As we closed out another year supporting your personal and financial growth, the Turbo team had professional development on the mind heading into 2020. You can probably imagine how closely the two are related—how much you get paid often dictates how you budget, the kind of lifestyle you lead, what you buy, and more. But sometimes your salary isn’t as much as you’d like it to be; maybe it’s not in line with the fair market value of your trade, or perhaps it just doesn’t reflect the value of what you bring to the table in the workplace.
This conversation led us to conduct a survey surrounding salary negotiations. We asked 1,000 Americans between 18 and 34 years old if they’d ever tried to negotiate their salary, and why or why not. Here are a few of the data highlights:
- 8% said no because they were happy with their current rate of pay
- 6% said no because they didn’t know how to negotiate their salary
10.4% said no because they were afraid of the consequences of doing so
Overall, 57.2% of survey respondents said that they had never even tried to negotiate their salary. Regardless of the reason why they’ve never tried to negotiate, the greater question is: should they have? And if so, how?
If you’re wondering how to negotiate your salary—or if you should at all—you’re in the right place. In this post, we’ll be discussing salary negotiation tips to help you secure the pay you deserve, whether you’re an existing employee who’s proved their worth, or an experienced applicant negotiating a salary offer.
Need salary negotiation tips fast? Click on a link below to navigate throughout the article:
- Getting Prepared for Salary Negotiations
- Starting the Negotiation Conversation
- Navigating the Salary Counteroffer
- Wrapping Up
Getting Prepared for Salary Negotiations
Before you head into the conference room with your manager, company CEO, or HR representative, create a plan for navigating the conversation. If you’re an existing employee who’s done the bare minimum over the last year, barely skating by on your daily to-do list, you might not want to challenge your boss on your pay rate just yet. Conversely, if you’re an outstanding employee who’s gone above and beyond throughout your tenure, you may be ready to open up the conversation.
To help you decide whether or not you’re ready to negotiate your salary, follow these two tips:
1. Calculate your fair market value
While it might sound great for everyone in the workforce to earn above six figures each year, the reality is not every job has the same market value. Some professions require particular skills or certain educational certifications, and therefore may yield higher salaries, while manual labor jobs or entry-level positions typically offer lower pay rates. In order to determine how much you should negotiate for, you’ll want to identify the fair market value for your position first.
This number depends on a few different factors, including the industry, your location, the size of the company, the job description, and your professional experience. There are a few ways you can calculate your fair market value:
- Do your own analysis by looking at similar job postings and coming up with an average salary range
- Use a personalized salary calculator to find your market worth according to contributing factors
- Consult the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Employment Statistics database which has information on salary vs. hourly wage averages
- Connect with recruiters to see what other organizations are willing to offer
Once you’ve done your research, take note of both the range and average salaries that you find. In addition, you may want to consider other benefits outside of compensation that your employer could offer if they are unable to approve a higher salary. More paid time off, better health benefits, tuition reimbursement, childcare, or subsidized professional development could all be options for you and your employer to meet in the middle in case a raise doesn’t work out.
2. Pick the right time to negotiate your salary
They say timing is everything, and the age-old adage couldn’t be truer in regards to salary negotiation. In a recent survey,CEOs were asked the best time to negotiate a salary. Nearly 32% said employees should do so during the initial interview process, 19% said at the beginning of a large project, and 18% said at the end of a large project.
Like most situations in life, when you should negotiate your salary primarily depends on your unique situation. Some CEOs and management teams might prefer to see you demonstrate successful project results before considering you for a higher salary, while others would prefer to offer you a higher salary at the beginning of your employment rather than continue to raise your pay periodically.
Negotiating salary offer as an applicant
If you plan to negotiate a salary during the interview process, many career experts say that applicants should wait until an initial offer has been extended by the employer before negotiating. Trying to negotiate salary before the position has been offered to you could make you appear overconfident or overzealous.
Negotiating salary as a current employee
As an existing employee trying to negotiate your pay, you already know and work with your manager and hopefully, the person or people who have the power to adjust your pay. Use this to your advantage as you determine the best time to negotiate your salary. If the office is really busy and your manager is swamped, you might want to wait to schedule your meeting when they have more time to have a longer conversation.
Starting the Negotiation Conversation
Now that you have an idea of what your fair market value is and when you want to try to negotiate your salary, it’s time to come up with a plan before you have the conversation with your boss.
3. Demonstrate your value
One of your biggest points of leverage when planning out how to negotiate your salary is your demonstrated work ethic, professional experience, and expertise. Put simply, this is what you bring to the table. Depending on when you’re negotiating your salary—during the interview process or as an employee—the processes are different.
