Tags: Career Guidance, career-guidance, blog

How to negotiate a better salary

At some point in your working life, you’ve probably felt that you aren’t being offered the kind of salary your talents and hard work merit. Perhaps you’ve been offered a new job but you’re not satisfied with the starting salary, or you’ve been in your existing job for a long time without getting the remuneration you genuinely deserve. In either case, it’s time to renegotiate your salary. But how should you go about it?

At Search, if we help you find a job, we will also help you to understand the “going rate” in your area of expertise so you can understand if you’re being paid fairly or not.

But first, it’s worth approaching your current employer to see whether they’re receptive to the idea of a pay rise; nothing ventured, nothing gained. Read on for some hints and tips to improve your persuasive skills so that you can negotiate a pay-rise effectively.

1. Know what you’re worth before you negotiate your salary

Before requesting the meeting with your boss, get a good idea of just how much your talents are worth. Take a look at what employers are offering for roles comparable to yours - ones with a similar level of responsibility, and suitable for someone at roughly the same level of experience to you - in your particular industry and in your geographical region. Check the job boards and sites like Glassdoor for more information on what similar positions to your own are paying.

If you go to your boss asking for a pay rise (or a decent starting salary) but without a solid figure in your mind, you could end up being played like a cheap fiddle. Managers are often very adept at dominating conversations around pay - they’ll be able to tell if you haven’t done your research.

2. Be realistic in your salary negotiations

Following on from the previous point, it is very important that you maintain a realistic view of what you should be getting from your employer. If your demands are excessive, you’ll probably be laughed out of your manager’s office. Making demands which appear unreasonable to your employer may have other consequences too. Not only could it make things generally awkward between you and your bosses, but you may find that they start to pass you over for opportunities you’d be well qualified to do. If you’re negotiating a starting salary and ask for an unrealistic amount, you could simply miss out on the opportunity altogether.

3. Be confident and polite

Having said that, you should still be confident and self-assured when you approach an employer to discuss the issue of remuneration. You might want to open the bargaining by sending a salary negotiation email explaining the situation, namely that you feel you’re worth more and would like to discuss the matter in further detail. Make it clear from the start that you’ve done your research, but don’t charge in playing hardball right away.

While it’s important to be assertive when you negotiate your salary, you must also ensure that you’re scrupulously polite throughout. We’ve already noted how making demands perceived to be excessive can lead to a deterioration in relations with your employer or, alternatively, could mean they hire someone else instead of you. The same could happen if you don’t maintain a friendly and reasonable tone throughout the negotiation process.

4. Build a solid case for a pay rise

Before you approach your employer (or prospective employer) to negotiate your salary, you should have a good idea of how you’re going to substantiate the case in favour of a pay rise. We’ve already discussed the importance of researching what similar roles in your local area are offering, but you’ll need to do more than that. You need to be prepared to back up your argument by explaining how your talents, responsibilities and experience all make you worthy of the figure you’re asking for, and to explain how you’ve reached said figure.

Work out some key talking points before you open the discussions. Think of any examples where you’ve exceeded expectations at work or earned positive feedback from your colleagues. Don’t be afraid to bring these up, as they’ll strengthen your case.

5. Be ready to try your luck elsewhere if you fail to renegotiate your salary

If you feel your employer isn’t taking your efforts to negotiate your salary seriously, and they aren’t prepared to make a reasonable offer, you should be prepared to seek new opportunities.  You should be careful, however, about how you approach this. It’s not necessarily wise to let your employer know you’re ready to move on, as it could lead to additional problems and further degrade trust. Nevertheless, you should keep one eye on alternatives if your employer proves unreceptive to the idea of renegotiating your salary.

Here at Search, we’ve got a helpful team of experts who can help you take that next step up the career ladder, so if you do decide to move on, we’ll be more than happy to help. Should you decide to look for new opportunities, don’t forget to read our expert guide on how to prepare for job interviews. Here at Search, we’ll go the extra mile to help you with your job hunt - contact us or explore our range of jobs today.