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Old 23.04.2021, 09:39
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Recruitment at big pharma

Dear all,


Does big pharma (e.g. Novartis) really only give you one final offer after the interview process and it is basically take it or leave it?


I am currently working at a small pharma company (<100 employees) in BL for approx 2 years. When I applied there I had "normal" salary negotiations, meaning I made a counter offer and we met somewhere in the middle of it.


A couple of days ago I got the call from HR from a big pharma company that I have the job and they offer me a certain amount. (they asked no salary expectation during the intervie process) I promtly told them that my expected salary based on experience, education and therefore market value was higher. HR answered that they have people making sure that what they offer meets the external market value that I bring.


Anyway after 2 days I still came back with a counter offer and they rejected it. (approx 8% higher than what they offered).

Based on salarium the offert salary is at 93% of the median in that industry and my age + experience.



Is this the standard process for big pharma in Switzerland?


Thank you all for your comments.


Best

Tarr
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Old 23.04.2021, 10:52
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

Is it standard? No. You negotiated - and they didn't think it was worth it. It happens.
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Old 23.04.2021, 11:10
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

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Dear all,


Does big pharma (e.g. Novartis) really only give you one final offer after the interview process and it is basically take it or leave it?


I am currently working at a small pharma company (<100 employees) in BL for approx 2 years. When I applied there I had "normal" salary negotiations, meaning I made a counter offer and we met somewhere in the middle of it.


A couple of days ago I got the call from HR from a big pharma company that I have the job and they offer me a certain amount. (they asked no salary expectation during the intervie process) I promtly told them that my expected salary based on experience, education and therefore market value was higher. HR answered that they have people making sure that what they offer meets the external market value that I bring.


Anyway after 2 days I still came back with a counter offer and they rejected it. (approx 8% higher than what they offered).

Based on salarium the offert salary is at 93% of the median in that industry and my age + experience.



Is this the standard process for big pharma in Switzerland?


Thank you all for your comments.


Best

Tarr
Not only at Pharma... I also recently got an offer for a job I applied for and was told "this is the salary offer and it won't change and we are also factoring in future yearly salary increases.". Some companies define their salaries by benchmarking in line with industry standards and internal ranges of salary bands and don't get into negotiations... at least not unless you are really applying for jobs at a higher level.

I took the job even if it was a few % less than what I was expecting because it was a promotion and also represents a great opportunity for future career and personal progression. Starting a new role with getting into quibbles and potentially souring a fresh start over a few thousand here and there can sometimes be counter-productive if you take into account the bigger picture.

However, as always everyone's situations can be different and YMMV.
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Old 23.04.2021, 12:18
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

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Is this the standard process for big pharma in Switzerland?
Not unusual. It depends how much they like you and it's all part of negotiation. Figuratively, are your balls big enough to give them a final offer - it has to be X or I can't do it? Or to call the hiring manager and talk to them?

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I'd knock off 10% just for this
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Old 23.04.2021, 12:20
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

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i'd knock off 10% just for this :d
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Old 23.04.2021, 12:27
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

You have a job, so no hurry. I guess you did the right thing. There will be other offers to negotiate in the future.

But, this part sounds a bit weird. It has to be a really well defined and simple job where your performance has no effect in future business meaning no project management, no talking to customers, no sales...just doing what you're told to do and that's it.

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HR answered that they have people making sure that what they offer meets the external market value that I bring.
On the other hand, if they expect average, it's great to turn on the cruise control for a few years and just yield average.
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Old 23.04.2021, 12:32
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

I know a guy who used to work at Novartis in the team that calculated the salaries... so they're not 'negotiating'.. they're saying that's what they think the role is worth.

You only have the choice of taking it or saying 'it's that plus X% or I'm not coming'. They'll put your demand to the hiring manager who holds the budget and they'll then respond.

Good luck !
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Old 23.04.2021, 12:44
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

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On the other hand, if they expect average, it's great to turn on the cruise control for a few years and just yield average.
Yes, if you think you're undervalued then you adjust your performance accordingly and fit in just fine with all the others doing the same thing.

