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Salary Negotiation Help!

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
So I finally got a job offer in my new city-yay! But the offer is only a bit more than what I was making at my previous job in a cheaper city-boo! It's about 4% more than my previous salary, but my previous city had a lower cost of living. The hiring manager left me a message with the offer and said to call or email back. I was planning to email back but would love some tips on what to say in the email. I typically do negotiations over the phone but I thought emailing would probably be better.

For background, I have about 6 months of experience in the exact job (left my previous position because I moved) and about 2 years of total experience with the field. I am obviously not an expert, but that's more than most people who start this type of work. I also have several years of management experience, and will be responsible (with one other person at my same level) for managing 2 assistants.

I would love any tips on how to approach this and how to word my email! Thank you in advance!
 

Aoife

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
1,779
Some context would help. How big is the company? Did they offer any other incentives: hiring bonus, paid vacation, health benefits? I'm asking because depending on the size of the company, there might be more flexibility in negotiating the "extras" than there is in the starting salary.
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
It's at a university, so there are definite perks (free classes, lots of paid time off, etc.), but I doubt the benefits are negotiable for my position. Most likely all that's negotiable is the salary.
 

Aoife

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 23, 2010
Messages
1,779
A university is a whole different world, so I won't be much help, I'm afraid. Is it a state-funded uni? If so, salaries should be searchable, and if you could find out what people working in similar jobs are currently making there, it would at least give you a starting point for what is reasonable to ask for. Good luck, I hope the negotiations go well!
 

wannaBMrsH

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
1,049
First of all congrats on the offer!

I second the suggestion of looking up comparable salaries if it is a public university. This will give you an idea of negotiating room.
If you are already within range of what your new colleagues are making, then I would say to write a gracious acceptance e-mail.

If you are below what others are making in your position, then you have better room to negotiate. While I am not in academia, I know that unfortunately, there isn't much room for negotiation as the few jobs have very competitive applicants. I don't know what your salary range is, but I would not ask for more than 2-5% more depending on what your research turns up. The key is to ask for enough to make you happy, but not so much that they move the next most qualified candidate.

Good Luck and congrats again!
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
Thanks Aoife and Mrs.H! I wouldn't be a professor-this would be a staff position. The offer is in the posted range, but I always have to ask for more!

Do you think email is appropriate since the hiring manager said to email or call?
 

lliang_chi

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2008
Messages
3,740
Thing, First off: CONGRATS!!! :appl:

I'm not in HR or in academia, but for my taste, any kind of negotiation you should call rather than email. Email and arrange for a time to call, but do call them when you want to counter. 1) You cane make sure you're presenting the counter the way you want. 2) It's more personal than emailing.

Good luck.

Some tips to negotiating that I've used:
Always start with a positive: "I'm so excited about this offer, I can't wait to join your team. However..... "
You can straight out tell them you'd need to accommodate the increased expense of living in the new city.
What did you initially go into the interview asking for? Are you changing your number? If you're not then you should have some flex.
Find out the absolute least you will be willing to take

My history:
My current position gave me an offer the the SAME salary I was making in my previous company. Different industries (this is corporate, vs finance (old)).
I did the "I'm so excited, blah blah blah, except for the salary. I'm looking for $X." My X number was in the middle of the range I gave them during my interview process. The HR rep told me he was authorized to go to $X-3, so he had to go back and ask. I told him, "Look I really like everything about this, and if I got $X it would be an easy decision for me to take this position. I'll need to think about $X-3."

Hope this helps.

~LC
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
Thanks lliang_chi-that's very helpful! I never gave a salary range before the offer, so I think I have some wiggle room. The hiring manager is going back to HR (apparently HR determines pay there-it was the same at my last university), so fingers crossed!
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
5,765
I just went through the same thing. I got a job offer that was about 11% more than what I currently made. BUT I knew I was grossly underpaid at that job. I flat out asked if the salary was negotiable. I told them I was really hoping for about $3k more than what they had offered. They came back and said they couldn't offer me the higher amount because it would create inequity within the department. Fair enough. But at least I tried, you know?

You have to remember this- they WANT you. They made you a job offer. As much as you may want the job, they want you too. All they can say is no...it's not like they will rescind the job offer because you tried to negotiate.

I learned this lesson in my second job out of college. I was so excited about the offer that I accepted it without any negotiations. My boss and I quickly became friends, and at some point he said "I can't believe you accepted that offer, we were prepared to offer you $5k more." Um, thanks.
 

zoebartlett

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2006
Messages
12,450
How exciting to get an offer! Congratulations Thing2! I can't negotiate salary in my position, so I can't offer much help, but it looks like you got some great ideas. I was going to mention the increase in COL in your new city and how that could be a bargaining tool. When my husband's changed positions and was in negotiations with companies, he used that and he also looked online to see what his position was worth (salary.com, etc.). I'm not sure how reliable sites like that are for that type of information but it's worked in the past.
 

iheartscience

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
12,111
Thanks amc and Zoe!

amc-OUCH to your boss telling you that! A friend of mine just got a great offer for even more than she originally asked for, so she didn't counter, and is now kicking herself. Live and learn, I suppose!

Zoe-I don't mind negotiating, but sometimes I think it would be nice if everyone got paid the same thing based on their education and experience level. When I was a manager of a retail store I always hated not paying all the employees on the same level the same amount. But if they didn't ask, I couldn't give them more!
 

rockzilla

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 19, 2006
Messages
1,286
One thing I've learned is also to negotiate on total compensation, not just salary. This means to add in any bonuses you are currently getting /expected to get, as well as the value of any benefits. For example, if you were making a salary of $60k, annual bonus of $5k, stock grants of $5k, and health/dental worth $500 a month, your total annual compensation is $76k. You could easily (and truthfully) say to them, "My current total compensation is approximately $X, and given the increased cost of living in the area, it would be very difficult to give up my current position for less than $X + $10k."

The other thing I'd advise you on is that sometimes they don't have as much wiggle room on the salary or bonus, but can make a 1-time upfront payment for either a signing bonus or relocation amount as it may come out of a different budget such as recruiting. Do some homework, and see how much it would cost you to relocate to the new area (count in not just movers, but hotel while you are waiting for your stuff, rental car if necessary, etc.) Then make sure you ask for it POST-tax (e.g. it costs about $10k to do a cross country move, so they had to pay closer to $15k so it would come out post tax for me). Even if you are planning to move in a cheaper way (u-haul, friend's SUV) do the calculation for full-service, reputable movers.

PS As for the total compensation, don't forget it goes the other way as well -- universities often have generous benefits, and they may be able to help you with some kind of subsidized housing.
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
Can you do the online research to quantify the difference in cost of living? I think if you come armed with the facts you can make a good case. Example, "I'm incredibly excited about this position but ones thing that concerns me is the cost of living in X city. In old job/city I made $X and I've found that the cost of living in X city is X% higher so I wanted to see if there was any room to adjust the salary to the equivalent here"
 
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