Many people find conversations about salary extremely awkward but it is important to get it right. Remember, it is a routine conversation for HR people and they expect you to negotiate: so don’t be shy! To help you best prepare for the discussion, our careers consultants have produced a top tips guide full of advice on how to successfully negotiate your salary.
How to prepare for the conversation
Before deciding on the salary you are looking for, you need to answer this very important question: Is this the salary you want or the salary you deserve? If you’re going to negotiate your potential salary, you must have evidence to back up why you deserve to be paid more than they are potentially offering.
- What is your current salary? If you are applying for a job in the same industry/line of work you are currently in, it is acceptable for you to expect at least what you are presently earning (unless you are relocating to an area with higher living costs). Increases in responsibility warrant an increase in pay as do longer hours and more intense workloads.
- What is the average salary bracket for your profession or level of experience? A quick search of salary comparison or job sites such as salarygraph.co.uk, totaljobs.co.uk and indeed.co.uk will give you a good idea of the salaries on offer for the types of role you are applying to.
- Where do you sit in the job description’s salary bracket? When an employer provides a salary bracket, this is the pay you can expect throughout the lifecycle of the role. The bottom of the bracket will represent entry level (where you have some of the experience or transferrable skills required) while the top of the bracket represents candidates who fit most, if not all of the requirements and are likely to move into a more senior role in the future.
- Will you incur additional costs as a result of taking this role? If the role would require a longer commute, parking costs or even accommodation, it is reasonable to factor these into your calculations.
- What is your salary bracket? Finish off by working out your own bracket. The bottom line is the absolute lowest you would be willing to accept and the top being your ideal salary.
- Additional benefits: It is important to also include what benefits you would be looking for, on top of your basic salary and as part of your overall package. This could include private health and life insurance, bonuses and holiday time as the employer will consider these as part of your total package; so you should do the same.
Having the Conversation
Once you have been made a job offer, the topic of salary will come up. This is when you will be able to negotiate if you aren't happy with the offer.
Based on your research, start with the top of your bracket, ‘ideally, I’d be looking for £XX. I understand that this is at the higher end of your bracket but here is why I deserve it...’ Starting at this higher amount gives you room to negotiate if necessary down to your bottom line. You should be prepared for them to ask for evidence/examples to back up your claims. You should also be prepared for the employer to come back with an alternative to a higher salary, This can include:
- Benefits package: e.g. life insurance, private medical insurance, gym membership and high paying pension schemes.
- Relocation package: Rather than a higher overall salary, the employer may offer you a one off lump sum to cover the cost of relocating yourself and your family .
- Commission sacrifice: If the role carries the opportunity for commission, you may be offered a higher basic salary in return for lower commission rates. This may be offered on a temporary basis in cases where you need to build a client base, returning to the original offer once a pipeline has been established.
- Agreed timeline for review: The employer may offer to start you on a lower figure with an agreement that this will be reviewed within a certain timeframe – usually following probation.
Each of these offers are worth consideration and show that the company are willing to find a way to provide you with the extra income you’re looking for. With sacrifice of commission or probation reviews, it’s important that you agree now what the timeline will be, what the salary will increase to and if applicable, what conditions you will need to meet to receive the increase. It’s not unreasonable to ask for this in writing at the point of offer.
The bottom line
Nobody likes talking about money but it's important to be happy with the salary they are offering. If the employer is willing to negotiate the salary with you it's a good indicator that they want you for the role. So what it really comes down to is how much do you want this job? If this is your dream role and you can live comfortably on the salary/package they’re offering, it may be worth the sacrifice in salary for job satisfaction. Alternatively if it is an increase in workload/hours/responsibility (and ultimately stress) you need to seriously consider if you are likely to stick out the role long term on a salary you are unhappy with.
- Ask for a higher salary without backing up your request.
- Make up higher offers from other employers (if you’ve had a real one, share it but don’t lie).
- Let the employer bamboozle you with an offer – if you need time to consider the offer and work out how it benefits you, it’s acceptable to ask for time to consider.
- Give a lower salary expectation in your application to get your foot in the door.
- Settle for less than you’ve calculated you are worth!
If you require further assistance on the topic of Salary Negotiation, register with SaluteMyJob to speak to one of our expert careers consultants.