Simple tips to negotiating a new salary

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When it comes to receiving a new job offer, or accepting a promotion, there is nothing quite as stressful as standing up for yourself in regard to appropriate compensation.

Oftentimes we feel we don’t have a choice about negotiating. We need a certain salary to provide the basic necessities and improve the lifestyle of our families. Yet, even with that aside, many of us simply don’t negotiate.

A CareerBuilder survey found that over half of workers surveyed (56%) don’t negotiate for more money when they are offered a new job. Their reasoning behind this included not being comfortable asking for more money, concerned that the employer will decide not to hire them if they ask, or not wanting to appear greedy. This statistic increases further for women, with a Glassdoor survey reporting that females are less likely to negotiate compensation than men, with two out of three women (68%) not negotiating pay compared to about 52% of men (The Balance Careers).

So, what happens when your dream job offers you a not so dreamy salary, or your promotion is lacking in the financial department?

The first question to ask is, how do you know how much to negotiate for?

The first step is to work out your salary range, including a minimum, midpoint and maximum salary. Research is crucial. Learn what others in your region, within similar industries are receiving for the same job title. Hiring managers may offer you the lowest salary that they think you will take, not because they are trying to lowball you, but simply because they are trying to keep on budget. Work out a number that you are personally comfortable with and keep your target within that range.

Tools such as Payscale.com can help you determine what your salary range in your industry should be.

Things to consider when approaching negotiating your counter offer:

  • Ask if there is any flexibility in the starting (or future) salary – Employers may be prepared to offer a salary increase after a probationary period. Take this into consideration when considering your counter offer.
  • Consider perks you may be able to negotiate in addition or in lieu of salary – such as a flexible schedule, stock options or additional annual leave days.
  • Create an opportunity for further discussion – Don’t rush your decision or your response after their original offering. Once an initial offer is presented, you may simply respond asking for time to consider all the information. This will give you time to reflect on everything associated with the position such as progression opportunities, commute time, vacation days etc.

Tips for the negotation process

Be cautious – While there is nothing wrong with asking for more money, there are wrong ways to go about doing so. Being too aggressive or too pushy in your counter offer can be counteractive to your overall goal. Likability goes a long way, if you’re viewed as somebody who may be difficult to work with, the offer could soon be taken off the table. The employer might have a set salary range for the position and little room for further negotiations. You’re counter offer may simply not be viable for the company. Try to understand where the employer is coming from and proceed with care.

Clearly define your benefit – Businesses are concerned with the return on their investments and the justifications for their expenses. As an employee, you’re no different. Before you respond with your counter offer, clearly define your benefit to the company and why you’re worth what you’re asking for. All those practical skills you’ve been developing over time do have an objective value, so don’t neglect to include them in your calculations (Inc).

Know your value and industry rate for your position – Using the salary range tool, outline your value and clearly state this to the employer. If you believe you’re in the upper range of your industry and job position, clarify why and explain the reflective salary for such.

Know what’s important to you – Working from home one day a week? 15% higher salary than your current? Know what you need and negotiate around that. Negotiating for something that isn’t a necessity may be unwise (Glassdoor). Justification is the key to negotiation.

We have a limit for our worth, both monetarily and personally. Knowing this limit is vital to negotiating your salary offering. While you shouldn’t push your salary expectations to aggressively, being timid about asking for appropriate pay is a mistake. On the surface, a counter offer may appear to not be worth the accompanying risk, but considering our lengthy work life, even $1,000 extra per year can make a huge difference over a lifetime.