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Old 05.06.2019, 21:21
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Salary Negotiation

Hello All,

I just had the first interview with ABB, not sure if there will be a second one, but still - I asked about the compensation and they told me their number, a range rather, that was a bit lower (~10K) than I had anticipated and had been advised of by a Swiss friend who is in the same industry. The question is - is it common to negotiate salary or one is expected to either accept or back off?
Maybe a silly question, but the last time I was accepted an offer it was a long time ago, in Canada, and I was fresh out of college.

Thank you,
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Old 05.06.2019, 22:23
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Re: Salary Negotiation

every company is different, of course you need to know negotiations tactics. Anyway, perhaps here is less common than in other countries.
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Old 05.06.2019, 23:27
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Re: Salary Negotiation

Don't ask don't get.
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Old 06.06.2019, 11:22
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Re: Salary Negotiation

If it gets to salary negotiations, you would have been accepted as the best candidate. You are the one they want. Thats not a bad position to be in.

It costs the company quite a bit of money to carry out this process. And you are the best.

You can always ask for a bit more. If you know what you want and they arent quite there, ask! I would consider the entire package, as maybe the salary is made up elsewhere. But if you want more, try and push that figure up a bit more.

The chances are they either agree or disagree with the new offer, but its highly unlikely they will say they found it rude you asked for a higher salary and will now go with their second choice (who may also ask for more)
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Old 06.06.2019, 12:16
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Re: Salary Negotiation

You have the opportunity to negotiate your salary now, so don't miss it.
Once you signed the contract, the number is fixed and your next salary review, if any, will be maybe just in one year from now.
So don't follow a plan like "I just get into the company now, even on a lower salary, and surely will get a pay rise later", that never works.
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Old 06.06.2019, 22:30
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Re: Salary Negotiation

My experience here is that you should negotiate but not expect to necessarily get all of what you want.

The salary ranges, at recruitment, are often set through a combination of market data, internal comparators and the available budget. Usually there isn't a blank cheque but there might be a small amount of wiggle room.

Some companies do use recruitment to bring salary bills down but they also need to consider their internal salary landscape.

So yes. Do your research to justify a higher salary that is more eloquent than "it's what my mate told me to expect" and try to get to a win:win, by showing some flexibility in your request for an increase if they can't go up (say) CHF 10K.
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Old 06.06.2019, 23:05
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Re: Salary Negotiation

Many thanks to all, I really appreciate your input.
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Old 07.06.2019, 10:19
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Re: Salary Negotiation

I work for large global engineering companies in Switzerland and I’ve been involved both in hiring and job hunting and I can tell you that unfortunately, there is no right answer. I’ve seen all sorts of things happen…

Here are some examples:
1. Companies recruiting from outside Switzerland and paying somewhat lower salaries because they believe that foreign candidates will take the salary offered and will not complain because they want to come to Switzerland.
2. Candidates naming what they want outside and above the salary range and getting it, because the company wants the candidate and the salary range was just an idea and not fixed.
3. Companies rejecting (very strong) candidates because the candidate wants a relatively small amount more than was offered and not being willing to budge.
4. Companies stopping the recruiting process because the salary the candidate requested at the beginning was so far out of the range that the recruiters and managers believed the candidate would not accept what was offered.

For you, I think this has a lot to do with how much you want the job, if you have other offers and how much you want to live in Switzerland. What I can tell you is that large global engineering companies in Switzerland do not give high raises. Unfortunately, once you are in, you are pretty much locked into your salary range (unless you are promoted). You’ll get the biggest raise by changing companies. But, on the flip side, there is a demand for experienced engineers in Switzerland and you should be able to find another job somewhat quickly.

