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Negotiating your salary

Asking your boss for a raise – or your new employer for a higher starting salary – is never an easy conversation to have. How can you prove you’re the right person for a promotion or to take on new responsibilities? Preparation is key. When first raising the matter, you need to present a clear and confident argument for your pay rise.  The key to successfully negotiating your salary is gathering as much information as possible before the discussion begins.

Before starting any discussion, make sure you can answer these 5 questions to ensure that you are fully prepared.

Why are you worth it?

Focus on the value you bring to the company, note your accomplishments, and attach time and money to them. If you're just starting out, you might not have hard numbers to prove your worth. In that case, pitch your enthusiasm and work ethic. 

How is the company doing?

It is important to understand how a company is performing. Have they posted record profits for the previous year, or is their financial performance below their targets? Have they made many redundancies in the past 12 months? All of these factors will have an effect on whether the organisation is going to pay above/below or on the market rate salary for a role.

How much do employees with similar skills/roles earn?

Research the market and find out how much employees carrying out similar roles are paid. The key is to present a clear and confident argument with examples of similar jobs both inside and outside the organisation. The Robert Walters Salary Survey provides detailed information on salaries across a wide range of sectors and is a useful tool to utilise.

Remember that as specialists in their field, recruitment consultants have the most current and accurate market knowledge and are well-placed to assist candidates negotiating salary. 

What are general market conditions in your sector like?

Is there a shortage of candidates with your skill set in the industry you work in? Have general salaries been rising or falling with in the sector? Are there a high number of roles appropriate to your skill set available in the sector?

It is important you know the answers to all of these questions in order for you to understand what level of salary you are able to request and what is realistic. Understanding how the company is performing is key.

Are there are any salary trade-offs?

Try not to be lured into a false sense of satisfaction when being offered a top-line salary figure. Make sure you are aware of any potential trade-offs. A higher salary could mean you might lose out on certain benefits such as bonuses for example. If you are entering into a new role, make sure you have taken into account your new travel time and your new working hours.

Alternatively, if your employer is unable to offer you the salary you are seeking, consider whether there are other benefits such as a company car, free health insurance, gym membership or other perks, you could consider as an adequate trade.


More information

Download our Salary Survey to find out what you're worth. Discover our other career advice articles or contact one of our offices.

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