with 4 years after graduating, so salary progression is there! I did move from graduating in Glasgow to Cambridge to Warwickshire to get job roles (and Warwickshire is near Mrs' family so going to stay here for a while, Glasgow is similarly difficult for junior jobs).
 
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Associate
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I haven't looked too much at the job specs but I'd try tailor your previous experience to the role and get paid the max possible.

For what it's worth i know some engineering apprentices (zero experience, just gces ) at 4 days a week + college getting circa 17k near me.

I agree that getting a role with good experience is more important than salary but it sounds like if you have a head on your shoulders you should get paid more.

Can you finish degree quicker to get paid more sooner? (I imagine it's frustrating as the likelihood is you won't know anymore relevant material than current after graduating )

For what it's worth I now get 175% of what I started with 4 years after graduating, so salary progression is there! I did move from graduating in Glasgow to Cambridge to Warwickshire to get job roles (and Warwickshire is near Mrs' family so going to stay here for a while, Glasgow is similarly difficult for junior jobs).

Generally apprentices do get more as companys get grants and such to employ these people. My problem is that I'm mature and why pay someone top when they can drag someone in who is younger and probably get benefits from doing so.

I could finish earlier but at a sacrifice of no life. I am also on track for a first(still time to fall to a 2:1) and would like to continue at a manageable rate to ensure I gain the best scores I can. It is frustrating not using what I am learning as I feel I do not retain it well since I am not using it on a regular basis.

Relocation would make things easier but isn't an option as my partner wouldnt agree and not sure I would want to be away for long periods either. She actually used to live in Warwickshire so it would be ideal to move down there but shes made a life up here now with friends, plus her daughter and wouldn't want to move away from her or split her up from her friends / boyfriend.

I've been doing research on the company via glass doors. Would it be acceptable to mention I have noticed a few negative reviews based on "no clear progression/system" and that "they need to invest in better staff training" - but state I understand it is usually unhappy people that write reviews so my questions would be as tall pall sugests "Is there an average time to move up the ladder" and "Would you be able to put a career plan in place for myself" as I would not want to be stagnated in a role.

Thanks for all the tips by the way it has been a lot of help
 
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Soldato
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Would it be acceptable to mention I have noticed a few negative reviews based on "no clear progression/system" and that "they need to invest in better staff training" - but state I understand it is usually unhappy people that write reviews so my questions would be as tall pall sugests "Is there an average time to move up the ladder" and "Would you be able to put a career plan in place for myself" as I would not want to be stagnated in a role.

Thanks for all the tips by the way it has been a lot of help

Re: apprenticeships you're correct regarding grants but you just have to sell yourself as well as possible (ie what value you add compared to X) . I find if you're very enthusiastic and really sell yourself and interest to the role it will help. (even if cringey to do so!)

I would imagine most companies with a bit of googling will have some bad press so I wouldn't explicitly mention it.

If the main reasoning is training/progression I would press them on "what will my every day tasks be" "what progression is there in the role" "where can I expect to progress /have similar candidates progressed". An interview is 2 way and they should be trying to sell the role to the right people. Problem with that is they might oversell the role to you, so almost have to interrogate them!

Getting a 2:1 is important but difference between that and a 1st becomes less important. Having a good fundamental understanding is always good tho!
 
Associate
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Re: apprenticeships you're correct regarding grants but you just have to sell yourself as well as possible (ie what value you add compared to X) . I find if you're very enthusiastic and really sell yourself and interest to the role it will help. (even if cringey to do so!)

I would imagine most companies with a bit of googling will have some bad press so I wouldn't explicitly mention it.

If the main reasoning is training/progression I would press them on "what will my every day tasks be" "what progression is there in the role" "where can I expect to progress /have similar candidates progressed". An interview is 2 way and they should be trying to sell the role to the right people. Problem with that is they might oversell the role to you, so almost have to interrogate them!

Getting a 2:1 is important but difference between that and a 1st becomes less important. Having a good fundamental understanding is always good tho!


I got oversold in my current job trying to be honest and focusing more on my own pitcj. This time i will be looking to ensure it is as right for me as i am for them.

Thank you again your help it has been very valuable
 
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Worth attending the interview but I would walk away if you are not 98% satisfied with the answers and discussion about development opportunties - ask for tangible examples of how people have moved on from the equivalent role, about how they structure staff development plans, etc.
 
Associate
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Worth attending the interview but I would walk away if you are not 98% satisfied with the answers and discussion about development opportunties - ask for tangible examples of how people have moved on from the equivalent role, about how they structure staff development plans, etc.

Yeah I'm going to ask a lot of questions at the end thank you

My brother inlaw has the same job and his take home pay is 3k a month so you are being under paid

As a junior engineer with no experience?
 
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