Author Topic: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)  (Read 12266 times)

EconDiva

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Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« on: February 08, 2014, 09:47:02 AM »
So I got a job offer withal big Pharma company that I'm very excited about. Would take me from ~60K to ~72K base + 7% cost sharing in December. The title is "Clinical Research Management Associate". They are a step below a Research Project Manager. I'm coming from a Research Coordinator role in a Hospital setting. 

The catch is, I have no clue if the salary is fair. I am usually very good researching this sort of thing but have been unable to find data on the salary this type of job pays...the ranges are all over the place.

Coincidentally, I got an email this week from a contracting company for a one year contract for the same exact position with the same company. Exact same title as my offer, exact same job description too. They are offering 61.50/hour for the contract position. This equates to ~124K/year.

??

Now I know contracts offer way more than perm positions, but that is a HUGE difference. Now I'm wondering if I should counter my offer...? And if so, by how much? I don't really have a basis to counter other than the contracting position. Or should I just take it as is? What is the likelihood if I counter by say 10K, that the company would just take their offer back altogether and not hire me? That's a risk I don't want to take....

curler

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2014, 09:56:54 AM »
Countering with something around 80K is not likely to get them to rescind the job offer.  Reasonable employer expect you to negotiate. While they may not play ball, that isn't something most places would withdrawal an offer over.  Yes, there may be some weird people out there that would take offense to negotiating, but if your potential boss is one of them, you probably don't want to work for them anyway.

KS

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2014, 10:23:28 AM »
Have you checked Glassdoor.com? Often can't find the exact position, but you can usually at least get a sense of what others make at the company in different levels and departments, especially since it's a big Pharma there should be a decent number of people who've posted their salaries on there.

Also, roughly where is the position located? I don't know much about that specific type of position but I think 60-72k would be low for that level of position in SF bay area where I live... I think regular Clinical Research Associates (the folks doing the testing in the lab, not managers) can make around that much here. But of course if you're in a lower cost of living area salaries could be accordingly reduced. If the same position is offering that much more for the contract, it does seem worthwhile to see if you can negotiate up a bit though!

EconDiva

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2014, 10:38:50 AM »
The job is located in Chicago.

Yes, I tried glassdoor, salary.com and Indeed.com.

The best info I got was one salary listing that exactly matched my title. It was the same company too, and the salary listed was $88K.

rocklebock

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2014, 12:22:14 PM »
Negotiate. It'll be a long time before you have such a strong bargaining position again, and the worst that can happen is they'll say no. Ask for more than you think you'll get in case they counter-offer. When I got my offer for my current job, I negotiated the salary up by $10k. All I had to do was ask. My SO recently got a job in a field related to yours and negotiated his salary up by $6k, again just by asking.

EconDiva

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2014, 12:38:52 PM »
Negotiate. It'll be a long time before you have such a strong bargaining position again, and the worst that can happen is they'll say no. Ask for more than you think you'll get in case they counter-offer. When I got my offer for my current job, I negotiated the salary up by $10k. All I had to do was ask. My SO recently got a job in a field related to yours and negotiated his salary up by $6k, again just by asking.

You're right. I think as females we are less likely to feel comfortable negotiating. I would like a minimum of 5K more. So should I go in asking for 10k more to get there in case they counter?

Also, I got the verbal offer last night. When they said I'd be getting an offer at $72K in writing Monday, I told them that sounded good and that I would be taking the offer and am excited for the opportunity to work with them.

Is it too late to negotiate after having said that? I was going to state something to the effect of 'while I am both grateful for the opportunity to work with xxx and eager to take this position, upon further consideration of the compensation package offered and comparable pay ranges for the same position both here and at competing organizations, I think a more reasonable salary would be xxx.  What can we do to get the base salary from $72K to xxx?'

Thoughts....?

rocklebock

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2014, 12:52:10 PM »
It's not official until you get the written offer and respond to it in writing. You could submit a counter-offer in a formal letter, but email would probably be fine. They'll either say the first offer letter is the best they can do, or they'll negotiate with you, which should end with them sending you a revised offer letter that you formally accept.

Yes, women are way less likely to negotiate their salaries (and a lot of other stuff), which is one of the reasons we tend to make less money for doing the same jobs. See Linda Babcock's Women Don't Ask.

jrhampt

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2014, 08:04:08 PM »
The best info I got was one salary listing that exactly matched my title. It was the same company too, and the salary listed was $88K.

