I have been with my current employer for a bit over six years, and am looking to get out. I've had no career development, am grossly underpaid with minimal raises, and my department has taken Lean operations to such an extreme that it's created a toxic environment full of people on the edge of burnout. So I have been looking for something new.
I have an "offer" that is for a one year renewable temp contract with a large pharma company in my area. It will be a huge step up in pay, a great name to have on my resume, and would give me a lot more opportunities for career growth. But I would have zero benefits or security.
I know what the market average is for this job in my area (about 75% more than my current salary), and the recruiter says they pay contractors above the perm employee salary to account for the lack of benefits. But he says they want to extend an offer to me, that the pay range is so wide it's pretty meaningless, etc., clearly wanting the first number to come from me. Basically, putting all the risk on my end above what there already is going perm to temp.
The opportunity is good, and while there is a risk with the position being a renewable contract, the ability to pay down debts and save in case something goes bad are huge.
I am awful at negotiations, so I hope someone can help. I will only take this if they will exceed the market average for the role by at least 10% given the risk I'm taking on and additional expenses due to lack of benefits. But I can't help but feel they stance of "we want to make an offer, so give us a number" is a backdoor way to ask "how desperate are you really?"
How do I approach this? Should I ask for 20% above market average and hope they are willing to negotiate down to 10% or even 15%? Should I just say that because of the risk on my end, it really is not possible for me to negotiate without a fully-outlined offer on the table? Or can I split it and say 20% above average, but I'm open to revising that once I have a formal offer in front of me?