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Is it common to take a salary cut going from agency to an in-house role but total compensation is equivalent after bonus?

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Be careful with bonuses. They can be taken away more easily in a downturn than salary (check any offer letter for the details). I’ve seen it happen to people in sales and finance. And some of them were relying on them.

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^^^ correct. When i was negotiating my in-house role they kept telling me that my salary requirement was too high but the bonus would make up more than the difference. Guess who got zero bonus in 2020.

Depends where in-house, but yes, for a lot of them the salary is lower but total comp ends up being the same or higher. That being said, there are places like Spotify or Google that pay more than agency side by a lot, and some like Amazon who pay less.

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Also consider whether there are steady annual COL increases. While they are maybe small they tend to be more consistent vs agency side.

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That was my experience as well. People in this bowl have commented they made more going in house - I definitely did not.

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I’ve started the interview process for three comparable level “in-house” positions and dropped out as all were a decent amount less than what my current comp (which is appropriate agency market value).

Yeah that’s what I’ve seen. I have the same total comp as my good friend who went to one of our clients but more of hers is bonus-based.

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We have to be realistic about in-house. They're as varied as agencies. There are equally cheap or cheaper in-house places.

Recruiters will always look for something to hold over you so they don’t have to pay. “Oh you’re freelance? Well we’re offering stability and benefits” And if you’re coming from an agency, they’ll try to use the fact that it’s a client side position as a bargaining chip.

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