Salary negotiations ensure that you feel adequately compensated for your efforts, time and loyalty to your new or existing company. Asking for a higher salary allows you to feel you’re advancing on a personal level and are progressing with your employer. However, asking for a higher salary isn’t always the easiest topic to approach.
A Sticky Situation
Salary discussions can be tricky, and it’s definitely no easy feat to ask for a higher wage. When you’re going for a new job, you don’t want to undersell your experience or skills, but you also don’t want to position yourself outside the opportunity either.
Similarly, if you’re about to ask for a pay rise from your existing employer, you want to give yourself the best chance of success.
Proposing your desired salary can be a delicate (and, let’s face it, sometimes awkward) task. But, with preparation and a compelling (“deep breath, let’s go sell myself”) pitch, your chances of success will certainly increase.
Here are some tips and tactics our Managing Director, Samantha Crocker, has put together to help you prepare for asking for a higher salary:
The more ‘in-demand’ your skills are, the keener a prospective employer will be to get your signature on that contract. Therefore, at the time of discussion of your salary expectation vs. new hire budget, you need to give clear evidence and examples of why it makes commercial sense to pay you more.
If you have noticed salaries in the market have also increased, this could give you some leverage when asking for a pay rise and can show your employer that you feel undervalued.
Getting the Result
- Be prepared (or be prepared to fail).
- Do your research about market rates (use job board, industry colleagues, or sites such as Glassdoor to benchmark your request).
- Be ready to talk about your salary requirements and why you’re asking for a particular figure or range, using factual evidence and market trends.
- Timing can also play a big factor, don’t ambush anybody into a higher salary. Set the meeting, specify the agenda and stay on point.
- Be realistic (be really realistic!) While it can be tempting to aim high when suggesting a salary, it’s important to be reasonable. Aiming way beyond any of the comparable salaries you’ve found in your research could make things harder for you, and it doesn’t bode well to go into a meeting and negotiation all guns blazing.
Ideally, you want to have a ‘range’ in mind, this doesn’t lock you into a concrete agreement, but it does show you’re flexible to negotiate if the employer cannot quite meet the higher end of the pay scale.
Consider Other Incentives
Salary is undoubtedly one of the most important parts of a remuneration package, but also consider other workplace incentives. For some, this could mean flexible working, remote working, additional leave entitlement or professional development.
What do these mean to you, if offered as part of an overall package? It can be easy to get lost in the salary aspect of the offer, but it’s important to consider the value of the package as a whole.
We recently conducted a poll on LinkedIn and asked ‘what would be your main reason for searching for a new job role?’. Salary topped the charts with 35% of people deeming it as being the most important, however, 30% of people thought that progression and work-life balance were nearly as important and 6% chose other.
This shows that salary isn’t always everything and many also prioritise other factors when looking for a new role, and rightly so!
Pick Your Time
If you’re interviewing for a new role, it’s important to be ready to discuss your salary expectations at the right time. This is usually once you’ve demonstrated you’re suitable and interested in the opportunity, and before signing any contract.
But, for current employees, opportunities can also occur during performance reviews or after special projects. Consider your achievements in the previous 12 x months and justify why you think you deserve a higher salary.
Give concrete examples of why you deserve a higher salary, i.e. how your actions have benefitted the company, especially from a financial perspective. You could also calculate your value by including other factors such as years of experience in that or a similar role, level of training, education and qualifications, years of experience in the industry and any leadership roles you have taken on.
It’s important to also be flexible when negotiating your salary and be willing to collaborate with your employer. Unfortunately, sometimes a company’s budget might not stretch as far as you’d like in terms of money, so it’s important to be realistic. If you don’t get the result you were hoping for, it can be tough. However, if you’re rude to your employer about the situation, it can harm your chances of getting a higher salary in the future.
No matter what the outcome is, you should always thank your employer for their time. This professional courtesy shows respect for your boss and shows you can still maintain a healthy working relationship.
Discussing money can feel awkward and often nerve-racking, especially if you’re not feeling prepared. But, by researching what similar roles are paying, preparing for salary discussions and considering other benefits, you’ll have a better sense of where you stand and be ready to maximise your chances of getting the salary you’re after.