So why wouldn't you want to shoot for at least $88k, then?  You might as for that and see what they say.

maryofdoom

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2014, 10:18:08 PM »
Ask a Manager (http://www.askamanager.org) just did a survey of all her readers about their salaries and locations (and other data, too). You can find the collected data linked in the post here: http://www.askamanager.org/2014/02/how-much-money-do-you-make-part-2.html

I only looked at the comparable titles for my own job, but there are about 2,000 data points in there, and you may find something that's close to where you are.

It is also possible to negotiate for things other than salary...for the new job that I started in January, I asked for them to add me to the 401K plan six months earlier than I normally would be allowed (they say they don't let you join until after you've been there a year, but I'm going to get signed up this July). Also for a few extra vacation days to cover things that I'd already planned to do this year. Maybe if you don't feel comfortable pushing back on the salary, you can push back on those other things.

justchristine

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #9 on: February 09, 2014, 05:07:18 AM »
There are a number of calculators online that will figure out a contract rate comparable to a salaried position.  They take into account the extra taxes contractors pay, vacation/sick time, 401k contributions...etc.  I'd play with one of them to see how different the pay really is.  My guess is that the contract position isn't really that much better.  Non monetary compensation can be a big portion of a total compensation package.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #10 on: February 09, 2014, 05:24:34 AM »
Negotiate...! all they can say is no. I have hired 100's if not thousands of employees over the years and would expect them to negotiate. Here is why. When you post a job you are looking for the best candidate out there and no matter how bad the economy might be at times is always seems difficult to find good employees.  This is always the number one topic amongst business owners for the most part. Secondly after years of experience your realize as the employer you still can be wrong so its better to try and get the best for the best price you can.  So most companies offers are just that , an initial offer.  As well even though as a business owner i don't like it when it happens to me see if you can be investigating the other job as well.

Blindsquirrel

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2014, 06:36:46 AM »
  Ask for more $$,  if they say no, point at what a contractor doing the same job would make.

EconDiva

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2014, 07:16:59 AM »
The best info I got was one salary listing that exactly matched my title. It was the same company too, and the salary listed was $88K.

So why wouldn't you want to shoot for at least $88k, then?  You might as for that and see what they say.

Well for one, I'm not sure I would want to rely just on that one salary quoted. If I had more examples to back it up it would seem more plausible.

Also, it seems a but unrealistically high. As in for someone who had experience performing in this role before, which I do not.  So I'm still thinking mid-high 70s is fair 'for me'.

another_hipster

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2014, 07:27:26 AM »
There are a number of calculators online that will figure out a contract rate comparable to a salaried position.  They take into account the extra taxes contractors pay, vacation/sick time, 401k contributions...etc.  I'd play with one of them to see how different the pay really is.  My guess is that the contract position isn't really that much better.  Non monetary compensation can be a big portion of a total compensation package.

+1. contractors are usually paid higher in my field than employees for exactly that reason- the employers don't have to sort out benefits, taxes, etc if you're just a contractor.

jrhampt

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2014, 07:49:58 AM »
The best info I got was one salary listing that exactly matched my title. It was the same company too, and the salary listed was $88K.

So why wouldn't you want to shoot for at least $88k, then?  You might as for that and see what they say.

Well for one, I'm not sure I would want to rely just on that one salary quoted. If I had more examples to back it up it would seem more plausible.

Also, it seems a but unrealistically high. As in for someone who had experience performing in this role before, which I do not.  So I'm still thinking mid-high 70s is fair 'for me'.

You have two data points from the same company and the same position, though - the contractor salary and $88k.  They are both higher than what you were offered.  I have no problem asking for 15% more than an initial offer (which in your case would be a counter of around $83k).  Then you hope they come up a bit and you end up somewhere in the middle - so maybe you settle on a 10% increase from their initial offer, which in your case would be high seventies.  I think it's at least worth a shot, especially with a large company. 

ZMonet

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2014, 08:12:53 AM »
If you don't ask, you'll always kick yourself.  What troubles you about asking?  That somehow you're not worth it?  If you devalue yourself, don't look for others to value you more. 

If nothing else, I'd lay out that you took the time (after the oral offer) to research the position and that you notice that others in the same or similar position make significantly more, including one person you saw making $88k for the same position, and therefore you are countering the offer at $88k.  Put it on them to come back and explain the difference or why they think you should be paid less.  This is your easiest/best chance to negotiate salary and, believe me, you'll be real ticked if your peers are making 15-20% more for you and they're doing just as good (or worse) job as you.

olivia

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2014, 08:56:19 AM »
If you don't ask, you'll always kick yourself.  What troubles you about asking?  That somehow you're not worth it?  If you devalue yourself, don't look for others to value you more. 

