That is very low. I have worked in the LA and SD area and for junior you should be at 40k starting. Lots of over time should get you a little more. Did they pay for relocation? If you like your projects and company that can mean something to.
Just be careful with those salary calculators. Sometimes they can be ridiculously high. Are you struggling to live right now? How much would it cost you to live safely (not the same as comfortably). Use that as a starting point for you negotiations.
Good negotiating information found in 51’s links. Take the time to read through it.
Good points to understand…
What is your power over the other side of the table?
Business climate factors
Overall state of the economy and the industry in which you compete
Overall unemployment rate and the general employment picture
Demand for industry- and profession-specific knowledge and skills
Position in the business cycle (startup, growing, stable, turnaround)
Hiring manager factors
Urgency of the company’s need to fill the position
Other opportunities in the job offer
Technical expertise, unique knowledge/skill set
Resources (financial depth, networks, etc.)
Level of competition/availability of other candidates
Career risk of the job offer
California’s economy is in the dumpster right now and unemployment is still over 11% so you will more than likely meet with stiff resistance to a pay raise, especially in a “small shop”. Everyone wants to be a “California Designer” it would seem. $30K is low, very low. Do you have any additional benefits?
Keep in mind that any negotiation has to be a win-win. Your employer needs to understand why paying you more is going to be a good thing, so you’d better do your homework (what have I accomplished; what are my responsibilities now vs. when I was originally hired; do I take the initiative and seek greater responsibilities (or do I just accept work directed to me). It may turn out that this first job is a learning experience in more than “design” and that the next time you seek a position you will have a better understanding of how to negotiate (and what you need). Not that you can spend that at the grocery right now… . .
this is really a difficult situation. Generally speaking…
your group will have a budget for staff, your boss will have spent time calculating daily to yearly costs for all staff in the group and discussed or submitted to management or owner(s) or whatever the chain of command is. Therefore they are operating on a somewhat known fixed salary-cost basis. Changes to this are very concerning to the managment and / or owner(s). In the case of a new potential big project, can they hire enough new designers to do the job; in the case of you asking your boss for more salary, where is the extra money going to come from?
There is most likely a valid reason why they started you at $30k junior designer, assuming it is a good company with reasonable management and owner(s). If you do request increase be prepared to negotiate, i.e. get less than you request, some increase now but no more for 2 years, giving up any bonus if your company gives them, or something like that. Unfortunately for you, junior designers are easy to replace, so reasonable negotiation is the only way.
thing is that they sponsored me for a working visa since i am not a us citizen. Even though they only paid less than 50% of the total cost they are expecting me to stay longer. I got my visa just last week and hoping to have a talk about this after the trade show ends next week.
no i didn’t sign any form of employee agreement which i think is weird… shouldn’t i have already signed one? or is it good that i haven’t had one yet? hm… visa costed me about $3,600. I paid $2,000 and my employer paid the rest. Good thing at least i got the visa now. otherwise it could have been more difficult…
The economy sucks, and in a city as huge as LA, I’m sure there’s a lot of people who are out of work and would be glad to have 30k + benefits. Keep in mind health insurance is easily like 5k a year now. I think 30k is a bit low for such a large city though… I’d expect that more in the midwest… but not on the costs.