Re: Salary Histories

Subject: Re: Salary Histories
From: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2010 17:32:51 -0500

It sounds to me like you're suggesting that a non-profit's initial offer is thus the absolute limit of what it's prepared to pay.

I've never entered a salary negotiation with the "conscious intent of refusing the offered position unless the compensation was raised to meet a previous salary or achieve some other applicant-defined level." I have, however, entered salary negotiations with the assumption that the employer will strive to get me as cheaply as possible, likely below market rate, while my intention is to strive to get a fair market rate for my services based on my skills and experience.

Employers have access to the same tools as I do for determining fair market rate (, etc.). However, they also often have access to other salary tools that are not available to us job seekers. Offer me compensation in line with an entry-level or junior technical writer and I'll start gathering my things together to head for the door.

Offer me compensation in the middle of the range of salaries for a senior technical writer and you've got my attention and I'd guess we can reach an agreement where we're both satisfied. Of course there are other things besides salary that I'm happy to take into consideration. If I don't have to make a daily 100-mile round-trip commute between my home and the office and you're willing to ratchet me into the second tier of benefits rather than the standard new-employee tier, I'm willing to accept a lower salary.

Of course much of this is hypothetical as very few senior-level technical writer positions open up... most staff position openings these days are either entry- or junior-level.

Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Technical Illustrator
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -

On 10/29/2010 4:49 PM, Michael L. Wyland wrote:
> To all:
> I agree; salary histories are often used by prospective employers to
> assess and limit compensation offers. My personal belief is that
> salary should always be listed a s"negotiable," since salary is one
> component of a total compensation package.
> I do a lot of work with nonprofit organizations, where Federal law
> mandates public disclosure of compensation for the CEO and CFO
> (regardless of their total compensation, as well as for any "highly
> compensated" person, regardless of job title.
> When recruiting for an executive position in a nonprofit
> organization, the applicant can easily determine what the position
> has paid. However, the nonprofit often has to guess at the salary
> requirements of the applicants. This results in awkward situations
> where the successful applicant is offered the position and then
> attempts to negotiate the compensation upward. It obtains that the
> applicant entered the application process with the conscious intent
> of refusing the offered position unless the compensation was raised
> to meet a previous salary or achieve some other applicant-defined level.
> As I said, salary history disclosure often works against
> applicants. However, in the nonprofit executive environment, it more
> often works against prospective employers.
> Michael L. Wyland

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Salary Histories: From: Michael L. Wyland

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