If nothing else, I'd lay out that you took the time (after the oral offer) to research the position and that you notice that others in the same or similar position make significantly more, including one person you saw making $88k for the same position, and therefore you are countering the offer at $88k.  Put it on them to come back and explain the difference or why they think you should be paid less.  This is your easiest/best chance to negotiate salary and, believe me, you'll be real ticked if your peers are making 15-20% more for you and they're doing just as good (or worse) job as you.

Ditto this.  I have negotiated at every job I've ever gotten, and they've never rescinded the job offer because I asked for more money!  I've just gotten more money, every single time, even if it was only 5% more.  It seems based on comps and the contract position salary that $72k is low. I would respond to their written offer (I assume it will be via email?) with an email that says something along the lines of the following:

"Thank you for the offer.  Based on my research of salaries in the field, as well as my experience, I think $88,000 is more appropriate."

The worst they can say is no, and it's very, very doubtful that they'll say no. 

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2014, 09:17:39 AM »
I've also negotiated salary/wage for every job I've had.  Every employer (except the the unionized shop) has come up.

Negotiate, for sure!

<- Female business owner

KS

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2014, 10:57:09 AM »
The best info I got was one salary listing that exactly matched my title. It was the same company too, and the salary listed was $88K.

So why wouldn't you want to shoot for at least $88k, then?  You might as for that and see what they say.

+1 to this... and I did see your later comment that you're worried you have less experience, but like someone else said you should shoot for it anyway and leave it up to them to counter that and explain their reasoning. (Since really, from a glassdoor listing you don't know much about the person who had the position at that salary. Maybe they had the same amount of experience as you! Or more experience but less of some other quality you possess.) Worst that can happen is they'll say no, but I'm betting they'll at least come up a bit from their low initial offer so it won't have been wasted effort. Most big companies have pretty strict guidelines in place for how much they can give as annual increases once you're in, so you don't want to lowball yourself in the beginning.

Very early in my career was in talks with a big pharma company for a job I was pretty sure I didn't want so I threw out a completely preposterous number (nearly 50% increase over my previous pay, for a very similar position) when they asked what salary I'd hope for, and they said they could make it happen! I would never have tried that if I wanted the job but it made me realize it can be worth asking, assuming the company hasn't already told you the salary is non-negotiable. I didn't end up taking that job since I was looking for career advancement more than money, but it still amazes me they said yes. I have not been that bold since then, but I do always try and negotiate at least a little.

MissPeach

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2014, 11:18:47 AM »
I would try to negotiate salary. Sometimes companies have more room to negotiate titles or bonuses than salary.

Another thing you can use as leverage is the idea of the total package. This is especially helpful if their benefits aren't strong. I had moved laterally from a company with awesome benefits to one with really sparse ones in the same city. I used that as a point in that I wanted to total package to be comparable.

Sunflower

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2014, 06:11:22 PM »
I would call when you do the negotiation and say something like "I'm still really excited about the offer, but after doing a more research about the position I think that 85K (or whatever) is a more appropriate salary."

Also see: http://www.askamanager.org/2014/02/should-you-ever-negotiate-salary-through-email.html

Sunflower

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EconDiva

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2014, 07:51:30 PM »
If you don't ask, you'll always kick yourself.  What troubles you about asking?  That somehow you're not worth it?  If you devalue yourself, don't look for others to value you more. 

If nothing else, I'd lay out that you took the time (after the oral offer) to research the position and that you notice that others in the same or similar position make significantly more, including one person you saw making $88k for the same position, and therefore you are countering the offer at $88k.  Put it on them to come back and explain the difference or why they think you should be paid less.  This is your easiest/best chance to negotiate salary and, believe me, you'll be real ticked if your peers are making 15-20% more for you and they're doing just as good (or worse) job as you.

Should I include the actual links to the pay ranges I found for the same positions that are paying more? Or would that be offensive?

EconDiva

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2014, 07:53:47 PM »
Ask a Manager (http://www.askamanager.org) just did a survey of all her readers about their salaries and locations (and other data, too). You can find the collected data linked in the post here: http://www.askamanager.org/2014/02/how-much-money-do-you-make-part-2.html

I only looked at the comparable titles for my own job, but there are about 2,000 data points in there, and you may find something that's close to where you are.

It is also possible to negotiate for things other than salary...for the new job that I started in January, I asked for them to add me to the 401K plan six months earlier than I normally would be allowed (they say they don't let you join until after you've been there a year, but I'm going to get signed up this July). Also for a few extra vacation days to cover things that I'd already planned to do this year. Maybe if you don't feel comfortable pushing back on the salary, you can push back on those other things.

