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How to negotiate your salary

Updated: May 17, 2021

We all love to make money, but we don’t love to talk about it – especially when it comes to salary discussions with our employers. This is a very valid feeling; asking for more money takes confidence and the courage to put yourself out there. It opens up a conversation in which you will be analysed for the work you do – as well as presenting the opportunity for rejection and disappointment. 

However, we shouldn’t let the prospect of an uncomfortable or disappointing conversation stop us from asking for what we feel we deserve. Like anything, negotiation skills, in general, take practice, which applies to salary negotiations. Here is our solid advice to help you prepare and navigate your way through your next salary negotiation.

Ask yourself all the questions

If you’re not clear, then the conversation won’t be either. You need to know precisely what you do daily, how you’ve grown and progressed through this role, how long you’ve been with the company, projects you’ve delivered, and most importantly, why you deserve the figure you’re asking for. Be clear in your mind about how you came to the figure you are requesting and what you have done/do to justify your employer considering the request. 

The clearer you are in your mind, and the more justified you feel in your position will help the authenticity of your request when it comes time.

Timing, timing, timing

Timing is key. It’s common for people to wait for their annual performance review to negotiate their salary. The truth is, by this point, your manager most likely has a clear idea of the figure set for you. Approach a salary negotiation three months before your PR to give your manager ample time to digest, analyse and work your desired figure into their budget.

The day of the week can also make an impact. According to Psychology Today, Thursday is the sweet spot. People generally start the week in a demanding and disagreeable manner to get the rhythm of the workflow moving; however, they become more agreeable as the week persists. Book your chat for a Thursday and see what happens!

Know the market

Do your industry research. When doing so, you need to focus on the following things:

  • What is the salary range?

  • Ensure the data is current.

  • Confirm you are looking in your location, as this will give you a more accurate representation of the going rate for your role inside of your geographic area.

Seek is an excellent source for comparing the market or alternatively, look at the big recruitment agencies who usually publish a yearly salary guide. Another tip is to conduct discussions with both males and females to eradicate any issues surrounding the gender pay gap.

What’s you’re ROI?

As objectifying as it may sound, sometimes it’s valuable to view ourselves and the skills we offer as a commodity. Any good business practice has return on investment high on their list of priorities across the business, not excluding Human Resources. When asking for more money, you will have to justify and back up why you are entitled to that figure. This is the time to analyse your work, be realistic with yourself, and set your expectations accordingly. A great tip is to be able to come up with a measurement of your input/value by defining how it has impacted the bottom line, culture, process etc of the business.

If you want to be remunerated for your competency level – know your ROI.

Go high

You know how the old saying goes; “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” As cheesy as this is, it’s the perfect analogy when it comes to negotiating your salary. Assuming your range is realistic, your initial request must be in the higher quartile (if not the highest figure) of the range. Your manager will almost always offer you below your initial asking price in true negotiation style, so going high will allow wiggle room and hopefully the agreed figure will be sufficient.

And, if you get your first figure, that’s a bonus – you got to the moon! 

Practice your pitch Now we’re not saying you need cue cards or a full-blown script but learning the basics of your pitch will do wonders for your case. Practice what you’re going to say with your partner or a friend, and give them a checklist to ensure you hit all the vital points:

  • Explain your ROI – what you do, what you’ve achieved, areas of growth and responsibility, etc.

  • Explain current market trends.

  • Present your figure – and justify this by reiterating your ROI.

  • Thank them for their time and arrange another meeting for further negotiation if necessary.

We do hope this blog helps you prepare and gain the courage and confidence to steer your next salary negotiation in your desired direction.

If you need help boosting your confidence in the workplace, we offer a wide range of career coaching options that could fit your needs. Book a free 20-minute clarity call to see how we may be able to help you. There is absolutely no obligation or pressure to work with us; it's just a chat to see if we can provide guidance and connect.

Good luck!


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