First Job Offer in Finance! ... but slight problem/concern

Backstory is here…

The Issue:

I first interviewed for a salaried full-time position as Equity Research Associate. After apparently making it to final two, they opted for the other guy. But, when I sent a sweet thank-you email to first lady I interviewed with (not an analyst, but some sort of advisory to ER department), she responded that I was a “strong candidate” and why don’t I complete another stock report for their Healthcare analyst who’s looking for someone on contract and then come in and meet him. I’m looking for my first opportunity in finance, so I didn’t ask any details about contract. Honestly speaking, if it were “no pay” I’d probably take the job for the opportunity alone. Anyway, I interviewed yesterday, it went really well. The lady called me after to offer contract (verbally, contract docs haven’t been sent yet) but the only concern is , the first analayst had told me in the interview that first year ER associates get paid between 60-80k with quarterly bonuses. She told me on phone first time associates are paid 40-60k with quarterly bonuses, so the offer was 40 k, 12 month contract. Of course I accepted, verbally, and am ok with that salary given my lack of experience etc, 100%. BUT a part of me wants to ask her about this issue, b/c I would hate to be pigeon-holed in this much lower bracket, supposing I get an extension, etc down the road.

Other thoughts:

I truly believe this contract position was created by the lady b/c she/they liked me and my prospects. There was no position open until I interviewed with them and they wanted to keep me (my 2 reports I did for them were pretty damn good, and looked professional, if i do say so myself haha). So naturally, I’m just happy to have the opportunity…FOR NOW. But should I still bring this issue to her attention. It’s a very material difference in salary, and I would hate to be 20k behind all my peers for the next 5 years etc…

Take it bro, you can revisit it after a year or so anyway. If they dont pay you up to par in the future can always move as you already have the experience. Good luck!

You shot yourself in the foot but can’t really go back on an accepted offer now without looking like a tool. Promise us all that you’ll never accept an offer on the spot again. Chaulk this up as a $20,000 life lesson.

Experience is the ticket to everything. Take it, do it for a short time, and spring to something else

If you don’t want it, can you provide me with an introduction?

I would ask about the ER associate told you. You could get pigeon-holed hard at that firm. Look to move to another firm in the near-term and ask for market this time.


thanks for all replies!

i understand this piece of advice, but the contrasting advice would be something along the lines of: you admitted to yourself that you would take the job for free given your lack of any experience in the field, and the network/opportunities that would open up from the position itself…now all of a sudden you’re negotiating for a 60k job having knowledge that this contract position was opened just for you??

not saying you’re wrong, just giving you an idea what the other side of my brain was telling me during call. to be honest i was just hoping it wouldn’t be an internship type of offer with next to no pay. i was relieved when she said 40-60…but then human nature took over and said, well now that i know you guys want me, why am i being paid 20 k less??

it was an ER analyst that told me this during first interview. would you have any suggestions on how I go about asking/inquiring?

“I just had one concern, as it relates to my future value, during my first interview __________ told me first year associates get paid between 60-80k here. I’m just a little concerned that I’ll get stuck a full pay-scale behind my peers as I progress” …??

WOn’t hurt to ask. Can’t say it will be pleasant to though.

Yeah I decided to not bring it up now.

I did ask about benefits again though. I brought this up on the phone and she said she’d have to talk to HR and she wasn’t sure (probably code for No, but let me stall you and hopefully you forget about it). She did tell me to ask away any questions I may have, so I sent her an email asking if she heard anything about benefits, and whether anything could be added to my base salary if there were in fact no benefits available to contracts.

I figure I’d be content if that base of 40 was bumped up a bit, for some sort of accommodation for benefits, and I’ll bite the bullet for a year and prove my worth to obtain a salary more in line with “par”, whether that is at this firm, or elsewhere, for my 2nd year in ER.

12 month contract means no benefits. Good move on asking for an add-on. Wouldn’t ask for a base bump at this point, you gave them your word and if there was no position open it may come off as ungrateful. IMO At least you get quarterly bonuses… though I’m not sure what that amounts to in this market at a boutique.

It’s a big win for you man. Just take it and work your ass off for one year. At that point your contract is up and you get to renegotiate with a whole lot more “value” to them vs now when you have no real work experience. They will hmm and they will haw about doubling your salary but if you’re really good they will want to keep you.

Next time go in with a full battle plan and contingencies all mapped out, take the lesson and be thankful it is only contractually one year long! Some offers at other firms in hand won’t hurt either if done correctly.


thanks for your detailed response, in both this thread and my original one. very much appreciated and i completely agree with your outlook/mindset.

hopefully they throw me a bit of a bone on top of the 40 to accomodate for the benefits, we’ll see. in any event, i’m excited to get to work! not excited to be downtown for 7am/up at 5am, but that’s a problem i’m happy to have. when i get a little cashflow going and move past 3 month probation i can look to rent closer to DT core.

^ Where are you living right now?

^^ east end of Scarborough re: benefits, full benefits after 3 month probation period. can’t complain. contract has been sent!

This is in Canada? Yeah, you should have pushed for more then. I pay my junior people nearly 2x that with full benefits, bonus and no probation. I figured this was small town USA with that salary range. In big city Canada that’s an unbelievable bargain for the company. Hustle in this role and then get out. You should be clear of $80k no problem in TO with two years in that spot. If you can find a new opening and they don’t ask about your previous pay (some risk there). Congrats on landing the role, now start working in the right direction to get paid for it a couple years out. You’ve done the hard part by getting in.

^ You’re in Calgary though, right? There’s a lot more competition in Toronto.

Woulda expected at least 65k for first year ER in Toront, non Big5. First year IB analysts at Big5 start in that range (obviously the bonus compensates nicely). Calgary is comp is wack but there’s also no job security.

Things must be different now then, or as mentioned above, maybe Toronto is different because of competition (I hear Toronto has highest concentration of CFAs or something), because I heard from buddy another first year ER associate is getting 50 base at another well known Toronto shop, mind you he figures his bonuses would be much bigger at that shop. But yeah, I’m completely content with it given I got no nibbles on other attempts at getting in (which sort of highlights how competitive it is). I really think most first year ER jobs are filled through networks or internally so someone like myself with zero finance work experience and little networks it’s close to impossible. @geo why you say 2 years? ideally after this 12 month contract my earning power would be much higher than what I’m making now.

Congrats on the job, SHoot!