It's all about the salary for me at this point in my life. The amount I accept right will have a big impact on how much I make going forward in the future I'm sure...

olivia

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #24 on: February 09, 2014, 09:14:17 PM »
If you don't ask, you'll always kick yourself.  What troubles you about asking?  That somehow you're not worth it?  If you devalue yourself, don't look for others to value you more. 

If nothing else, I'd lay out that you took the time (after the oral offer) to research the position and that you notice that others in the same or similar position make significantly more, including one person you saw making $88k for the same position, and therefore you are countering the offer at $88k.  Put it on them to come back and explain the difference or why they think you should be paid less.  This is your easiest/best chance to negotiate salary and, believe me, you'll be real ticked if your peers are making 15-20% more for you and they're doing just as good (or worse) job as you.

Should I include the actual links to the pay ranges I found for the same positions that are paying more? Or would that be offensive?

I wouldn't, that would come off as weird.  They likely have a set range for the position and will move within that range, so you don't need to back up your request with anything.  I've never been asked to provide data on why I should get paid more.  And if they do press you, you can tell them about the contract position salary and the posted salary, as well as your years of experience doing XYZ.

Kepler

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2014, 09:37:40 PM »
I understand it can feel weird to negotiate when the salary offer is substantially above what you've been making, but I second that it's well worth doing, and that a job offer is very unlikely to be retracted on the basis of negotiating.

My first experience with this came with a position I didn't intend to negotiate.  The manager told me on hiring that they 'really couldn't do more than [salary higher than anything I'd ever made in my life]', and that no one at the same rank in the organisation made more than what they were offering me.  What did I know?  I happily took the salary offered.  Fast-forward six months later, and the same manager was doing a handover so I could manage his position while he was on annual leave.  As an incidental part of the handover, we were going over a spreadsheet that included everyone's salaries - and, who'd a thunk it, others at the same rank were being paid more... :-P.  I didn't even have to say anything - just looked at him - and he stuttered that he'd get right on an amendment to my contract...

My next position - which I needed badly at the time I took it, and which pays well even at low levels, but which unfortunately I loathe...  I was already holding the position on a contract basis when they offered it to me on a permanent basis - along with a $1000/month reduction in salary.  A good portion of this was probably 'fair' given the difference in benefits and security for ongoing work - it was also in an area where ongoing positions are incredibly rare.  But frankly, I hated the job so much that I just wasn't going to do it for less takehome pay...  So I held out for the higher salary, and also insisted they remove the huge probationary period (two years!) that was attached to the original offer, but that they still pay for the extra credentialing that they normally only provide to probationary staff... 

Now, I really was seriously ready to walk (while it was hugely financially advantageous, there's still a significant part of me that wishes they'd said no...), so I'm not sure what I would have done if I'd actually wanted the role.  But the whole experience has made me hugely more aggressive in trying my luck - which, in the place I'm working now, has actually had a flow-on effect to other female staff, many of whom we're putting up with some pretty ridiculous contract clauses and default pay arrangements until I negotiated mine.  There's now a much more level gender playing field in this particular office as a result...

EconDiva

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2014, 10:04:48 AM »
So, an update for anyone interested...I ended up asking for $10K more and got $2.5K more.

 When I countered they called me, inquired where I got the numbers I countered from and I explained. They stated because I haven't worked in industry before, the numbers I had were likely for people who had and already had experience/exposure in the position I'm going to be taking.

 They explained the offer was fair and that they didn't think there was much, if any wiggle room. So in the end they came up a little and I'm actually okay with it because it's still more than the initial offer and it's fair enough considering my background to accept. Plus I do have to consider we get that 7% cost sharing in December, although I wasn't initialing considering that and was only keeping base salary in mind.

 So I think it all worked out 'okay' and I'm just glad that part is over with. This has been a learning experience though; although I've countered before in the past, I will definitely work on making my negotiation skills better going forward.

madgeylou

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #27 on: February 12, 2014, 10:16:51 AM »
good for you! $2.5K more is better than a poke in the eye, for sure!

EconDiva

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2014, 10:27:12 AM »
good for you! $2.5K more is better than a poke in the eye, for sure!

Haha...true lol

KS

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2014, 11:27:02 AM »
Good job, that's 2.5k more than you would've had if you hadn't negotiated! Nice to have that part over with, now you just get to go kick some butt in your new job! :)

rocklebock

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #30 on: February 12, 2014, 07:24:50 PM »
Nice work! You got a raise before you even started.

olivia

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Re: Job offer salary dilemma (big Pharma)
« Reply #31 on: February 13, 2014, 05:58:50 PM »
Congratulations!  So glad you went for it and got more!