6 Tips for Your Next Salary Negotiation

Updated 6 May 2023

Salary negotiation is an important element of securing a new position or requesting a raise. As an employee, aim to present your current or future employer with concrete examples of the value you bring to the company. These examples will be deciding factors the company uses during your salary negotiation. In this article, we will discuss what salary negotiation is and provide tips to help you get the salary you deserve.

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What is salary negotiation?

Salary negotiation is when you discuss your salary and benefits package with your current or potential employer. Both parties have expectations for the intended salary, and the negotiation allows each side to present what they feel is most appropriate based on the skills and qualifications of the employee or candidate.

Tips for effectively negotiating your salary

Whether you are looking for a new job or a salary increase in your current position, the following tips can help you prepare for the salary negotiation:

  1. Know your salary expectations and limitations

  2. Ask about your employer’s expectations

  3. Understand the impact of your new salary

  4. Consider other negotiable benefits

  5. Select an appropriate time

  6. Practice negotiation skills

Related: Interview Question: "What Are Your Salary Expectations?"

1. Know your salary expectations and limitations

You should always enter into a salary negotiation with two numbers in mind—your desired amount and the lowest salary you can accept. These numbers are determined by your particular industry and position, geographic area, education and experience. Consider researching current salaries for the position. This information can help you negotiate for a competitive salary based on these factors and ensure you properly assign value to your qualifications.

2. Ask about your employer’s expectations

When entering into a negotiation with a current or potential employer, asking relevant questions can help you better understand your employer’s perspective and limitations. Consider asking what they need from you in order to provide the salary you’re requesting. You can also begin the discussion by asking for their feedback on your recent performance. These questions can show your employer that you respect their position and want to remain valuable to the company.

3. Understand the impact of your new salary

After discussing your employer’s expectations, you will have a better understanding of the possibilities and limitations of your new salary. You can use what you learn to prepare an argument that anticipates how your higher salary can impact the company both positively and possibly adversely—and help you improve your ability to succeed in the workplace.

As either a current or new employee, consider outlining your current responsibilities and determining whether you are handling more tasks than what your position requires or could provide more to the company if your salary were to change. Perhaps you can ask for more responsibilities, such as leading a project or managing a team. You may also describe your achievements to further highlight your capability to fulfil the expectations of a higher salary and offset any possible adverse impacts.

4. Consider other negotiable benefits

When negotiating for your next salary, consider other negotiable benefits, including paid time off, work schedule flexibility, tuition reimbursement, private health insurance and advanced training opportunities. Introducing a few of these benefits may be a useful tactic to further demonstrate your desire to increase your value to your employer.

For example, employers may look for employees who are willing to learn as a way to grow with the company. Negotiating for tuition reimbursement and training opportunities can show that you are open to personal and professional growth.

Related: What Is a Sign-On Bonus? Definition, Benefits and Tips

5. Select an appropriate time

There are times when salary negotiations are more likely to be successful, including certain times of day, days of the week, steps in your career and stage of the hiring process. If possible, try to schedule your salary negotiation during one of these optimal times so you and your employer are best prepared.

You may be able to meet in the early afternoon, which is often more appropriate for scheduling as your employer has likely settled into their workday and had time to prepare for your meeting. The second half of the week can also provide optimal timing for this meeting because your employer is more likely to be finished with important work.

If you are currently employed, you can ask your employer for a raise if you reach a company anniversary, earn workplace achievements and recognition or have proof that you helped the company achieve a goal. If you’re a new hire, you can discuss your previous experiences and accomplishments you mentioned during the interview process

As a new employee, a salary negotiation typically occurs after your employer has made an offer. Employers often provide a timeframe in which candidates can think about the offer and possibly provide a counteroffer, beginning the negotiation process. You can take this time to evaluate the salary and benefits package and determine whether your qualifications are equal to the amount offered. If you want to begin the negotiation process, consider scheduling a meeting during optimal times of the day and week, if possible.

6. Practise negotiation skills

Effective negotiation is a learned skill that improves with practice. Before a negotiation, use planning skills to outline each point of your argument. Use persuasion to highlight your most valuable qualities and the benefits each provides to your employer.

If you are employed and your negotiation does not result in a raise, ask to meet with your boss to discuss why the increase was denied and what you can do to earn an increase in the future. This communication method can show your employer that you are committed to improving your skills and unlocking your potential.

Not all negotiations end in perfect agreement or compromise, which is why negotiation skills are important to your career development. Remain confident in your professional abilities, and stay updated on the salary expectations in your field to ensure you are well-prepared for your next salary negotiation.

Related: How to Develop Negotiation Skills

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