With rising interest rates and years of rising wages, many companies are feeling the pinch when it comes to negotiating salary. With half of workers agreeing that salary is one of the biggest drivers for people to change jobs, negotiating salary, both with existing staff and new hires, plays an important role in business success. 

According to Michael Page’s 2024 Salary Guide, three in 10 (30%) workers are dissatisfied with their current salary, and in the current cost of living crisis, people are keen to negotiate a higher salary to relieve some of the pressure, whether that is by finding a new role or speaking with an existing employer. With more than half (51%) agreeing it has been difficult to retain staff due to salary, it is critical that employers strike a balance between employee expectations and what the organisation can afford and offer. 

How to negotiate salary

Salary negotiations can be challenging, so whether you are looking to attract or retain employees, here are some of our top tips for negotiating salary:

1. Do your research

When approaching salary negotiations, it is a good idea to know what your organisation is offering compared to others in the industry. Having a clear picture of how competitive your company is in the market, and what an appropriate salary increase might be, gives you a jumping off point.

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

2. Approach salary negotiations with an open mind

Understanding average salaries is only the first step, it is also important to listen to and consider the case put forward by the candidate or employee you are negotiating with. There could be other relevant factors, including an offer from another organisation, other industry averages in transferable roles, or personal reasons. Take the time to reassess and decide what is reasonable, and whether there are compromises that could be made on either side.

3. Consider the consequences

The wider impact of losing a talented employee or missing out on an amazing new hire could be detrimental to your organisation. Does the value they bring outweigh the financial cost of offering a higher salary? Given that half (50%) of workers would accept a counteroffer, negotiating on salary could save you from a time-consuming talent search and reduced productivity.

4. Promote wider package benefits and your employer value proposition (EVP)

Salary is only one part of the picture, and it is important to think about the value of the wider package and your EVP. A good benefits package – from pensions and car allowance to annual leave days or parental leave – can sometimes outweigh a lower or less-than-desired base salary.

Work/life balance, experience, and culture are increasingly valuable to workers. Is your organisation somewhere that people want to work? What are the reasons people like working there? Building and promoting your EVP provides an addition reason for prospective and current employees to join and stay with your company. While this may not play a direct role in salary negotiations, it may still be a factor in workers’ considerations.

5. Get it in writing

Salary negotiations are complex, and certain elements of the offer can sometimes get lost in translation. When have come to an agreement, you should always put it in writing – for the benefit of both parties. Not only is it confirmation or what has been agreed, but it also prevents any misunderstandings that could create problems further down the road.

6. Work with a recruiter

Our experts work with candidates and employers to negotiate both sides of the contract, putting them in the perfect position to advise on the right package, manage expectations and negotiate on your behalf, taking some of the stress of your hands. They are invested in helping you find your next great hire and can help to strike that balance between what you can offer and what the candidate wants.

If you are hiring, and would be interested in working with a recruiter, submit a job spec or request a call back and one of our team will get back to you.

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