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Asking about money appears to be a generation gap hot button

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Re: Asking about money appears to be a generation gap hot button

Postby D.X. » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:28 am

HI All,

In my experiences the compensation discussion is among the first questions asked, usually after a description of yourself and Brief discussion of the role, then HR or recruiter will then ask about salary expectations.

If not, then question of compenstion, should be asked by the candidate early one, provided the candidate understands what they're looking for. That way expectations are aligned.

I do think the Generation issue Dave speaks to, is going away, especially in Job rich countries like the US, and especially when you have experience. Yes in parents Generation, one didn't overtly talk salary or had negative views on those who asked about that up front, even vacation days - would put a candidate in negative light. So maybe that interviewer with silver hair one has to be a bit cautious.

As this is an international Forum, some of These views are different globally - in Europe vacation is important probably more Govt mandated by it is a part of those benefits discussions that can be had early and in China for example, that discussion of Money better happen early because in that market employees will and do jump fast for a measley 1 to 2% increase in salary, (to what Steve Z talks about) few will know unless one have worked with China market that employee turnover for this reason is high - and well puts us who work with that market in a difficult Management Situation (a newbie every 6 months). But that's China, not US or Europe. So some international insight.


As mentioned before, a Person at the Interface of academia and industry may not have so much salary negotiation power...but that's OK to take a lower salary just as I have done in the past, the value or weight at that Interface is experience. 2 years later or even less you'll be ok to start having compensation Goals that match you're expectations, snaped to a market value if possible (by your own Research and understanding).

Touching on Dave's Point and Steve Z's Points, the decision to stay or leave a Company is not just compensation, I call it a Quad-factor which is a Balance on 1. Team/Company Environment, 2. Individual Development, 3. Quality of Life 4. and lastly Compensation to include total benefits package.

All of those weighed together usually drive a Person to seek another Job externally, and if you want to apply weighting then usually the dominant factor is Team/Company Environment that will influence the other Points, not just Compensation package. And to be clear compensation package is not just salary - it can include say number of vacation days, or Pension fund matching, or the stock Options, other perks that other companies may not have.

To adovate Dave's Point those who are taking decisions solely based on Money well - probably not this audience.

Yes compensation is important, Yes one should have that discussion early as part of Setting expectations early, yes we all Need to pay bills and that's why we work, but put all that ino context of career - which at the end of the day is the path you Choose on how you were going to make a living, i.e. get paid...linked to something you're intersted in.

Best

DX

N.B. for the record, my first Chemistry internship (~5 month term) paid me 9$ an hour. I thought I was in heaven. 5 months later I was offer a Job at the firm at a Salary, and if you did the calculation, much higher than 9 bucks an hour (which I turned down due to lack of interest in Analytical Chemistry at the time). key message, we all got start some place - and here's a generational issue that seems to be going away but relvant - we all gotta pay our dues!!! Color me old.
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Re: Asking about money appears to be a generation gap hot button

Postby PG » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:56 am

If salary comes up early it is often in a more general setting ie either as a question from for example HR about the range that the candidate is expecting or from the candidate also about the range. Making sure that the Company and the candidate are in the same area regarding expectations can be useful.

However I dont want to have a detailed discussion about the exact salary and other compensations that we as a Company may offer until the end of the interview process. Thats when I have sufficient information to decide what I am willing to offer and the candidate knows how eager he or she is to get the job and what other values the company can provide.

Having said this salary is rarely an issue. It has never been an issue when I have changed jobs and I think that it has happened once that a person I interviewed said no due to that our offer was insufficient.
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Re: Asking about money appears to be a generation gap hot button

Postby Steven Z. » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:32 am

Dave Jensen wrote:Steven, that's not science specific. In the general population -- people who just go to work to earn a paycheck -- that would indeed be the #1 reason why people leave their jobs.

In the sciences and the arts, people don't leave for the same reasons.


Science is not some magical profession divorced from the principles of labor economics. Scientists have living expenses and bills to pay as well and often would like to have a family and reasonable standard of living. If you don't pay them a competitive wage they will go work for your competitor. If your competitors pay them badly as well they will migrate to a different professions. These aren't rural factory workers with no skill nor options.

Any company or HR person that believes their company is so awesome that their workers don't care about money had best get their heads out of their rears before they end up on the losing end of the talent war.

