How to Handle Salary Negotiations

Salary negotiations, whether you’re employed and your contract is up for review, or you’ve been offered a new role, are always difficult. Often we simply accept what we’re offered for fear of looking greedy or demanding. However if you feel you’re being underpaid, or that your experience is worth more than is being offered, you need to negotiate.

Research the Market

There is lots of information online that can help you work out what you’re worth. By looking through job boards and on sites such as Glassdoor, you can find out what similar roles are paid in other organisations. Consider how many years of experience are being asked for, and how your career history measures up. If possible, speak to other people outside your business in similar roles, to get an idea of whether what you’re asking for is reasonable.

Be Specific but Realistic

Try not to be too vague, if you offer a salary bracket, you’ll probably find that you’re offered a salary at the lowest point. It could also tell your employer or prospective employer that you’re unsure of how much you’re worth, so be specific. However you also need to remember to be realistic. Going in with a salary request that is much higher than the market value will make you look inexperienced, and possibly damage your prospects within the business.

Pick Your Time

You need to be careful that you don’t find yourself discussing salary negotiations too early. If you’ve been made an offer of employment, that’s a great time to negotiate as the employer has already made a commitment to you, so will be keen to have you onboard. If you choose to negotiate during an interview you may find it sidetracks the conversation. If you’re in employment, wait until your annual review, or request a formal meeting, so you can discuss it face to face, rather than just dropping an email.

Show Why You Deserve It

If you’re in a role and asking for a salary increase you need to know why you deserve it. So take the time to look at your history with the company, perhaps considering savings you’ve made or sales you’ve increased. Also show what extra you can bring to the business, maybe projects you’d like to run or be involved in so they can see what you’re willing to offer in exchange for a raise. The same applies if you’re offered a new role, maybe reiterate your experience and the value you feel you can add to the business.

Consider the Whole Package

Remember to not just think about salary but also consider the other benefits that the role offers as it could be that they mean more to you than a little extra every month. Flexible working hours if you have a family for example, could make all the difference to your work/life balance. A company car, or health insurance can also be very valuable. Consider your career progression too, and whether the role is going to give you training and development opportunities.

Often we don’t want to ask for more money, as we feel we’re being greedy or we assume we’ll be turned down. However if you approach it right, you could find you get exactly what you’re looking for.

Good Luck

Peter Forshaw, Managing Director, Maxwell Stephens