Career advice

Negotiating your salary

You’ve aced the application process and interview so now it’s time to negotiate your salary. Negotiating is a tricky skill that needs to be approached in a confident and strong manner that lets the employer know your worth without coming across as demanding or unrealistic.

Research to know your worth

When approaching an employer about salary you should have knowledge of what your role is worth before negotiating. Check the Michael Page Salary Survey, scan similar jobs on the internet and talk to your Michael Page recruitment consultant and/or industry colleagues to assess what people are earning in similar positions. This gives you a leg to stand on while also showing the employer you have taken the initiative to know your worth.

Company’s financial situation

Make sure you also research the financial performance of the company, its recent staff movements and industry conditions. This will help you to better understand the company’s position and anticipate potential objections when negotiating your salary.

Your needs

Balance your research with your personal needs to determine a realistic salary range for negotiation. Decide on a figure that:
  • You need to live on
  • You would be satisfied with (the minimum you would accept)
  • You would be delighted with (your ultimate goal)
The last two figures comprise the salary range for which you should aim. You should always start negotiations at the higher end to allow room for negotiation.

Consider other options

Good negotiators will enter a meeting with a range of options. Think about non-pay alternatives if the opportunity to negotiate salary is limited. Support for education and training or flexible hours are potential alternatives to financial incentives. The job might offer a clear promotion path or the opportunity to review pay in three to six months, so make sure you consider these alternatives as part of your salary negotiation.

Get the best deal

Employers respect applicants who are hard but fair negotiators. Having the confidence to negotiate well for yourself shows the employer that you could bring these skills to the role and strengthens their belief that you would be a valuable addition to the team.

Show respect

Respecting your boss, yourself and the negotiation is important. Although you should go into the negotiation firm and confident, we don’t advise going in cocky and bold. This could lead to a negative result and a tarnished reputation.
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