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I am working in academia as a Post-doc which always pays low as compared to my market value. A potential employer from an industrial position, before even taking my interview, asked my current salary and expected salary via email. I have an idea about the expected salary; however if I reveal my current salary, I am sure the employer may low-ball the salary later on. I would like to be careful at this stage as I haven't even been called for the interview.

Is it professional or too risky to mention about my situation that I am from academia and I am mentioning my expected salary based on my experience/education in combination with market trends?

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Is it professional or too risky to mention about my situation that I am from academia and I am mentioning my expected salary based on my experience/education in combination with market trends?

Give them your current salary and give them what you expect to make. If they low-ball you, then politely thank them for their time and move one. Any competent hiring manager would know that there is a discrepancy between academia salaries and private businesses. If they low-ball you it means they either don't know the market or they are cheap. Either of those cases is a company probably not worth working for.

The only other thing to add is to make sure that you research well your expected salary and make sure that it is in line with your actual market value.

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    Emphasis on "Any competent hiring manager would know that there is a discrepancy between academia salaries and private businesses.". – Mefitico Aug 7 at 17:48
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What sf02 said, with one difference: Tell them your current salary, tell them that academia pays peanuts, and tell them very confidently a salary range that you are looking for. If this is done confidently enough, then the hiring manager will know:

  1. Offering a salary below that range will be a waste of time.
  2. Offering a salary at the high end of the salary range will make you accept the offer immediately.
  3. Offering a salary at the low end of the salary range means you will not immediately reject the offer, but you will continue to look for something better, and only accept if you find nothing better.

Your offer will be accordingly, or no offer will be given.

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  • +1 to all of that, and also prepare good answers to tough questions about why they should pay you that much. You need something less abstract than "Because I'm worth it" and your answers need to highlight how much benefit you are bringing to them. – Justin Aug 9 at 11:20
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asked my current salary

That's none of their business and in may cases confidential information. If it's actually confidential (check your current contract) then just say so. If not you can "prefer not to disclose" "typical in academia for post docs of this field" or something like this.

The main reason for this question is to determine if their is a major disconnect between your current pay and their budget. Nobody is actively looking for a pay cut so it's typically a lower bound. If the budget is less, it's a non-starter. That's obviously not the case for you, so that should be ok.

and expected salary via email.

Give them a range that you already have in mind. Again, at the early stage it's mainly used to figure out whether your expectation and the budget are in the same ballpark. If not, everybody is just wasting time going forward.

I am sure the employer may low-ball the salary later on

Why are sure about this ? I have never low-balled a candidate since it's just not good practice. Hiring and on-boarding takes a lot of time and money, why would I run the risk of wasting all that effort over a few bucks a year. What's mostly the determining factor is compensation fairness. If I thought your skill/contribution would fit somewhere between Alice and Bob, that your offer will be somewhere in the range of what Alice and Bob are currently making.

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