3 Tips for Negotiating a Higher Starting Salary
While you may not be looking for a new job at the moment, chances are you will be at some point in the future. The era of lifelong careers is over. Most people in the work field will stay at a job less than five years, switching jobs an average of 10 to 15 times over the course of their career.1 It is no longer taboo to migrate from one job to another to fulfill your needs as an employee. Now companies must offer work-life balance, impressive benefits, a stand-out culture and above all, a competitive salary.
Negotiating your salary is one of the biggest components of accepting your new role — seeing as you’ll most likely have that conversation at least 10 times in your career, it should be something you’re good at! Even if you’re not currently looking for a new job or are just considering making a move, you should be prepared to negotiate a top-notch starting salary when that time comes. Focusing on the starting salary over other negotiable forms of compensation and benefits is important because it sets the baseline for all future pay increases, bonus percentages, annual FICA tax payments and many other facets of total take-home pay.
With that in mind, consider these tips when discussing salary with a new employer:
Know Your Leverage
Usually if a company really wants to hire you, they will do whatever it takes to get you in the door. They’ve already gone to the lengths of interviewing you, convincing their bosses to approve the offer and declined other candidates. Another important fact is that oftentimes, the hiring manager may want you badly enough that they’ll convince HR, or whoever is negotiating the salary, to just get it done. You probably have time on your side as well, if you’re currently employed. You can just keep working at your current workplace and take as long as you need to negotiate the right deal, but the new employer is probably already short one employee and trying to fill the spot as quickly as possible. This is leverage that you hold over the negotiation.
Hit Them With Hard Data
In order to show that you’re not being unreasonable and that you’re trying to land a “win-win” deal, show them the reasoning behind the salary demands you proposed. You could find out what other people in the field make through friends, family or through online resources. In some cases, there are HR or industry surveys of salaries and career data that you can search online for. There’s also Glassdoor, which aggregates anonymous employee data. Workers can share their salaries online in exchange for the ability to see what other people in their fields are making. When you have a better idea of what others with your experience level are making in similar roles, it’s hard to deny your salary request.
Other important data could include what you’ve accomplished in your previous role. Did you help increase sales year over year? Did you expand your clientele by an impressive amount? Gather specific data on what you’ve accomplished in your current role to help demonstrate a tangible value to your new employer. It is a way to show them that you are worth investing in and that the higher salary is justified.
Be Polite but Firm in Your Requirements
You need to be professional and polite in your dealings so they don’t get the impression that you’ll be tough to work with, but at the same time, if your points are well laid out and reasonable, who could fault you? If anything, it may show that you have initiative and may be a future leader at the company, rather than a shy, submissive new hire. Have an air of confidence in your request — give them a reason to believe in your request for a higher salary as much as you do!
There are two truths to every new job offer opportunity:
- Once an offer is extended it is rarely, if ever, revoked.
- If you don’t ask, you won’t ever know.
Remember that this new employer picked you out of dozens of other applicants. Have the confidence to ask for a higher salary that you deserve. If you ask, the worst thing they could say is no!
1Doyle, A. (May 1, 2017). How often do people change jobs? Retrieved October 18, 2017, from https://www.thebalance.com/how-often-do-people-change-jobs-2060467