One thing you can definitely do, after you get the offer, is to accept and say that you are really excited about the job, but the salary is a bit lower than you expected and ask if they can do anything. This almost certainly won’t offend them and who knows what could happen.
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Old 07.06.2019, 10:54
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Re: Salary Negotiation

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Hello All,

I just had the first interview with ABB, not sure if there will be a second one, but still - I asked about the compensation and they told me their number, a range rather, that was a bit lower (~10K) than I had anticipated and had been advised of by a Swiss friend who is in the same industry. The question is - is it common to negotiate salary or one is expected to either accept or back off?
Maybe a silly question, but the last time I was accepted an offer it was a long time ago, in Canada, and I was fresh out of college.

Thank you,
Usually negotiating works better if you have the freedom to set your number first.
But given that they made the first step, now go ahead and state to them that you expected offer+20k, and provide arguments why.
Then you will probably meet halfway (your anticipation offer+10k), or at least at offer+5k.
I found that works in many cases (both personal and 2nd hand).
Just make sure to have your arguments ready.
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Old 07.06.2019, 11:24
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Re: Salary Negotiation

If asking for more fixed salary does not meet success you might propose a performance based bonus. Worked for me once.
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Old 07.06.2019, 16:49
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Re: Salary Negotiation

I have always kept questions regarding salary on hold until the offer stage.

Talking about salary gives the impression of being just out for the money.

Someone else here indicated that one should consider the whole package - salary, pension, employer contribution, vacation leave, subsidies, trainings, advancement potential, travel opportunities, work environment, just to name a few - when accepting a job offer. I second that advice.

Consider reseaching salaries for similar job functions online (Glassdoor), or by networking with other ABB employees (via LinkedIn or face to face meetings).

If ABB make you an offer which is lower than your expectations, consider negotiating a salary review/ increase - based on your performance - in 6 months, which will get you closer to your expected level.

Rather than demand a higher salary, consider telling ABB that your salary expectations are based on your experience, your probable contributions to ABB and the local employment market. Ask ABB if they see your point or if they see things differently. Then try to come to an acceptable agreement together.

I usually try to come to a collaborative agreement with my future employer rather than negotiating a salary "win" for myself. You need to start your hopefully long professional relationship with your new employer on a good note.

I hope this helps.
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Old 07.06.2019, 20:26
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Re: Salary Negotiation

Swiss companies like to offer salaries that sound high to foreigners but are actually below market. It's a stupid strategy, probably thought up by some over paid consultant, because it ignores the fact that you will eventually find out that you are underpaid and will likely leave. Ignore the advice to renegotiate after you have joined and proved your worth. Salaries do not increase like they do in the US or UK, they tend to only really move when you get promoted or change jobs. For this reason the starting salary you negotiate is key. It will determine your bonus level and set the floor for future increases. Companies expect you to negotiate and if you don't you have no one but yourself to blame. And by the way, ABB won't give 2 you-know-whats about you when they need to trim their work force to boost profits and make their masters at Cevian happy :-D
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Old 07.06.2019, 20:56
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Re: Salary Negotiation

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Swiss companies like to offer salaries that sound high to foreigners but are actually below market. It's a stupid strategy, probably thought up by some over paid consultant, because it ignores the fact that you will eventually find out that you are underpaid and will likely leave. Ignore the advice to renegotiate after you have joined and proved your worth. Salaries do not increase like they do in the US or UK, they tend to only really move when you get promoted or change jobs. For this reason the starting salary you negotiate is key. It will determine your bonus level and set the floor for future increases. Companies expect you to negotiate and if you don't you have no one but yourself to blame. And by the way, ABB won't give 2 you-know-whats about you when they need to trim their work force to boost profits and make their masters at Cevian happy :-D
Thanks Brian. I guess the thing is to know what actually the market value is. According to one official source it is roughly 11K a month for someone like me taking age, experience, education, etc. into account. These guys told me their number and said it was "fair". I will of course negotiate and see what happens.
On a different note - I thought bonus was on top of the annual salary, but apparently, at ABB in any case, the 13th monthly payment IS the bonus. Is this how it usually is?
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Old 08.06.2019, 10:28
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Re: Salary Negotiation

No, usually the 13th is part of your annual salary and paid out at Christmas time. I think it's origin is to help with tax collection for those not paying tax through payroll but happy to be corrected on this.

