In partnership with Michael Page.
Many people don’t realise that the salary they’re offered along with a new role isn’t necessarily the final offer, but a starting point to negotiating the salary you want. The idea of asking for a higher figure is daunting, but it’s an expected part of the hiring process.
However, to negotiate your new salary from a position of strength, preparation is crucial. 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 – graciously.
Use the tips below to help negotiate your new salary with confidence:
Know your worth
It is critical to research what your role is worth before you begin negotiating your salary. Visit the Michael Page Salary Centre to find out the average range for your sector, location and experience. Scan similar jobs on job boards and LinkedIn, and talk to your Michael Page recruitment consultant and industry colleagues for advice on what people are earning in similar positions.
Remember that your role isn’t a ‘cost’ to the business so much as a means of creating value. What value will you bring to your role? How can you prove that you create this value? Consider your unique skillset and why it’s crucial to your new employer’s business objectives.
Make sure you also research the financial performance of the company, its recent staff movements and industry conditions. This will help you to better understand the company’s position and anticipate potential objections when negotiating your salary.
If you can speak to someone who works within the business already, they’ll be a great source of information. For a broader look at the industry, look to press coverage of economic drivers and outlook.
Determine your needs
Balance your research with your personal needs to determine a realistic salary range for negotiation. Decide on a figure that:
· You need to live on
· Allows you to save for the future or for a particular goal
· You would be satisfied with (the minimum you would accept)
· You would be delighted with (your ultimate goal)
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.
Watch your timing
Always wait for the potential employer to raise the topic of salary negotiation first, rather than bringing it up during the interview. If you wait until an offer has been made, you are then 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 previous salary – your new salary shouldn’t be based on a previous one but on the value that you can bring to the business. 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 – one of the benefits of moving jobs is to increase your salary package beyond what’s available in your current role.
Consider other options
Think about non-pay alternatives if the opportunity to negotiate salary is limited. Good negotiators will enter a meeting with a range of options.
Support for education and training, a car allowance, more annual leave or flexible working arrangements are potential alternatives to financial incentives. The job might offer a clear promotion path or the opportunity to review pay in three to six months, so make sure you consider these alternatives as part of your salary negotiation.
Increasing your take-home pay may be your ultimate goal, but it helps to be prepared to accept a compromise.
Get the best deal
Employers respect applicants who are hard but fair negotiators. Having the confidence to negotiate well for yourself shows the employer that you could bring these skills to the role, and strengthens their belief that you would be a valuable addition to the team.
However, if the budget simply doesn’t exist to increase the package on offer, it’s important to either gracefully decline the job offer, or to accept – but not to begrudge the lower amount. If the offer doesn’t meet expectations, you should either re-evaluate your expectations or continue your job search.
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