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Negotiating a better salary is something that everyone should be focused on.
No matter when the last time you negotiated for a better salary was, the time will come again when the value of work you do is not reflected in the compensation you receive for that work.
When this time comes, it’s important to approach the issue objectively, build an evidence-based case for your desired salary and negotiate for this salary.
This guide will cover how to negotiate your salary, the basics of salary negotiations, how to find out your objective value from job market data, best practices for salary negotiations, how to negotiate a raise, and what you should do after a salary negotiation.
Salary negotiations are discussions between yourself and a representative of your current or prospective company that aim to help you secure a higher salary.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a long-time employee or a new hire: if you feel that your salary isn’t enough, you should feel empowered to negotiate in order to get what you deserve.
When you decide that you want to negotiate for a better salary, be prepared to:
It’s important to understand that negotiating your salary is a perfectly normal part of the employment process. Getting the salary you deserve is part of advancing in your career.
Your salary is more than a deposit to your bank account: it’s how your company shows you that they appreciate your work and value you and your skills.
Negotiating for some of these perks will help you to get the complete salary and benefits package you need:
While dollar signs definitely matter when negotiating your salary, these forms of compensation should be considered before taking a new offer or re-signing on a dotted line.
Before you go into a salary negotiation, you must objectively determine how much someone in your position should be paid with your experience and in your location.
Salaries range greatly by industry, seniority, and geography, and getting the salary you want will depend on asking for a realistic compensation package.
Define Your Range And Research
First, you need to find out what people in your position are making in your area with your level of experience.
A simple search on Glassdoor’s salary search tool will give you baseline information to get a sense of what the ballpark salary is for your job title.
Know Your Worth
After researching the job’s compensation range, the next step is comparing the average compensation with your market worth.
Use Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool, which gives you personalized estimated market value, what others in your field are being paid, and available job listings.
Once you have a ballpark for your market worth, you’ll be able to compare that with the average salary for the position you’re vying for. Plus, many job openings on Glassdoor will reveal a salary estimate that shows you how much a role could pay before applying.
For instance, if you see the compensation range for web developers in your area is 67,000-114,000, and your personalized estimate is 75,000, your realistic salary range is between 70,000 and 80,000.
Salary negotiation doesn’t have to feel uncertain or intimidating.
As long as you’ve done research to learn a realistic salary range to ask for and have a plan in place for navigating the negotiation, there’s nothing to worry about.
Following these tips will also help you to have effective salary negotiations.
Asking these questions will also help during salary negotiations for a new or current job:
Even if your manager understands the value you’re adding to your company, it doesn’t mean they’ll proactively offer you a raise — you have to prove your case for a raise just as surely as you have to prove your case for a higher starting salary at a new job.
Leverage internal moves
A new role in your company provides a great negotiation opportunity. If you are considering a promotion or new job with your current employer, don’t buy the argument that management’s hands are tied and pay growth is capped.
Use market data to lay out what it would cost the company to try and hire off the street, and ask for it. You will likely find resistance, but be firm in your stance.
Choose your moment
Maybe it has been a while since your last pay increase, but you still need to pick a good time to negotiate for a raise if you’re serious about getting it.
A great time to bring up the subject of a raise is when you know your manager is impressed with your performance and/or in a good mood.
Be firm and persuasive when stating your case
Confidence and persuasiveness are essential for successfully negotiating a raise.
Whether you’ve just negotiated successfully or unsuccessfully, it’s important to already start thinking about the next salary negotiation so you can set yourself up for success.
Your responsibilities will increase
If your salary increase also came with a new job title, that’s more of a promotion than a salary negotiation. But even if you still have the same job, your responsibilities still might increase if you were given a pay raise. Since you stepped up and showed your worth, you’ll have to prove you were right about deserving more pay.
Your boss expects more out of you now, whether your higher salary came with changes to your responsibilities or not, and exceeding their raised expectations is important for getting that next raise or promotion.
If you didn’t get something in writing, make sure you get a letter or e-mail from your boss with the details of the new role outlining what they expect from you. Most importantly, make sure you know when your job changes — whether it’s immediately, or at the start of the next quarter.
Your boss will have more respect for you
As you go back to work post-negotiation, you might find your boss trusting you more or asking for your input on bigger decisions. Moreover, after they’ve seen the kind of confidence you have and how you view your work performance at the company, they will likely have greater respect for you.
Salary negotiations can be tough and nervewracking, but when you have a successful discussion, it sends at least two positive messages to your boss. The first is that you have plans to stick around at the company for a while, which is a good sign to any leader. The second is that you’re someone who is focused on the value of the work that they do and your boss will respect that directness and negotiation prowess.
You’re not done negotiating
After a salary negotiation, it’s important to know that it wasn’t the last. Your job might become harder if you end up taking on new responsibilities, or you might find yourself with a promotion next year.
A lot can happen in the next year or two, so it’s important to consistently make sure that you’re being paid fairly for the amount of work you’re doing.
If you have any more questions about how to negotiate your salary or calculating your salary, here are some related articles we’ve written on salary negotiations and gathering job market data to build your case for a higher salary.