A bonus should be in addition to your annual salary and given the salary you mentioned, likely to be +/- 10%.

Last edited by Cider Woman; 08.06.2019 at 12:54. Reason: Grammar :-(
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Old 08.06.2019, 11:40
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Re: Salary Negotiation

ABB is known to pay a bit less but offers better job security, more flexibility and less working time. A normal work week in CH has 42 hours, at ABB only 40. ABB has a bit more of a human face, than the typical corporate one where they squeeze employees for all they can.

I think salaries also take into account cost of living at company location, so in the boonies salaries are less than in the city.
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Old 08.06.2019, 13:15
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Re: Salary Negotiation

Salaries vary 10k easily depending on location alone and abb could be in a city or could be in the boonies.

I would look at yearly salary and then bonus is what you may or may nor get on top. Some companies do 13 months, others 12, whatever, yearly salary is the number, you're not living paycheck to paycheck with that money anyway.
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Old 26.06.2019, 07:55
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Re: Salary Negotiation

There are other reasons for having a job?

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Talking about salary gives the impression of being just out for the money.
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Old 26.06.2019, 08:02
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Re: Salary Negotiation

I'd negotiate as hard as common sense tells you that you can go, without hurting your budding relationship with the potential employer. On the other hand, I was in a search for a fairly senior position at ABB, and after the 1st interview, when we started talking money, their "budget" was some 20% lower than the minimum that I would expect for the position, and some 30% less than I was making at the time (this was not 6/8 months ago).
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Old 26.06.2019, 09:46
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Re: Salary Negotiation

I know a lot of ABB guys. If you are coming from a lower cost of living/ lower salary country they tend to offer lower salaries. Once here there is basically no salary review. 13 month pay is your salary basically divided into 13 not on top of your annual salary. They usually pay a bonus on top and that is very negotiable

So consider if the salary will work for you in the long term. Cost of living here is phenomenal- I have lived in some of the world’s most expensive cities and stil I am flabbergasted. You need to consider if you are on your own, where you plan to live (Baden?Zurich?). In Zurich I have friends living on 120kCHF comfortably but they are in cheaper apartments and are single.
We have a fairly high joint income (above 120k) and what with the cost of childcare, healthcare and rent we never have anything left at the end of the month. So evaluate carefully. But for anyone moving to an expensive country I always suggest negotiating as hard as you can. Good luck!
PS ABB has loads of salary info on glassdoor
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Old 26.06.2019, 18:10
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Re: Salary Negotiation

I would be careful and dig a bit further why your friend tells you it's a bit low.


In my career I have learned that pushing the salary up because you can is not the best thing. It is essential to know what are the salaries on your level in the organization. If you ask for the highest salary you ask for a hard times, people will know.


My first job turned to be a disaster. I have lost a good start and had to work hard few more years to get up. I was good, and I guess the corporation have seen that so they offered me a 30% more than the rest (which I didn't know at that time). It turned out I was hired for a low rank position, with a salary at the upper bound of the rank. At the yearly reviews I was receiving bad marks for an absurd reasons, whilst mediocre careless colleagues got the usual good scores. In the everyone around me got promoted in 2, 3 years but I didn't despite working hard. The work was great, atmosphere great, but I couldn't figure out why I was so unlucky in such a great environment. I got paranoid, nervous, suspicious and what not. I took some psychological help and slowly I realized that it even doesn't matter why it doesn't work just for me, it doesn't work and I should give up that one to save my career. Some time later I met one of my former bosses who also changed job. Informally he told me about the ranking and salary issue. I was just so unlucky that I was not hired for a higher rank. Everyone in the management know that but couldn't do anything.
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