Win That Nerve-Racking Pay Discussion: How to Negotiate a Higher Salary

Win That Nerve-Racking Pay Discussion: How to Negotiate a Higher Salary
JobStreet content teamupdated on 31 March, 2023

Whether you’ve finally received that job offer or a regularisation package, more so a promotion, there may be instances when you feel that what’s being offered isn’t what you’re worth. On occasions such as these, can you still negotiate the salary package ?

Salary conversations may be an uncomfortable and nerve-racking part of the hiring process. However, if you feel that the offer does not align with your experience, education, skill set, and career level, then you owe it to yourself to negotiate. Though it may be awkward and uncomfortable, discussing the pay packet respectfully and deliberately can help you get the salary increase you deserve. After all, you never know until you try.

But amp up your chances of success with the steps you need to win a salary negotiation.

How to Prepare for a Higher Salary Negotiation?

It may sound premature, but you should prepare for a potential salary negotiation right after your final interview or after that talk with your supervisor regarding regularisation or a promotion. This way, you can figure out how much you believe you're worth and gather points to strengthen your arguments.

1. Evaluate yourself.

During negotiations, you should be able to back your expected salary or compensation package. First, assess your technical qualities.

  • Years of experience:

According the JobStreet’s Compensation & Benefits report, 68 per cent of companies offer jobs to candidates based on experience. After all, experience is the best life teacher. The more you have, the more challenges you've conquered and learned from. Your tenure will add points in your favour.

Leadership skills are constantly part of a company’s qualifications. If you think you have a significant background in leading a team and can work with less supervision, you may raise this in your negotiation, too.

  • Career level:

When the role is vertical (read: you're essentially getting promoted), you should expect higher compensation since it naturally entails additional workload and responsibilities.

  • Skill level:

Do you have skills that not everyone has? Highlight your technical abilities that are relevant to your new position. Detail the effort it took you to master these skills.

  • Additional related certifications or licences:

On a related note, remember to emphasise any certifications or licences you have.

  • Education level:

Your educational background may boost your salary depending on the role or industry. Talk about relevant degrees that merit higher pay. Did you take extra courses to help you specialise in your field? Did you have additional vocational training ?

2. Do your research.

Make sure to research salary benchmarks. For starters, you can check our Explore Salaries to find out the going rate for your role. A thorough understanding of the market average can teach you how much similar companies pay for similar positions. You can use this data to justify your negotiation.

Here’s an idea of how companies decide how much they are willing to pay for specific roles:

  • What is the average salary offered by companies in the same industry?
  • What is the average salary based on education and experience?
  • What is the average salary offered to professionals within the city/state/country?

Knowing all these makes you better equipped to negotiate for a reasonable and realistic salary.

3. Prepare your points.

Based on your self-evaluation and research, you can now prepare your talking points for your negotiation. Why do you deserve a higher salary than what the employer is offering? Be as detailed and specific as possible.

Discuss your achievements and contributions from previous roles using concrete examples. For instance, say you overshot the sales targets by 20 per cent at your former job. Explain how you increased your company website's page views by 300 per cent. Narrate how you had fewer turnovers when you became a manager. Revealing these results helps your employer have a better view of what you can offer and why you deserve higher pay.

Remember the points you listed earlier. Underscore your years of experience, as well as the skills and certifications that are most relevant and in demand within your industry.

Soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, communication and people skills, problem solving skills, and adaptability, to name a few, can also be included and qualified through references or professional testaments from former supervisors or and/or colleagues.

Once the discussion moves towards numbers, mention the average salary usually offered for similar roles. If you give your potential employer clearer and more reasonable and realistic math of your pay, you may get better chances of an increase.

4. Ask about performance-based incentives.

There may be instances when a company cannot or refuse to adjust their offer. When you like the company but are hesitant about its salary offer, perhaps it has other monetary incentives outside your payslip.

Don't shy away from asking about performance-based incentives. You can come up with measurable results that benefit you and your new company. Say you are in the digital marketing industry. You can ask if an increase is possible if you raise the brand's social media presence and engagement by anxper cent inxmonths. Should they agree, make sure that the agreement is documented in writing to avoid any issues in the future.

5. Consider non-monetary incentives.

The salary isn't the only thing a company has to offer. According to JobStreet’s Compensation & Benefits report, candidates also look at financial benefits, such as medical insurance, and leaves.

Check the full package. Maybe you get free meals at the office, a health card, a gym membership, stock options, a sign-on bonus, overtime pay, clothing allowance, or more vacation leaves. These perks might cut a chunk off your monthly expenses and may turn out equivalent to or even more valuable than your asking price.

6. Ask for the possible highest salary range fit for your skills and experience.

When negotiating, take it up a notch and opt for a slightly higher salary based on your qualifications. This way, if your hiring manager decides to negotiate for a lower price, you may still end up with your target goal.

7. Share job-related expenses.

You may feel bad about bringing up rent, commute, or gas expenses, but these are all factors in maintaining a healthy and balanced wellbeing as you work towards your career goals. Ultimately, you cannot continue reaching such goals if you stress too much about living costs. If you would need to relocate to be able to accept a specific job, you can raise this in your negotiation. You may also discuss the wear and tear of your car going to and from your work location and even to clients, if applicable.

8. Prepare to be questioned.

Don’t get intimidated when the hiring manager asks you about your request. Employers and recruiters ask straightforward questions to find out if you truly deserve higher compensation. Be prepared to answer if you have other options and if the company you are speaking with is your top choice among all the other places you have applied for. You may also be asked if you will accept the offer immediately if they agree with your requests. It confirms how committed you are to joining the company.

As much as possible, try not to negotiate if you are not committed to the company you are applying for.

9. Be confident.

Don’t be afraid to rate yourself and your skills a little higher. Not to be confused with baseless bragging or overconfidence, being self-assured means you know how committed you are and how hard you work to achieve goals. Focus on your accomplishments that match the job description and let those speak for you and your worth. If you feel like you don’t have enough wins to showcase, focus on the personality traits that fit the role.

10. Stay grateful and respectful.

In opening a salary negotiation, you may or may not achieve your requests. Either way, stay grateful, humble, and respectful towards the company or hiring manager. As much as you invested in the hiring process, they also spent time, energy, and resources. You’ll never know what may happen, so make sure not to burn bridges along the way.

How to Negotiate Salary Offer via Email Template Sample

Hi [Name of Hiring Manager],

Thank you for sending over the job offer for the[position you got accepted to]position. I want to reiterate how honoured I am to be considered for this role. I am also grateful to have received a detailed offer.

Before I can accept your offer, I want to address the proposed compensation. As I have shared during my interview, I have worked in leadership positions for the past[x]years and have more than[x]years of experience in the[field or industry]. In my previous role, I was responsible for boosting the company's annual revenue by[x per cent]and increasing the number of leads influenced by marketing by nearly[x per cent]year over year. Given this, I am looking for a salary in the range of[amount/annual income]to[amount/annual income], which is slightly more than your offer of[amount/annual income].

I am positive and confident that I can be of significant value to[name of company]and help you exceed your revenue expectations this year. Please let me know when it would be most convenient to discuss the salary further.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Thank you,

[Your name]

A final note you should remember when negotiating is not to be afraid to walk away. If the pay, workload, responsibility, and pressure do not align, you'll do better to find other options that satisfies your needs – and worth better.

Continue to believe in yourself and what you are capable of. You've got this! You will eventually land the job and the salary you deserve. Now that you know how to negotiate towards better compensation, sign up for JobStreet and check out openings best suited to your skills and experience. You can also visit our Career Resources Hub for expert insights on job hunting, career satisfaction, and more!

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