In the current cost of living crisis, salaries are having to stretch further, leaving many employees under pressure. With three in 10 (30%) employees feeling dissatisfied with their current salary, it is understandable they might want to search for a new role – but many people feel overwhelmed or intimidated when it comes to negotiating salary. 

Salary is one of the biggest drivers for people changing jobs, with half of the workers Michael Page spoke to in our Page Pulse Survey  agreeing that this would be a primary motivator in moving on from their current employer.

How to negotiate salary

If you are determined to find a new role and want to negotiate a higher salary, here are some tips on how to handle salary negotiations.  

1.    Do your research

It is important to enter the negotiation process with a reasonable number in mind. Salaries go up and down, and while you certainly don’t want to sell yourself short, it is a good idea to make sure your expectations align with industry averages.

Michael Page’s 2024 Salary Guides reveal current market salary ranges for different positions across a range of different sectors. Whether you work in finance, technology, manufacturing, or marketing, our guides provide all the information you need for negotiating salary with a current or prospective employer.

2.    Build your case

As part of salary negotiations, you need to build a convincing case for why the employer should meet your expectations. Drawing together the industry insights with your experience is the best route. If you can demonstrate that you should be at the top end of the salary band, show competition in the market for your skill set, or draw attention to difference between their offer and others, you are more likely to come out of negotiations successful.

3.    Compare the benefits 

Salary is only one part of the picture, and it is important to think about the value of the wider package. A benefits package – from pensions and car allowance to annual leave days or parental leave – can add value to your offer, so be careful not to overlook this during salary negotiations.

Benefits come in all shapes and sizes, and it is important to think about culture, work/life balance, and the organisation’s values. How valuable are these elements to you? It is important to consider everything when assessing the salary and benefits package you are asking for or negotiating.

4.    Be open to compromise

An employer may not be able to offer you all that you ask for, but they could meet you most of the way. It is best to be flexible with your expectations to some extent, especially if the role is highly competitive, or you’re particularly excited by either the role or the company. You might regret walking away from a decent offer at your dream job because it falls slightly short.

5.    Get it in writing

Salary negotiations are complex, and certain elements of the offer can sometimes get lost in translation. When you and an employer have reached an agreement, always ask them to put this in writing. Not only is it confirmation of what has been agreed, but it also prevents any misunderstandings that could create problems further down the road.

6.    Work with a recruiter

If you are worried about negotiating a higher salary, working with a recruiter like Michael Page is a great option. Our experts work with candidates and employers to negotiate both sides of the contract, putting them in the perfect position to advise and secure the best package possible for you.

Our recruiters can take some of the stress of finding a new job off your hands by negotiating a higher salary or benefits on your behalf. Ultimately, they are invested in helping you to find and secure your next great role, so taking their advice and letting them do the hard part just makes sense.

If you’re looking for a new role, submit your CV and one of our experts will get in touch to discuss your options or apply to one of our live roles:

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