I agree that money is not the only concern especially for scientists but if I can be a scientist for company A and make $50k/year or B and make $100K you better believe I will consider jumping to company B. If I have a choice of being a Chemist for $15 an hour and contract with no benefits or an analyst for $60k and full benefits you better believe I will pick the analyst job even if it is boring and unrewarding because I didn't take an oath of poverty when I majored in science.

Finally as I stated before I would like to know that the company and I are not wasting each other's time before they put me through the wringer of a long hiring process when they are too deluded or poor to offer a competitive wage. Ask early or be ready to be gobsmacked when they offer you chicken feed.

The latest generation that lived through the recession has witnessed that companies are no longer too embarrassed to offer college educated skilled talent low wages. There are a lot of bottom feeders out there as evidenced by the explosion in temp/staffing.
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Re: Asking about money appears to be a generation gap hot button

Postby Nate W. » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:40 am

Steven Z. wrote:
Dave Jensen wrote:Steven, that's not science specific. In the general population -- people who just go to work to earn a paycheck -- that would indeed be the #1 reason why people leave their jobs.

In the sciences and the arts, people don't leave for the same reasons.


Science is not some magical profession divorced from the principles of labor economics. Scientists have living expenses and bills to pay as well and often would like to have a family and reasonable standard of living. If you don't pay them a competitive wage they will go work for your competitor. If your competitors pay them badly as well they will migrate to a different professions. These aren't rural factory workers with no skill nor options.

Any company or HR person that believes their company is so awesome that their workers don't care about money had best get their heads out of their rears before they end up on the losing end of the talent war.

I agree that money is not the only concern especially for scientists but if I can be a scientist for company A and make $50k/year or B and make $100K you better believe I will consider jumping to company B. If I have a choice of being a Chemist for $15 an hour and contract with no benefits or an analyst for $60k and full benefits you better believe I will pick the analyst job even if it is boring and unrewarding because I didn't take an oath of poverty when I majored in science.

Finally as I stated before I would like to know that the company and I are not wasting each other's time before they put me through the wringer of a long hiring process when they are too deluded or poor to offer a competitive wage. Ask early or be ready to be gobsmacked when they offer you chicken feed.

The latest generation that lived through the recession has witnessed that companies are no longer too embarrassed to offer college educated skilled talent low wages. There are a lot of bottom feeders out there as evidenced by the explosion in temp/staffing.



Steven,

You have to understand the economics of biotech and how technology gets developed from the University to the marketplace. Maybe this will help you understand why there is such a wide of variance of salaries for the same position at different companies. Most technologies commercialized by big Pharma or a large biotech gets its start in academic research and then an entrepreneur scientist with an angel investor or VC firm buys the technology or licenses technology to a group of investors who start a small company. The goal of this start-up is to develop the technology further for commercial use and then sell it to big Pharma who will manufacture and market the product. The founders and investors own an equity stack in this company and when bought out become quite wealthy. However, until they can show commercial and scientific potential, they are just burning through cash and sometimes they can run out (then everyone is out of a job and the investors lost all their money). So these start-ups companies are run on a shoe string budget even the CEO often does make a 100K. Remember most companies in the biotech sector fit into this category and often most companies don't make it. There is a considerable amount of M&A activity and failures in this sector when compared to other sectors.

Now if a start-up hits it big time with their technology, they can then often be run in a self-sustaining manner whereby they do the R&D and then manufacture and market the product. These are your mid cap biotechs or mid size private biotechs. However, they are rare. Most biotechs are start-ups that either fail or get bought out by big Pharma. Now, the question of income, these start-ups can't afford to compensate a scientist the same level of income that they would make from a large Pharma, large biotech, or a mid size biotech (Merck, Amgen, Exelixis, respectively). This is why an experienced scientist at ABC biotech in Omaha get paid 45K per year and the same person might be paid 125K working at Amgen (minus the cost of living difference). What I am saying is that an angel or VC backed start-up biotech is never going to compensate its employees the same as a publically traded company with strong earnings or a financially stable and self sustaining private company.

Steven, you have talked about temp agencies before and situations where a scientist was poorly compensated. Most likely, the temp agency was staffing a start-up biotech that was angel or VC backed. Also, remember temp agencies take their cut as well. In most situations where a scientist is poorly compensated; it is a start-up w/o a product to sell backed by a VC and this position was a non-management position w/o equity. I think most VCs would pay a higher salary but they can't afford it. So if you want a higher salary Steven don't deal with temp agencies and avoid start-ups. Deal mostly with publically traded companies with a strong earning per share growth and multiple products in its pipeline. If you are willing to stomach the risk and can get an equity stake in the company as well as share the vision and promise of the technology, a start-up can be quite rewarding both personally and financially; that's why some scientists take a lower salary for a start-up.

