How Should You Approach Salary Negotiation?

Salary negotiation can be intimidating, whether you’re starting a new job or looking for a promotion in your current position.

According to the results of a survey, only 37% of employees attempted to negotiate their salary, while 18% reported never doing so. Most concerning, however, was the fact that 44% of respondents revealed that they had never discussed the possibility of a raise during their performance evaluations.

Many individuals may feel anxious when it comes to negotiating salary and may simply accept the initially proposed number without further inquiry. While understandable, it is important to remember that organisations usually offer a lower salary figure than what they are willing to pay, leaving some room for negotiation. Consequently, it is important to take advantage of this opportunity and not allow fear of negotiation to prevent one from securing a salary that is more commensurate with their qualifications.

Negotiating a salary with your employer can be intimidating and overwhelming. However, with the right guidance, you can approach the situation with confidence and come out with a successful outcome. This blog post provides practical advice to help you effectively negotiate your salary and ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.

Before beginning salary negotiations, research industry salary trends

In order to ensure that you receive compensation that reflects the value of your work, it is important to research the market rate for your position in your specific area prior to any job interviews. To assist you with this research, there are numerous platforms such as Payscale, Glassdoor, LinkedIn, and others available. Additionally, you may wish to seek advice from family and friends who are currently employed in your specific field.

Consider the entire package

It is imperative to always inquire about the employee benefits associated with your base salary. These can include insurance, additional leave, flexible work policies, paid vacations, bonuses, incentives, gifts, and other compensatory benefits. It is important to be aware of the potential extra rewards that can come with your job.

Use pauses to your advantage

When presented with the initial salary offer from the employer, it is advisable to pause before providing a response. Taking a moment to reflect on the offer provides the employer with an opportunity to either explain why they proposed the figure or to make a more attractive offer.

Consider other factors aside from basic compensation

When it comes to negotiating your salary, never accept the first offer. If Human Resources informs you that a given amount is the maximum basic pay for the position, consider requesting a sign-on bonus and/or a raise after six months instead of a yearly appraisal. If the employer denies your request, do not be discouraged; make sure to explain your rationale, and this approach may lead to more beneficial options such as increased flexibility in your working hours, improved health insurance, or a larger variable bonus.

During the salary negotiation, be specific about what you want

When drafting a counteroffer to the hiring manager, be sure to include a specific salary amount or range in your communication. This sends a clear message to the hiring manager that you understand the value of your skillset and have invested enough time in researching the market. Additionally, it demonstrates that you are confident in the worth of your work and are ready to negotiate a more rewarding remuneration package.
Furthermore, it is essential to ensure that your email regarding salary negotiation is precise and succinct. An overly long email from the candidate may give the impression that they are attempting to exaggerate their own worth.

Explain why you believe you are deserving of more

When making a counteroffer, it is important to confidently articulate the reasons why you believe you deserve a higher salary. Make sure to emphasise your abilities, expertise, and potential, being sure to maintain a level of modesty in your presentation. This is an opportunity to demonstrate the value that you bring to the company and how you can continue to make positive contributions to the organisation.
In your pay negotiation email, it is important to maintain a professional tone and avoid bringing up personal issues, such as student loans or living expenses. It is essential to remember that the recruiter is primarily focused on understanding how you can contribute to the overall success of the company, rather than how you can resolve any of your individual financial difficulties.

Address all of the issues at once

When engaging in negotiations regarding multiple aspects of the employment contract, such as compensation, job title, bonus, perks, and reimbursements, it is best to open up conversations about all of these topics simultaneously rather than addressing them one at a time. This approach allows the employer to gain a full understanding of the totality of the desired agreement.
Most importantly, quote a higher figure than you require to allow for a later surrender.

Allow yourself plenty of time

It is not advisable to instantly accept or decline an offer. Doing so can be a waste of funds that could have been yours if you had taken more time to consider the offer. Similarly, declining an offer too quickly can mean that you are missing out on additional benefits that could have been included in the final offer. Therefore, it is important to take your time and carefully consider any offer before making a final decision.
Above all, always request a written offer. No reasonable employer will refuse your written offer request. If they do, it’s a major red flag.

Example of Salary Negotiation

Assuming that the company has presented you with an informal verbal job offer which includes a starting salary of $50,000, it is important to remember that this figure is likely lower than what you anticipated based on your research. This number should be seen as a base for negotiations, as the employer has presumably proposed this lower amount with the intention of negotiating.

In this case, you can begin the negotiation by saying:

Employee: I am delighted to have been given this opportunity, and I am sure I will make a great addition to the team. With that in mind, I was wondering if it would be possible to consider a starting salary of $60,000, as this is the industry standard for this role. I am confident that I will be able to bring a great deal of value to the team, and I am sure that you will be very satisfied with what I can do.

It is likely that you may feel apprehensive when expressing this, however, remain composed. Do not worry about the potentiality of the offer being retracted; this occurs only rarely. During the discussions, the recruiting manager may attempt to dispute certain points.

Recruiting Manager: I am thrilled that you have expressed an interest in this position, and the team is eager to collaborate with you. Regarding the budget for this role, it has been set at fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

Employee: Despite being conscious of the current financial situation, I am still interested in becoming a member of your team. I am highly enthusiastic about this opportunity, however, I would like to ascertain if the sum of $60,000 is a reasonable starting salary for me based on my prior experience and proficiency.

Waiting to see what happens next can be unsettling right now. From here, the negotiation can go in two directions.

By saying something like this, the manager puts the final nail in the coffin.

Recruiting Manager: I apologise, but this is our final offer.

At the very least, you tried. However, in most cases, you’ll hear something along these lines.

Recruiting Manager: Okay, I’m not sure if this will work within our budget, but I’ll investigate. We’ll have an answer for you by tomorrow.

It’s possible that the hiring manager went back to the HR team for approval to negotiate a salary that’s more in line with your expectations.

Recruiting Manager: Given how much we all want you on our team, I was able to obtain clearance for a $55,000 starting salary. But that is the most we can offer.

At this point, you are free to make the final decision.

Conclusion

If you take the time to adhere to these guidelines, you will be duly rewarded. Salary negotiations can be an uncomfortable experience, however they are an essential component of a prosperous professional career. It is important to bear in mind that the primary reason employees fail to receive an appropriate salary is not because they lack the capacity to do so, but because they fail to express their expectations in terms of remuneration.

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