Negotiating salary offer as an applicant
If you’re negotiating a salary offer during your interview, you may need to lean on your resume and possibly your references in order to show your prospective employer what you’re worth. The interview panel has a relatively limited view of your performance, so it’s important to illustrate your skills and past successes as much as possible if you’re going to ask for more money.
Before you start the conversation, come up with a list of reasons why you’re worth a higher salary. Did you pioneer service expansion at your last job? Secure 70% more leads than your colleagues? When negotiating your salary, you’ll want to be prepared to build your case.
Negotiating salary as a current employee
As an existing employee trying to negotiate salary, you could have a bit of an edge since your employer likely knows about some of your professional achievements. Perhaps you were part of a product launch team, even though the responsibilities were outside of your normal tasks. Or maybe you earned a new certification, which adds value to your professional skill set.
Use these accomplishments to help you create a list of some specific examples which reflect how you’ve brought value to the company.
4. Decide on your desired salary
Remember that salary research you conducted earlier? Here’s where it will come into play. When negotiating your salary, you’ll obviously want to have an idea of how much money you want to ask for. Use your research to help you make an educated and reasonable case for the negotiated amount.
One of the big points of contention among career experts and employees is whether you should ask for a specific number when negotiating a salary or offer a range based on your desired salary. According to a study from Columbia University, precise numbers may yield better results because they’re seen as more informed.
Whether you decide to pinpoint a specific number or provide a range, you’ll probably want to prioritize your attention on market research and evidence rather than how you present the number itself.
5. Remember why you love your job
If this is the first time you’ve negotiated a salary, you might be feeling anxious and awkward about having this conversation with your employer. One of the reasons you may not be feeling so confident is because you’re worried about coming off as ungrateful.
While it’s recommended to be confident and firm in your delivery, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be thankful for the opportunity. Feel free to show your employer that you appreciate them having the conversation and consider mentioning what the job and company mean to you, so long as it’s genuine.
6. Practice and plan out the conversation in advance
Preparing to negotiate your salary can be a nerve-wracking experience, but with a little practice and planning, you can reveal your most confident self. If you’re at a loss for words as you get ready to have the conversation with your management team, consider using a salary negotiation script.
As you craft your key points, the Office of Intramural Training and Education says you should also be prepared for the following responses:
- “What salary are you willing to work for?”
- “If we pay you the negotiated rate, will you outperform other team members?”
- “I don’t have the flexibility to adjust your salary as these ranges are determined by executives, HR, or corporate.”
- “We are offering all new hires and/or entry-level employees the same non-negotiable salary.”
Once you have an idea of what you want to say, practice with a friend, family member, or perhaps a former colleague.
Navigating the Salary Counteroffer
When learning how to negotiate your salary, you might have expected the initial conversation to be the most challenging part. But for some, the counteroffer process is an even bigger obstacle. In fact, our recent survey revealed that 12% of employers met their employees in the middle when they tried to negotiate their salary.
While it might not be the response you’d hoped for, it’s wise to be prepared for the possibility.
Here are a few tips to help you navigate a counteroffer.
7. Give yourself time to respond to counteroffers
If your employer—or prospective employer—responds with an offer you can’t refuse, feel free to go with it! But if they bring one that you’re unhappy with, you might need to take some time to consider how you’ll want to respond. And that’s okay (generally)! Start by asking if you can take 24-48 hours to think over the offer.
Then, think about how you want to respond. Here are a few options you have when negotiating a counteroffer:
- Ask if there will be any opportunity for raises in the future
- See if there are any other perks they’d be willing to offer instead of or in addition to the proposed salary
- Politely refuse the offer and accept the risk that the company may not make an additional counteroffer
- Open the door for an additional discussion
8. Keep your negotiating power in mind
Sometimes offering your own counteroffer may make sense, but before you do so, it’s a good idea to consider your situation. Do you have a lot of leverage to negotiate?
For example, if you’re making a career change and plan to enter a new professional field, you might not have as much wiggle room as if you had decades of freelance experience and are applying for a position in a similar industry.
Learning how to negotiate your salary is a useful tool you can use to boost your professional development and, of course, increase your income.
Use the following tips to negotiate your salary, and you could be well on your way toward a more fulfilling work-life…and wallet!
- Calculate your fair market value
- Pick the right time to negotiate your salary
- Demonstrate your value
- Decide on your desired salary
- Remember why you love your job
- Practice and plan out the conversation in advance
- Give yourself time to respond to counteroffers
Keep your negotiating power in mind