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>The 1999 STC salary survey gives the median
>salary in my area of the country at $46,000 for technical writers, and the
>mean salary for writers my age or with my level of experience at about the
In my experience, this past year or so the salaries have gone kind of
nuts in many areas of the country, including the Boston area where I'm
living now. A 1999 STC survey is likely to be irrelevant at this point.
What I did in your situation in January was contact a trustworthy agency
(not always an oxymoron) that did both permanent and contract work, and
with whom I had a good relationship. I asked a recruiter there that I had
recently worked with to give me an idea of the current salary ranges for
someone with my experience, and he told me. (A smart recruiter will help
you here... you can steer all kinds of business her way after you take
your new job.) I then used that range for negotiation.
>This looks low to me, based on the hourly rate I was getting when I was
>contracting full-time as a technical writer (started at $30/hour in 1996
>and over the next couple of years bumped it up to $40/hour -- and these
>days I'd probably ask for $50/hour). The group of local tech writers I
>know seem to be in much the same range.
Taking your actual contracting income for last year (or this year,
extrapolated to the end) and adjusting it for benefits, taxes, etc. (by
anywhere from 25% to 35%, depending on whom you believe) should give you
an idea of comparable full-time income. Several years ago using that
formula, no company would come close to my contracting income for
full-time work, so I kept contracting. This year, full-time and adjusted
contract almost matched, so full-time work was a reasonable option...
Hope this is useful... good luck in your negotiations.