Some years ago there was some cost cutting and contract rates were reduced, so then was the productivity.
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Old 23.04.2021, 13:01
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

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Dear all,


Does big pharma (e.g. Novartis) really only give you one final offer after the interview process and it is basically take it or leave it?


I am currently working at a small pharma company (<100 employees) in BL for approx 2 years. When I applied there I had "normal" salary negotiations, meaning I made a counter offer and we met somewhere in the middle of it.


A couple of days ago I got the call from HR from a big pharma company that I have the job and they offer me a certain amount. (they asked no salary expectation during the intervie process) I promtly told them that my expected salary based on experience, education and therefore market value was higher. HR answered that they have people making sure that what they offer meets the external market value that I bring.


Anyway after 2 days I still came back with a counter offer and they rejected it. (approx 8% higher than what they offered).

Based on salarium the offert salary is at 93% of the median in that industry and my age + experience.



Is this the standard process for big pharma in Switzerland?


Thank you all for your comments.


Best

Tarr
All big companies have pay scales, they don't do individual negotiations, they offer what they thing a person at that level is worth to them and keeping in the market situation in mind. Sometimes an individual manager might be able to push it a little bit higher if they really like you, but not by 8%.

And remember that you are not their only bet, they will have at least two others waiting in the wings to take your place if it does not work out.
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Old 23.04.2021, 13:34
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

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All big companies have pay scales, they don't do individual negotiations,...
I was employed by various large companies 1990-2004, in a few countries. I always negotiated (except the first one).
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Old 23.04.2021, 14:43
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

It's ultimately dependent upon the marketplace (how difficult is it to find someone with your skills). Also Novartis is definitely NOT known for it's extravagant salaries.
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Old 23.04.2021, 15:27
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

I can provide an insight from the "other side", as someone who hires for a large company...

When I request a new resource, I give a grade to the recruitment team. That grade, dictates a salary band.

HR/recruitment then can negotiate within that band. If the candidate wants more they will say "no".

If the candidate then turns down the post (or threatens to do so), I'm asked if I can see the person in a higher grade - and if they I have a need for someone in a more senior position. This is sometimes constricted by the role (E.g. having someone more senior reporting to someone more junior doesn't make sense), other times by budgets, other times by whatever else...

The challenge we all face in hiring is there is a strong push downwards in salaries with nearshoring everything possible, while a strong push upwards for some harder to find skillsets...

So when benchmarking, you may compare two analyst roles - but one with a "commodity" skillset, and one with a "niche" skillset... and end up paying too much for one, and not getting the second...
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Old 23.04.2021, 16:27
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

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It's ultimately dependent upon the marketplace (how difficult is it to find someone with your skills). Also Novartis is definitely NOT known for it's extravagant salaries.
Back in early 2000, Novartis had a policy of paying above market rates in order to attract the best people. By 2004, that HR director had gone, that policy was reversed, and many of the people who were recruited 2000-2003 left pretty quickly, as it wasn't just the recruitment policy that changed for the worse...
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Old 23.04.2021, 18:54
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

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All big companies have pay scales, they don't do individual negotiations, they offer what they thing a person at that level is worth to them and keeping in the market situation in mind. Sometimes an individual manager might be able to push it a little bit higher if they really like you, but not by 8%.

And remember that you are not their only bet, they will have at least two others waiting in the wings to take your place if it does not work out.
You are contradicting yourself. There isn’t a single number per pay scale. It’s a band. The corporate title I have had a 90k wide band! Sadly 90k is more than an 8% difference. If you are being offered at the bottom of the band, you could easily be offered 8% more and be within band.
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Old 23.04.2021, 19:50
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

How much increase are they offering you versus current role? How many years experience do you have all together?
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Old 24.04.2021, 06:43
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

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Does big pharma (e.g. Novartis) really only give you one final offer after the interview process and it is basically take it or leave it?


