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How to negotiate salary: 7 tips for financial success

by Heat Recruitment

Knowing how to negotiate salary is a vital tool for success

If you’re hoping to learn how to negotiate a higher salary, then it’s likely that you’ve either received a job offer or you’re unhappy in your current role. In both instances, timing is key. If you’re mid-way through the recruitment process, wait until the employer brings up salary expectations. Or if you’re asking for a pay rise, wait until you’ve just aced a project or secured a new business deal.

But when you’ve identified the perfect time, how should you go about making the first move?

Do your research

Rather than basing your salary expectations on assumptions, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched the average salary for similar roles your sector. Bear in mind that this can vary hugely in different parts of the country – most notably in London. Salary surveys are really useful for this, but job advertisements are another  way to make direct comparisons between different salaries.

Assess your experience

Similarly, be sure to compare your own salary to others working in the same role – and be as specific as possible. For example, if you’re a Junior Business Analyst, make sure you’re comparing yourself to other junior-level positions, instead of simply searching for the average salary for a ‘business analyst’. When you present your findings to your employer – or prospective employer – you can then refer to specific job titles, which will back up your case.

Determine your limits

In some cases, you simply won’t have much room for negotiation. While it should be a back-and-forth dialogue between yourself and the employer, know when you need to back down. If you’re asking for a pay rise in your current job, consider whether you will leave the company if your request is rejected. Alternatively, if you’ve received a job offer, calculate the minimum salary that would meet the needs of your current lifestyle.

Consider additional benefits

Even though your annual salary makes up a large chunk of your overall compensation package, any additional employee benefits – such as company cars or private healthcare – should be given an equal amount of thought. Often, they’re easier to negotiate.

Take time to think

When you’ve been offered a job or a pay rise, ask for some time to mull it over. Generally, asking for 24 hours of thinking time is perfectly acceptable. You’re also giving the employer more time to reflect on their offer, which could work in your favour.

Put it in writing

A verbal discussion tends to be the most effective way to negotiate your salary, as it allows both parties to have an open dialogue and voice any concerns. But to seal the deal, sending the employer a written copy of the details you’ve discussed will ensure there’s a clear-cut record of the outcome.

Decide how to respond

On the contrary, the employer may push you for an immediate response to their offer. It’s worth putting some thought into what your response will be if they say ‘no’. If it’s your current employer, you may wish to leave the company and seek a higher salary elsewhere – and likewise, you may need to decline a job offer if you simply wouldn’t be able to afford to take it.

No matter what your final decision is, don’t get too disheartened if things didn’t work out as planned – knowing how to negotiate salary is a good first step.

Looking for the latest in salary information? Our Salary Survey has insights on more than 150 roles.

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