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SkillsTalk

How to negotiate a job offer

By Emilly Parris | 09 November 2020


If you’re on the job hunt during COVID-19, you may be wondering; is it acceptable to negotiate a job offer during a global financial crisis? There’s no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted employers and workers across Australia. In fact, in May nearly a million Australians were out of work. 

With an increasingly competitive job market and the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s easy to see why many job seekers are apprehensive about negotiating job offers.

However, even in these trying times, negotiations are not only acceptable - they’re expected. Still, the process requires a sensitive, strategic approach if you hope to have your request granted. 

Here are some tips to help you negotiate a job offering during COVID-19.

1. Get an understanding of the company’s financial situation.

Before you even consider negotiations, take the time to learn more about the company's financial situation. How have they been impacted by COVID-19? Have other employees had to take a pay cut?

Gaining an understanding of where the company stands financially will help you walk into the room with realistic expectations and demands. If the company is not in a financial position to offer the salary you’re looking for, it can help to know this ahead of time and provide you with a chance to consider other ways to meet your compensation expectations (e.g. other perks and benefits).

About 58% of Australian businesses say that COVID-19 has impacted their business “a great deal,” according to the Impact of COVID-19 on Business report. Approximately 37% of businesses reported having cash flow issues.

The majority of businesses in Australia have been impacted by the pandemic to some degree, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have negotiating power.

2. Ask for what you deserve and have a plan.

young people waiting outside for job interview

Even in the midst of a pandemic, it's perfectly okay to negotiate salaries. If you’ve done your research and know that the company is in good financial standing, then don’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve.

But make sure that you have a plan. What do you want? What salary are you looking for? Are there other perks or needs that must be satisfied in order for you to say “yes” to the offer? It’s crucial to know what you want before you start negotiations.

3. Consider including other work perks.

Work perks are important to us Aussies. In fact, 24% of Australians agree that benefits play a big role in deciding where to work.

So, when creating your plan, consider other work benefits that you may want or could serve as alternative solutions if the company cannot meet one of your requests.

Work perks can include:
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Work from home (if remote working isn’t implemented already)
  • Time in lieu
  • Upskill support
  • Health insurance

4. Support your case.

negotiation concept

You may feel uneasy about negotiating a job offer, particularly if you are in between jobs and want to secure employment as quickly as possible. But it’s important to remember that if an employer presents you with a job offer, it means that they feel you are the best fit for the role.

Build your case to demonstrate that your experience, skills and expertise justify your requests. It’s not enough to simply state your desires; you have to justify them. Why do you deserve a higher salary? Why do you need those perks you’re requesting (flexible work hours, upskill support, etc.)? Providing compelling reasons for your requests will greatly improve your chances of them being granted.

5. Consider your approach.

Negotiation is both an art and a science. It needs to be approached carefully and in the spirit of collaboration—that is, everyone should walk away happy.

Build your case to demonstrate your value. However, recognise and be considerate of the fact that there may not be as much leeway for negotiation as there was in the past. Remember that likeability is crucial, so try to be amicable throughout the negotiation process. Be confident and thoughtful in your approach.

6. Don’t sell yourself short.

If you are in between jobs, it may be tempting to simply accept whatever the company offers and sign the dotted line. But even in today’s job market, it’s important not to sell yourself short. Don’t assume that you have to take a pay cut because times are hard. 

Consider the offer carefully, make sure that the role is the right choice for you and that you would accept the position for the right reasons.

Ready to start negotiating?

If you take the right approach, negotiating a job offer will demonstrate to your future employer that you know your worth. It also helps to go through the relevant training to  "future-proof" your skills so studying an online qualification with Upskilled may help you. 

Negotiating a job offer during COVID-19 requires planning and a careful approach. While it’s important to be sensitive to the situation, it’s also important to remember that you deserve to be paid a fair salary. 

Even if you are in between jobs, don’t sell yourself short or choose a job that may not be the best fit for your career out of desperation. A common-sense approach and likeability will go a long way in helping get your requests granted.
 
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