A couple of days ago I got the call from HR from a big pharma company that I have the job and they offer me a certain amount. (they asked no salary expectation during the intervie process) I promtly told them that my expected salary based on experience, education and therefore market value was higher. HR answered that they have people making sure that what they offer meets the external market value that I bring.


Anyway after 2 days I still came back with a counter offer and they rejected it. (approx 8% higher than what they offered).

Based on salarium the offert salary is at 93% of the median in that industry and my age + experience.



Is this the standard process for big pharma in Switzerland?
Hi Tarr,

Novartis is notorious for the take it or leave it offer. Happens to many. They do their benchmarking and have salary bands across the various grades. They're also trying to increase the avg wage for women, so their metrics are entirely for them. They are a big company and have very standardized processes, especially in hiring. For better or worse. Also, you save them money for being local and they probably haven't compensated for no extra language lessons or relocation they'd pay otherwise. Anyway, they are non-negotiable offers, but the brilliance is knowing how to tow the line as an employee and make the most of it.

The best insight in your case for salary at Novartis, for example, you need to be comfortable with it at the start and that level you are offered. It will take years to make a considerable bump up. In fact, it may take >5-6 years before you get that 8% rise. So enjoy the position and salary you take because it won't change. The good news is that if you play it right, you'll make the most of a great role and make a better jump in 5-7 years than if you stay at the small company you are with now. That's what I did.

So don't forget all the benefits you get with the job offer including great projects, pension, and the work experience. In the end your career and income are yours to control.
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Old 24.04.2021, 07:19
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

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The best insight in your case for salary at Novartis, for example, you need to be comfortable with it at the start and that level you are offered. It will take years to make a considerable bump up. In fact, it may take >5-6 years before you get that 8% rise. So enjoy the position and salary you take because it won't change. The good news is that if you play it right, you'll make the most of a great role and make a better jump in 5-7 years than if you stay at the small company you are with now. That's what I did.

So don't forget all the benefits you get with the job offer including great projects, pension, and the work experience. In the end your career and income are yours to control.
Agree with all of this. Of course salary is important, money matters, but for me it's not the main driver behind a new role. In my case, turning down an offer that represents a great career opportunity and where I will get a ton of valuable experience, just because it's a few % less salary than I were expecting, would be extremely counter-productive. What matters more is getting to the next rung on the corporate ladder, putting yourself in a position of visibility and influence and then understanding where it can take you next.

Plus as you say, a good pension and benefits system goes a long way, not to mention flexible working, plenty of vacation and a good work life balance.
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Old 24.04.2021, 11:26
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

Thank you all for the comments,



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How much increase are they offering you versus current role? How many years experience do you have all together?

The offered salary would mean an increase of about 12% including bonus compared to the current salary. The point about benefits + pension is really good because this would also be better than at the moment.
The position as such would mean a little bit more responsibilities (basically more projects) than the current one. (Regarding experience I have 5 years in total, however 2.5 years in a lower position and 2.5 y in an equal position)






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The best insight in your case for salary at Novartis, for example, you need to be comfortable with it at the start and that level you are offered. It will take years to make a considerable bump up. In fact, it may take >5-6 years before you get that 8% rise. So enjoy the position and salary you take because it won't change. The good news is that if you play it right, you'll make the most of a great role and make a better jump in 5-7 years than if you stay at the small company you are with now. That's what I did.

So don't forget all the benefits you get with the job offer including great projects, pension, and the work experience. In the end your career and income are yours to control.

The offer would still be an increase in terms of salary + benefits and also in regard to more interesting projects, and further development.




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Old 24.04.2021, 14:17
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

If you get a 12% increase, better benefits and .ore responsibility then go for it!
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Old 24.04.2021, 14:45
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Re: Recruitment at big pharma

As others have said, this is more than you're currently getting, and at a higher rate of pay and benefits, so it's worth grabbing even if it's not as much more as you expected.

Enjoy the new job!
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