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How to negotiate the salary you want
Knowing how to negotiate a salary increase from a position of strength is no easy feat.
To negotiate pay successfully, you must have clear and realistic expectations of what your skills and experience are worth, and be prepared to ask your potential employer for what you want.
Still getting your head wrapped around the salary negotiation process? Use the tips below to help negotiate your new salary with confidence:
Know your worth in the jobs market
Before you talk salary negotiations during the interview process, it’s important to research what your role and skills are currently worth in the broader market, to help you backup your argument for a pay rise and give you the best chance of success.
Start by reviewing the Michael Page Salary Benchmark 2019 Report to find out the average salary range for your sector, location and experience. It’s also a good idea to research identical or comparable roles on the internet, and talk to your Michael Page recruitment consultant and industry colleagues for advice on what people are earning in similar positions.
If you’re negotiating a new salary in an existing role, remember that you can bring copies of salary benchmarks and comparable job salaries along with you to the salary negotiation meeting. The more evidence you have to prove your worth, the better position you’ll be in to secure the salary you deserve.
Research the company’s performance
Make sure to also research the financial performance of the company, its recent staff movements and industry conditions where you can. This will help you to better understand the company’s position and anticipate potential objections when negotiating your salary during the interview process.
If you’re aiming for a salary increase at your current company, keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for organisations with tight financial conditions to limit the amount of pay rises they’re willing to hand out, or to implement freezes on pay rises. If this is the case at your company and you expect a salary increase sooner rather than later, it could be wise to start searching for a new job.
Determine your salary needs
Balance your research with your personal needs to determine a realistic salary range for your pay rise negotiation. Consider the following factors:
- The basic salary you need to live off
- How much you would be satisfied with (the minimum salary increase you would accept)
- The salary you would be delighted with (your ultimate pay rise goal, taking into account your realistic market worth)
The last two figures comprise the salary range for which you should aim. You should always start negotiations at the higher end to allow room for negotiation.
Choose the right time for salary negotiations
If you’re interviewing for a new job, always wait for the potential employer to raise the topic of salary negotiation first. You are in the ideal position to negotiate salary when the employer has offered you the role, is hopeful of employing you and has suggested a figure first.
If you are asked about your salary expectations, tell the interviewer you would like to know more about the role first. Avoid divulging your last salary; instead, tell them what you believe you are realistically worth based on your research, skills and experience. This may be a different figure to what you were earning in your last job.
When negotiating a new salary in a current role, it’s a good idea to set up a meeting to discuss pay when your manager has plenty of time to focus on the matter on hand – so avoid his or her busiest times of the week, and also give yourself plenty of time to prepare and practice.
Consider non-monetary job incentives
Good negotiators will enter a meeting with a range of options in mind. Think about non-pay alternatives that would be valuable to you if the opportunity to negotiate salary is limited. Support for education and training, alternative working arrangements or flexible hours are potential alternatives to financial incentives that could help you achieve the work-life balance you want and/or long-term career progression in lieu of immediate financial satisfaction.
For example, the job might offer a clear promotion path or the opportunity to review pay in three to six months, so make sure you consider as well as ask about these possible alternatives as part of your salary negotiation.
Make pay negotiations work for you
Employers respect applicants who are hard but fair negotiators. Having the confidence to negotiate well shows your employer you can bring these skills to the role, and also strengthens their belief that you will be a valuable addition to the team.
Above all, you are responsible for advocating for yourself during salary negotiations. Equipping yourself with the knowledge you need to prove your value will put you in a good position to secure the salary you want.