5 simple tips for a successful salary negotiation this year

By Robert Half on 6 April 2021

Salary negotiation can be one of the most harrowing aspects of the interview process. No matter how promising the opportunity, there’s no denying that salary is a major factor when accepting a job offer. Being compensated fairly for our skills and experience impacts job satisfaction.

While the impact of the pandemic took a toll on businesses, with many pausing salary increases and hiring plans in 2020, signs of economic recovery means that competition for great employees to help businesses grow is heating up. 

While this is good news for job-seekers, it’s important to broach the salary conversation with your prospective employer with a plan. The right approach could get you a healthy jump in your next pay cheque and earning the remuneration you deserve.

The following tips and salary tools can help you negotiate the salary you want and deserve.

1. Benchmark salary ranges

Knowledge is power. Before a potential employer asks, “What’s your expected salary?” – make sure you are ready to respond. Do some homework and research the latest salary trends for your city, industry and job title by reviewing compensation surveys and publications such as the Robert Half Salary Guide, and talking to colleagues and recruiters.

Salary is also representation of the value an employee brings to the company. Be prepared to talk specifically about your skills, experience and prior successes, especially those that have had measurable effect on the bottom line.

2. Set a figure

Now it’s time to state how much you would like to receive. A Columbia Business School study found that people who asked for a specific number were perceived to be better informed and, subsequently, were more successful than those who gave a rounded number.

However, don’t get carried away. Come up with a reasonable number based on your skill set and experience. If you’re a recent graduate and ask for a manager’s salary, your potential employer is less likely to take you seriously. You could even lose your footing in the negotiation.

TRY OUR COMPLIMENTARY SALARY CALCULATOR

3. Salary negotiation is about being confident

When it comes to who brings up a dollar value or percentage first, let the hiring manager make the first move. That could set the lower limit for you to negotiate up from with the goal of meeting your boss’ offer in the middle. If you are made to offer a number first, aim high within realistic confines based on your industry research.

Show courtesy and professionalism, which will demonstrate to your potential employer that you’re confident in your abilities and know your worth.

Don’t go overboard though. In any salary negotiation, arrogance gets you nowhere – no matter how good you really are.

4. Consider the perks

Remember that your overall salary package consists of more than a paycheck. It also includes benefits such as annual and medical leave. Sometimes your employer may not meet your expected salary, but that doesn’t mean a salary negotiation is off the table.

Work with the hiring manager to find a win-win solution by asking for better performance-based bonuses, taking into account flexible work arrangements or telecommuting benefits. Other popular employee benefits in 2021 to consider include wellness initiatives and professional development or upskilling initiatives. 

Show your future employers that you’ve seriously evaluated and studied all the facets of their offer – and you’ll have a better chance of starting your new job with the pay package you deserve. It is not a battle or argument; aim to see eye to eye with your superior in order to produce the best outcome for yourself, your career and the job you love.

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