Why Newbie Engineers in Kenya Shouldn’t Settle for Less

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Here is why newbie engineers in Kenya should not accept meagre pay

The first mistake I made in my inaugural engineering job in Kenya was settling for less. No beginner should succumb to this costly error.

You see, many newbie engineers in Kenya think quoting low makes them more competitive. Others think they increase their chances of winning the interview by demanding low pay.

Those were exactly my thoughts. They are illusionary and only partly true.

Here is the fact for you to discover. An average interviewer knows a competent professional deserves better pay.

If your bid is too low pay, it raises questions about your belief in your competency and ability to deliver value in the new role.

This is why quoting a low bid is a mess you can’t afford in your engineering career.

One, realize that you’re a fresher engineer. An employee in your category may have to live on their starting salary for a year or so.

Why? It often takes time for a pay rise to come your way.

On the other hand, keep in mind that no engineering role is simple. There are times you’ll experience stress.

Often, you’ll work long hours. Recall also that you’re trying to meet expectations and to stand out from the crowd. Consequently, going to bed late will be your norm.

More importantly, think long-term. How much do you want to earn when you transition to a senior engineer in this company? What standards do you want to set?

Your answers to these questions should guide you through your negotiation table.

Don’t forget your starting salary determines how much you will eventually earn after the first pay rise. It happens as follows:

If you work honestly and truly deliver value to your company, your employer will surely consider a pay rise. Nevertheless, notice that your current salary is a consideration during renegotiation.

Let’s say you accepted 35k for your starting salary as a graduate engineer. It is almost impossible that your pay rise after 12 months will pull your pay slip from 35k to 70k monthly. Why?

First, know that you’re a “learner” rather than an expert engineer. So, mistakes will find you here and there. You may work hard to learn and fix them with time.

However, some of those mistakes may have had costly impacts on your company in addition to earning you negative reviews.

In short, errors eventually affect your manager and employer’s perception of your performance.

As a newbie engineer, I made some very costly faults that had significant financial effects on my company. It is usual for this to happen to anyone.

Newbies working under weak supervision and poor guidance will make many mistakes. The same argument goes for fresh engineers recruited to handle complex tasks for the first time

In many cases, your manager will understand you. But does the understanding take the responsibility away from you? No.

At the end of the year, your performance may not be perfect enough to justify a 100% rise in compensation in just a few months.

Secondly, many employers feel such a sudden pay rise might create hard-to-sustain expectations. Therefore, to avoid associated risks, companies shy away from increasing employees’ compensation by double digits.

Additionally, studies show the amount you earn determines your commitment level and attitude toward work.

Therefore, be careful; your meager quote may convince the employer to absorb you, but it could eventually demoralize you to the point of resigning.

In sum, here is my final advice to newbie engineers in Kenya from an experience point of view. It’s noble to understand your employer in their current situation. However, don’t be fooled to sell your service as if you earned your skills and knowledge for free.

If you feel less confident about your abilities as a graduate engineer or technician, secure yourself an internship with any of these engineering companies to strengthen your technical skills.

Denish Aloo

I'm a tech enthusiast with a deep-rooted passion for digital technology and an interest in entrepreneurship. I see endless business opportunities in the modern digital revolution.

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