From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development

November 2021
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Job Offer: Salary Negotiation
Filed under: Job Offer (Situations)
Posted by: site admin @ 10:19 am

Hi Dan,  

Thank you very much for sending me the information on the career workshops.
 I will certainly talk to the people in the department and by next week I will let
you know what they say.

And yes indeed you answered my questions about the vacation.

Also, can you tell me if it is possible to negotiate the base salary with the organization?


One Response to “Job Offer: Salary Negotiation”

  1. site admin Says:

    Hi P,
    Thank you for the helpful reply.

    Career Workshops: Glad the summaries were what you sought. Just to complete the information, these workshops are arranged through the ACS Department of Career Management. The key person to speak with is Karen Dyson ((202)-872-4432).

    QUESTION:   Can one negotiate a base salary?

    This is a question of your “employment values,” [see Alan Sklover, ‘Sklover’s Working Wisdom, Issue #16 (2005)] supply-demand, the unique talent a person possesses, location in the country and risk-benefit.

    Employment Values:  Those aspects of professional employment you consider simply most valuable to you. They include: high compensation, reasonable hours/conditions of work, world travel, prestige, good benefits, creative outlet, absence of ‘politics’, doing the right thing, decision-making, personal role security, career stepping stone, mentoring, pension, independence, flexible work arrangements, family friendliness, vacation, excitement, challenge, novel/interesting, chance to learn

    Supply-demand: how many different people have the specific skills, experience and personal demeanor? How many people given some training and time could perform the tasks to meet the business need? A polymer material scientist is a high level skill yet, there are likely to be 50 recent grads who might fill the need.

    Unique talent: If a person was an inventor or a unique light absorbing and emitting diode made of low cost materials and understood the field. She might also understand the direction the market and where the science/technology were evolving. She would have a premium for certain positions. Her uniqueness might call for a premium. However, it might not show in the base salary. It would show more with performance that produced results and led to profits. There might also be in unusually competitive markets a sign-on bonus.

    Location in the country: The cost of living in various areas in the country are higher than others. Comapanies then provide a differential to offset the increase in costs for housing, transportation and normal living expenses.

    Risk-benefit: People who challenge the base salary, especially unreasonably, can face the offer to be withdrawn. Usually, well esablished companies do a thorough market analysis to provide a base salary offer to people they wish to work for them. They may have a range in their offer. However, it may be touchy to pose the question unless you have a strong alternative in hand.

    Side bar: Many companies are paying employees a base salary with bonuses and incentives. For example, my firm went bankrupt 5 years ago. It was sold more than once. There were limited chances for growth. They offered a series of bonuses and found some way to keep the base pay increasing close to the rate of inflation. When the number of employees decreased lower, some indivuduals were offered nice retention bonuses.

    Please remember salary is only one component of an overall compensation package. Identify what you and your family really need. Make sure the essential needs are met. Then, define what are ‘nice-to-have’ benefits and rank order them. The question is often related to understanding the immense value of a
    - cost free health insurance plan that provides preventative services,
    - chance for growth to a position of higher responsibility,
    - the commmitment to the community,
    - products of high value and use,
    - security in working for a company with a very good balance sheet and future and
    - working for a top tier company with many high quality people.

    Remember, you are looking to have good personal relationships with these people.
    Be mindful of having a strong position (i. e. an other position in hand) before discussing base salary.

    P , I hope this discussion has value for you.

    Regards, Dan

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