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How to negotiate your salary after a job offer

By Emilly Parris

The job-hunting process is without a doubt one of the most stressful experiences we all have to go through. Even once a job offer is obtained you still have to consider how to discuss your salary expectations with your employer. After going through countless interviews to prove yourself a reliable candidate, it’s almost easier to just accept the first offer that comes your way.

But by doing this, you could be missing out on being paid what you’re really worth.

Did you know that most job offers anticipate a counter-offer, and many employers will typically leave room for negotiation on base pay or other benefits?

The most successful salary negotiations happen when both parties realise that they have a common goal: to get the employee appropriately compensated for their skills and experience.

The idea of negotiating your salary might be a daunting one, but research has shown that 89% of men and women who tried to negotiate a higher salary when starting a new job were successful.

One of the basic rules of negotiation is that you hold more power when the ball is in your court. That’s why, the best time to negotiate is after you receive a job offer. Here are some tips to help you get started:

Negotiating salary offer

  1. Make sure you understand the responsibilities of the role.
  2. Back yourself up with data.
  3. Spell out the value you bring.
  4. Be confident.

1. Make sure you understand the responsibilities of the role.

job description concept

Before you make a decision about how much you expect to be paid, it’s important to know exactly what your requirements for the role are and the value you will bring to the team based on your experience. Typically, the more responsibilities you have and the higher the position, the more room you have to negotiate—especially if you have unique skills and experience that the employer is looking for.

If you arm yourself with this knowledge, you have a far better chance of getting paid what you’re worth because you will know exactly what is required.

2. Back yourself up with data.

two businessmen in negotiations

When asked about compensation during the interview process, it’s easy to just throw out any number you think sounds right, but this is not always the best way to start your negotiations. You do not have to go into salary at the interview stage, but if you are asked to give a number you can tell them a range (based on research from your industry).

Make sure that the offer is within industry standards. Websites like PayScale provide information on salary ranges and how different companies pay, so that you can make a more informed decision.

3. Spell out the value you bring.

spelling out the word 'value'

Your employer cares most about what you are going to bring to the business. So, if you have an offer in front of you, you must be able to clearly demonstrate that you’re worth paying more for.

Every candidate offers something different, so you need to frame your expertise in a way that best illustrates your value. Write a list of the skills you bring to the table and how much you think they are worth to the business and make them your negotiation points.

4. Be confident.

confident middle-aged woman

Whether you’re negotiating in person, through the phone or via email be sure to communicate clearly and confidently about what you want. Something like “I’d love to discuss the base salary before accepting this offer,” opens up the conversation, while “I respectfully ask you to consider your initial offer - I believe an offer of [insert amount] will be more in line with my experience and the demands of this role”, is a confident yet respectful request for consideration.

Try to phrase your request professionally, avoid words like, “money”, “if possible”, “maybe” or anything else that sounds too uncertain.

At the end of the day, if you have reservations about the salary offer it’s better not to stay silent. You don’t have to say yes until you’re happy with your end of the deal.

How else can I boost my current salary?

In order to successfully negotiate your salary, you will need to research your market value, lay out a compelling argument and make your request respectfully. Remember, if you don’t ask, you won’t receive. With just a little preparation and confidence, you might just be able to secure the salary of your dreams!

If you need advice on how to advance your career, you can check out more of our related articles here on SkillsTalk, or perhaps you're interested in further study and want to check out the courses Upskilled has to offer.

Whatever you decide, negotiating a higher salary shouldn't be difficult if you can state the facts about what you already do and why your talents are a worthy investment to your new employer.
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