Salary negotiation moving from non-profit to for profit company?
December 4, 2013 12:11 PM   Subscribe

Hi everyone- I have a friend who is close to an offer at for-profit company in NYC, but his background is in non-profit. He wants to ask for a salary in the range that his research shows is a fair for his experience level and the industry standard. However, this amount is nearly $25,000 higher than his current non-profit salary, and he is afraid that revealing his salary history will not allow him to negotiate a fair rate. Does anyone have advice or has been through a similar transition themselves? Thank you in advance for your assistance. -FH
posted by Equiprimordial to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Everybody knows that Non-Profit and Profit industries are separate industries, even if they work in overlapping fields.

If asked for my current salary, I would state that my current salary is not reflective of the market rate of my work, and that part of the shift from the non-profit world is that I couldn't continue working below my market rate for the non-profit regardless of my personal commitment to their cause.

If pressed, I would probably state my salary. But I would make it clear that I am playing the field. The For-Profit company is competing against other For-Profit companies in my job search, not my current rate, which is understood to be below market. If they're offering me the position, they clearly think I have the skills for the job, and they should know other companies will also value those skills.
posted by politikitty at 12:24 PM on December 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

There's often a disparity when moving from one industry to another, and I don't think he needs to worry about it--though he should frame it appropriately--i.e., "per your request, I'm providing my most recent salary figures, though obviously this was in the non-profit context, which doesn't directly translate to the for-profit sphere. I look forward to hearing your offer on the for-profit scale." or something similar.

I had a similar conversation when I moved from a law firm in house, though that scaled in the opposite direction. I took a big pay cut, and I had to assure the employer that I wasn't going to demand a higher salary.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:24 PM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I transitioned from a large non-profit to a small business in NYC, to a considerably healthier salary. I don't know how much of a percentage that $25K represents, but it is common knowledge that non-profits lowball anyone who isn't on the board, or in upper management (or possibly sales, depending on the sort of non-profit it is) and are particularly miserly about raises. Most companies also know that people transitioning out of the non-profit sector are doing it exactly because non-profit work doesn't pay. In fact, it'd be a red flag to me if a company tried to use a non-profit salary to determine a salary in a for-profit company.
posted by griphus at 12:24 PM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I had this happen recently when I applied at my current company. They didn't ask for salary history when applying, and it didn't come up until the end of my interview. They asked what I was making at my last job and I basically said "well that's not really relevant because A, B, C, but I'm looking to make X-Y"
posted by radioamy at 1:19 PM on December 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Here in Australia, when I made the transition from the not-for-profit sector to the very-much-for-profit sector I did two things:

1. When asked, I lied outrageously about my salary - most people in the for-profit world have no idea about not-for-profit wages. I'm trying to get paid what my work is worth; I didn't owe them the truth (note, my exaggerations were realistic).

2. I never mentioned what I was on, only what I was expecting from the new job (note, I had done my research and had realistic and reasonable expectations of the salary).
posted by smoke at 1:28 PM on December 4, 2013

Works like a charm (and is often true, unfortunately): "I'm sorry, my current employment contract forbids me from disclosing my compensation."
posted by ripley_ at 1:35 PM on December 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Disclosing salary history enables a prospective employer to benchmark your resume. This is very important, and wholly relative -- if I was hiring an analyst out of scho who'd waited tables his senior year, I'd want to know his tips to know if he was working at a good restaurant, not because it affects his base salary offer from me.
posted by MattD at 3:43 PM on December 4, 2013

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