From applications to interviews, jobhunting can be a nerve-wracking process. Then, just when you get an offer and should be able to relax comes the trickiest bit of all: salary negotiations.
Lots of people find negotiating their salary tricky, for a variety of reasons. But, with those changing jobs achieving a salary increase of 14.8% on average (much higher than average wage growth), if you don’t negotiate your salary, you may regret it.
We’ve found 6 top tips to help you negotiate your pay with confidence.
1. See what other companies are paying
When you’re trying to work out what a fair salary or wages is for a job you’ve been offered, knowing what other companies pay people in similar roles can help you start your negotiations at the right sort of number. The LinkedIn salary tool is great for this, as is Glassdoor, where employees anonymously share their salaries, and review the companies they work for. You may even be able to check salaries at your new company to see what other people in the role you’ll be doing are paid.
It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that the salaries on offer can vary depending on the industry or sector you’re aiming to work in. They can also vary depending on where you are in the country. It’s best to check what’s on offer for similar roles at similar companies as well as for roles in your area, so that you can get the most accurate sense of what fair, competitive pay for this position is.
2. Set your expectations
Sometimes when you’re speaking to a hiring manager, they’ll ask you about your current pay and other benefits and use that as the basis of their offer to you. However, if part of your motivation to find a new job is feeling underpaid, then an offer that’s on par with your current package, or only a little bit better, may not cut the mustard!
While it’s important to be honest about your current or previous salary information, it’s also important to set your expectations up front to avoid being given an offer you don’t feel you can accept. Use your research on what a competitive rate of pay is for this position to help you build your case
3. Consider other perks
Job offers these days increasingly come with a full compensation package rather than just a salary and a holiday allowance. The offer you’re given may also include extra paid time off like wellbeing days, financial benefits like a pension scheme, bonus or shares in the company, and sometimes even wellbeing perks like paid-for gym memberships or private healthcare. The cost of these perks and benefits can add thousands of pounds to the value of your overall compensation package.
Considering the benefits and perks that are part of your job offer is well worth doing when you think about negotiations. After all, a lower salary that’s part of a package with a lot of valuable benefits could turn out to be better overall than a higher salary with no perks!
4. Aim high
“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” This is one of our favourite quotes, and it works particularly well with this aspect of salary negotiations!
When you research what a fair salary should be for your role, you’ll likely come up with a few numbers ranging from low to high. When you tell your new employer what salary you’d like, it can be tempting to aim somewhere in the middle. This approach avoids both selling yourself short, and risking asking for too much. However, there’s a good chance your employer will haggle you down a bit. So, if you aim high and “shoot for the moon”, then even with a bit of haggling, you’re more likely to “land among the stars” with a salary you’re happy with.
5. Practice, practice, practice
Whether this is the first time you’ll have negotiated your salary or you’ve done it a number of times before, it always helps to have a practice run of the conversation you’ll have with your new employer. You can do this by yourself, practicing what you’re going to say in front of the mirror to make sure you project confidence and professionalism. Or, you can do it with someone else – a trusted friend or mentor who can play the hiring manager authentically while you play yourself. By doing this, you can experience the back and forth, learn to anticipate the types of questions they may ask you and grow accustomed to answering unexpected or uncomfortable questions. Then, when the real conversation happens, you’ll be able to do it confidently.
6. Remember, it’s OK to walk away!
A bit of back and forth finalising the details of your job offer is normal. But, sometimes it becomes apparent that you and your prospective new employer simply aren’t on the same page about what your salary and package should be. Thankfully this is unusual, because the first time you discuss salary expectations is rarely at the point you’re offered the job. However, if you find yourself in this situation, it can often be better to walk away from the offer and continue your job hunt than to keep trying to negotiate. Prolonged negotiations can become frustrating for both you and the company, and can sour your relationship before it’s even started.
That said, it can still be difficult to know exactly when to draw a line in the sand and walk away. Particularly if the role is one you’re really excited for, it can be tempting to accept a low salary simply to be able to do the job. These pointers could be a sign that it’s time to turn down the offer:
- If the salary on offer is less than you need to live
- If the salary on offer isn’t competitive based on your research
- If you wouldn’t feel good about accepting that salary to do that role
Ultimately, only you can decide if withdrawing your acceptance of a role is the right thing to do for you. But, remember, it's OK to walk away!
Already negotiated your way to the salary of your dreams? Check out these smart money moves to get the most from your pay!
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