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How To Negotiate Your Salary - Finnegan Pierson - Blog

How To Negotiate Your Salary

Salary negotiation is a skill that can be acquired before you accept a new job offer or before your next salary review. You may also consider this option if you haven't gotten a salary raise for a few years and want to broach the subject with your manager. Perhaps you feel you have exceeded the described job role and you are underpaid. Regardless of your circumstances, you should be prepared and armed with a repertoire of working strategies.

Know Your Worth

Conduct research to find out how much you are worth in your current position based on your experience and skill level. You can discuss this topic with other professionals of your caliber or speak with a qualified and competent recruiter. Alternatively, you can get information online from websites including PayScale, Glassdoor, and Dice. These resources will provide you with the current trends comparing your worth with more recent statistics.

If you prefer a more conservative resource, you can obtain the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which publishes a wealth of information regarding occupations in many categories, detailed job descriptions, their expected earnings, job prospects and required prerequisites including training and education. 

Time Your Negotiation

Although many companies conduct job performance reviews along with salary evaluations once a year at the employees' anniversary of hire, you are not required to wait until that time. You can take the initiative to negotiate your salary at an opportune time. Perhaps you have just completed a high visibility project with much success that brings company attention. Or you have just landed the company a top paying client. You may even have been instrumental in automating your employer's payroll system through an efficient payment hub. You may discover that your company budgets for a raise a few months before a scheduled review.

Be prepared to build a defense for why you need a higher income. Build your case on what makes you stand out from your coworkers, how your contributions in the past have benefited your employer, and how your continued loyalty will profit the company in the future. Rehearse your negotiation a few times to gain practice and confidence. Remember that you are not asking for a job promotion with more responsibilities, but rather a salary increase based on your current job title.

Aim High

When presenting a desirable salary figure to your company, aim high and expect the number to fall halfway between the company's expectation and yours. For example, if you are requesting a 10% increase in your salary, you may walk away with a 5% increase instead. This number is still a considerable amount and should not be dismissed.

Avoid presenting your first offer in a rounded number, for example, $85,000. Research has shown that being precise with an exact offer demonstrates your knowledgeability in the subject area and a counteroffer that is closer to your desired number is more likely. So, don't shy away from being forward and concise as it pays to do so.

Consider the possibility that a counteroffer is not forthcoming. Be prepared to leave the negotiating process and asked for time to consider the offer or not accept it if it is not within your expectation. 

Negotiate the Package

A job offer typically comes with a range of benefits which could include vacation and standard holidays, health benefits, tuition reimbursement, child care subsidies, retirement investment accounts, and flexible work options. Some companies offer a laid back working culture whereas others insist on a standard 9 to 5 work schedule. Part of your salary negotiation includes negotiating the entire compensation package. If the salary offer is lower than expected, the company may be willing to make up for it with a generous and attractive benefits package.

If you have a family of young children, you might be able to negotiate a flexible family-friendly work option that is conducive to a balanced work-life. Being able to telecommute when necessary due to pressing family situations will be a plus.

Clarify Unlimited Vacation

Many companies have opted into offering their employees an unlimited vacation policy. This policy is based on the idea that the worker can take off as much time as he wants as long as he gets the work accomplished. This program, however, may be misleading. Know in advance that this policy is not what it sounds. The implementation varies from one organization to the next. For example, a company may require its employees to take a minimum of two weeks of vacation per year. The company may have an unspoken understanding of the maximum number of vacation days that are permitted per year. To get a clearer picture of what this policy entails, you need to discuss this in advance during your negotiation process. 

As stressful as salary negotiation may sound, an employee who undertakes the challenge and is successful will have a head start in his income progression throughout his career compared to one who doesn't. Remember to be grateful and thank your boss for the opportunity to present yourself and be heard.

Publish Date: January 14, 2020 6:16 PM

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