Read a book on biotech entrepreneurship and drug development.
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Re: Asking about money appears to be a generation gap hot button

Postby Nate W. » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:58 am

Steven,

I don't like temp agencies either; so avoid them and use it as a lead. Use the info from the agency to figure who their client is and then go present yourself to the company w/o a temp agency? Dear employer, I can save you some money on temp fees. I got a job this way. To the naysayers, it is a free market economy where employment is at will.
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Re: Asking about money appears to be a generation gap hot button

Postby Steven Z. » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:59 am

Actually the biggest users of temp agencies around here are the large corporations. The one I worked for was a fortune 50. Big pharma especially have entire agencies at their beck and call. There isn't a day I don't get some email about a low-ball temp job at Abbvie, Pfizer, or Baxter. The large companies like using temp agencies to do the dirty work of making low-ball offers, firing/laying off workers, not giving benefits. At least they let you know right off the bat that they pay chicken feed. A lot of the small ones don't like the markup and do the low-balling themselves.

For that reason you cannot go around the agency. The agency serves as a liability shield for the client. The client demands that buffer.

It really doesn't matter if you are a large corp or a startup. If you pay like crap you are unlikely to attract nor retain top talent for long. Yes, someone may roll the dice if they are given stock options but that won't last forever. Also, a lot of the time when a biotech gets bought the scientists get pink slips, not rich.
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Re: Asking about money appears to be a generation gap hot button

Postby E.K.L. » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:38 pm

D.X. wrote:
In my experiences the compensation discussion is among the first questions asked, usually after a description of yourself and Brief discussion of the role, then HR or recruiter will then ask about salary expectations.



That has been my experience as well, during the job interviews I've had, at various EU-based companies. Which makes me think this isn't as much a "generation gap" difference, but a work culture / location one.

For that reason I'd be hesitant about quoting (or following) any "Golden rules", without clarifying the context for which they apply. It is the same as with dating; the "do's and don'ts" of first dates can be very different, depends on whom and where you are dating.
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Re: Asking about money appears to be a generation gap hot button

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon Aug 14, 2017 12:47 pm

E.K.L. wrote:
D.X. wrote:
In my experiences the compensation discussion is among the first questions asked, usually after a description of yourself and Brief discussion of the role, then HR or recruiter will then ask about salary expectations.



That has been my experience as well, during the job interviews I've had, at various EU-based companies. Which makes me think this isn't as much a "generation gap" difference, but a work culture / location one.

For that reason I'd be hesitant about quoting (or following) any "Golden rules", without clarifying the context for which they apply. It is the same as with dating; the "do's and don'ts" of first dates can be very different, depends on whom and where you are dating.


Why risk alienating potential employers by asking too early about compensation? It's not just a golden rule, it goes back to the basics of negotiating. You let the other person bring up the subject first, and name a number. "He who speaks the first number loses" -- hey, that's fairly international, has nothing to do with the location or the generation, just plain common sense. You wait until they talk about money, and then you let them do the talking first. Makes sense from every perspective, no matter where you live or what your job goals are.

And you've got to be kidding me . . . there are cultures where you meet someone on a first date and immediately ask "How many children do you want to have?" I doubt that. I think that analogy holds up.

Dave
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Re: Asking about money appears to be a generation gap hot button

Postby Nate W. » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:33 pm

Steven Z. wrote:Actually the biggest users of temp agencies around here are the large corporations. The one I worked for was a fortune 50. Big pharma especially have entire agencies at their beck and call. There isn't a day I don't get some email about a low-ball temp job at Abbvie, Pfizer, or Baxter. The large companies like using temp agencies to do the dirty work of making low-ball offers, firing/laying off workers, not giving benefits. At least they let you know right off the bat that they pay chicken feed. A lot of the small ones don't like the markup and do the low-balling themselves.

For that reason you cannot go around the agency. The agency serves as a liability shield for the client. The client demands that buffer.

It really doesn't matter if you are a large corp or a startup. If you pay like crap you are unlikely to attract nor retain top talent for long. Yes, someone may roll the dice if they are given stock options but that won't last forever. Also, a lot of the time when a biotech gets bought the scientists get pink slips, not rich.


