You’ve sent in the application, impressed in your interviews and received excellent references. The job is yours! Now all that’s left to do is agree on the salary. However, many jobseekers aren’t engaging in salary negotiations, which is often seeing them leaving money on the table. In fact, 58% of millennials do not negotiate their salary at job offer stage, due to either not knowing how to or being afraid of the consequences [1]. In contrast to this, 70% of employers expect to have to engage in salary negotiations, however they do not explicitly state that the initial offer is flexible [2]. Negotiating your salary is highly important for job seekers as not only does it line up your compensation for your upcoming role, it will also set the bar for your future roles.

So how can you receive the compensation you are satisfied with, while also ensuring your employer is happy with the outcome?

Know Your Worth – Build Your Case

It is important that when you are preparing for an interview, that you also prepare your salary expectations. If you are successful and receive the job offer, you need to have a salary figure in mind. In fact, research has shown that jobseekers who provide a specific salary figure as opposed to a generic range, are more likely to receive a final offer closer to their figure [3].  If the salary offered is in line with your expectations, great – there’s no need to negotiate. However, if this figure is less than what you expected, then you can begin building your case.

But how should you come up with your desired salary figure? 

  • Firstly identify your own education and experience in the field and align this with your suitability for the role.
  • Next, look at what others in the industry are earning
  • Finally, look at the size and location of the company you are applying for and look at what similar sized organisations are paying their employees. 

You can then come up with a realistic figure you are happy with accepting.

Our Top Tip

Make use of salary guides to identify what the current salary ranges in your industry. Check out our 2022 Salary Guide which has the latest salary insights of over 100 jobs across a number of different technical industries.

Don’t Focus Solely on Salary

When negotiating on salary, don’t just confine your thinking to the salary figure. You should take into account the value of the entire deal, including perks and benefits which often can be just as valuable to jobseekers as a higher salary figure. In fact, 60% of employees believe benefits and perks to be an important factor when choosing whether or not to accept a job offer [4]. Consider what benefits are valuable to you and incorporate these into your negotiations. For example, opportunities to work from home may provide you with a reduction in travel expenses and reduce your commute, allowing you more time for your personal life.

Our Top Tip

Identify what benefits are important to you and incorporate these into your salary negotiations. Be prepared to accept a lower salary which may have favourable benefits.

Set the right tone

Many people can feel that negotiation is a negative thing and can be full of tension. A lot of job seekers feel that their new employer will be resistant to negotiating or that asking for a higher salary will negatively affect their relationship with their future boss. However, it is important to remember that you have successfully made it through the interview process and been offered the job. Your employer wants you as part of their team and as such will be prepared to discuss your salary. Therefore, you should engage confidently in the process and be open and willing to discuss. Avoid coming across as defensive, cocky or arrogant, as this will ultimately affect your future relationship with your employer.

Our Top Tip

Conduct yourself in a manner which will both help you achieve the best outcome possible and also maintain a favourable relationship with your potential future employer

Practice Makes Perfect

Negotiation is a skill which doesn’t come naturally to many people and as such you must practice it if you want to improve. Finding someone to practice with, whether it be a friend, family member or ideally someone who is business savvy, will allow you to practice how you think the salary conversation will go and prepare for a number of scenarios which may arise. You can also brainstorm and prepare an approach which shows your enthusiasm for the role and openness to discussion. Running through your delivery a couple of times will help to put you at ease heading into negotiations. A common factor of successful negotiations is a negotiator who is confident and prepared.

Our Top Tip

Practice your salary negotiations with someone to develop your negotiation skills as well as receive feedback and overcome hesitancy about discussing money.

Conclusion

When negotiating your salary, keep in mind that you are playing the long game. Not only are you trying to obtain a salary which you are satisfied with, but also a role in which you will be satisfied in, so it’s important to take into account other factors such as opportunities for professional development and an adequate work-life balance. Research has shown that employee satisfaction stems more from company culture, prosperous career paths and other intrinsic rewards than it does from high salaries [5]. These factors therefore should also be taken into account and influence the salary figure you are aiming for, as we all know that a higher salary in a role where you have no satisfaction is not a sustainable way of working.

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