Steven, I thought you might say that. Yes, companies like GSK use temp agencies all the time in the RTP area (true elsewhere with big Pharma) but on average direct hires are paid more than the same position at a VC backed start-up. Most of these positions were for temp projects or mothers taking maternity leave.


If you don't value your worth, yes there will always be someone there to take advantage of your labor. Further, there are leaches out there that know there is a glut of scientists often foreign born that will not stand their ground in a salary negotiation and accept anything offered especially coming out of academia where the compensation is suppose to be a stipend not a livable wage. We can't do anything about the leaches that offer $15 per hour wage for a PhD scientist; why let a bunch of former HR tarts in a temp agency get the best of you? Just don't deal with them. They profit by you not standing up for what you deserve and you not knowing what you are worth in the marketplace; the temp agency gets the difference between what you should be getting (i.e. your fair market wage for a direct hire at a big Pharma) and what they offered you. Do you think they deserve this profit margin? Yeah, I thought so. This is why I don't like temp agencies; do these temp agency deserve that extra money for shuffling paperwork (off my back and sweat).

Like I said, there are ways around this and most of the wage inequalities you cite involve start-up salaries in comparison to what is offered at larger publically traded companies. If you don't believe this, ask yourself where do you think you are more likely to be compensated more competitively: a profitable growing company with several products in the market or a company losing money w/o any products in the market.

Remember it is up to you to figure out what you are worth and to maximize the value of your expertise in what ever capacity that interests you. Because there is always a leach or snake oil salesman ready to take advantage of your labor if you don't stand-up for yourself (or sell yourself short financially). Not everyone is honest in this world; don't be so gullible and then blame the world when you don't get what you think you deserve. If it is money you want, figure out a way and position that values monetarily your expertise.

PS: When an organization has more money (for what ever reason, most likely strong profits), they are more likely to pay you more. This is why you have sectaries at Intel with stock options and a six figure income versus sectaries that work at the University for peanuts.
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Re: Asking about money appears to be a generation gap hot button

Postby Nate W. » Mon Aug 14, 2017 7:07 pm

Dave Jensen wrote:
E.K.L. wrote:
D.X. wrote:
In my experiences the compensation discussion is among the first questions asked, usually after a description of yourself and Brief discussion of the role, then HR or recruiter will then ask about salary expectations.



That has been my experience as well, during the job interviews I've had, at various EU-based companies. Which makes me think this isn't as much a "generation gap" difference, but a work culture / location one.

For that reason I'd be hesitant about quoting (or following) any "Golden rules", without clarifying the context for which they apply. It is the same as with dating; the "do's and don'ts" of first dates can be very different, depends on whom and where you are dating.


Why risk alienating potential employers by asking too early about compensation? It's not just a golden rule, it goes back to the basics of negotiating. You let the other person bring up the subject first, and name a number. "He who speaks the first number loses" -- hey, that's fairly international, has nothing to do with the location or the generation, just plain common sense. You wait until they talk about money, and then you let them do the talking first. Makes sense from every perspective, no matter where you live or what your job goals are.

And you've got to be kidding me . . . there are cultures where you meet someone on a first date and immediately ask "How many children do you want to have?" I doubt that. I think that analogy holds up.

Dave


Wait minute aren't there some companies that insist on knowing a candidate's compensation before even considering an applicant's candidacy. Three times this has happened to me; I scheduled a meeting with a HR internal recruiter and one of the first questions they ask is what do you make currently. Regards of how I answer this question, they would not take anything less than an exact number. Two recruiters even raised their voices at me when I didn't give them an answer and then they eventually hung up. It makes absolutely no sense why they need to know my current salary or expectations before an offer has been extended (or at least post a salary range or offer one up a range if a prospective candidate doesn't answer the question). I don't even know if I am qualified for the job unless I see the job specs in detail and talk with the manager-----this HR thinking is silly and obtuse.

What do they teach these professionals in HR school?

Frankly, when a HR recruiter is adamant about knowing my salary history before the interview; it comes across as rude and hypocritical. It sends a message that we can't afford you so we want to strong arm you in a salary negotiation to get a deal. Leave the hiring decisions and salary talks between the candidate and the supervisor!!! This is why I sometimes find HR clueless and in need of some business related lessons, like professional courtesy, networking, and salary negotiations.

This is part of reason I network the way I do.

Dave, what do you do with these companies or how do address an adamant HR recruiter asking about current salary or expectations?
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