Many people consider negotiating salary for various reasons, even when they have an amazing job offer on hand. Others fail to ask for a proper salary during the negotiations phase of the hiring process.
And fresher job seekers don’t even dare to ask for a proper salary, fearing they may lose the opportunity to get their first job.
The results can be disastrous.
On one hand, you’ll end up working for a smaller salary while your peers earn more. Without fail, working at a lower salary than what you expect and need has several side effects. A question that keeps coming up is how to negotiate salary.
Facts & Figures about Salary Negotiation
If you’ve never negotiated the salary, you’re not the only one.
Only 39 percent of all workers in America negotiated their salaries while a whopping 61 percent settled for whatever the employer’s offering, finds a 2019 survey by recruitment company, Robert Half.
The survey shows, nearly 46 percent of male and 34 percent of female employees negotiated their salaries before taking employment.
About 45 percent of female and male workers of millennial age- 18 years to 34 years- had salary negotiations before taking a job.
In the 35 years to 54 years age group, only 40 percent of all employees negotiated salaries while the number dipped to dismal 30 percent among employees that are 54 years old and higher, the survey covering some 2,700 workers over 27 US states shows.
Glassdoor survey in 2017 shows, employees in America could earn at least 13.3 percent more wages if they negotiated their salary.
Considering various salaries in 2017, the survey found that an average American worker could be taking home at least $7,528 more than what they’re getting now if they negotiate their salary.
Evil Effects of Low Salary
Drawing a low salary- which occurs when you don’t negotiate- can have severe and long term evil effects.
Working on a low salary leaves you unhappy. This directly translates as lower productivity that can spoil your chances for promotions and future hikes.
It’s also degrading to find out that your peers have a larger salary, which would make you feel miserable at the workplace.
Harms Future Growth
Secondly, a lower salary also ruins your chances for a better job in future. Every new employer wants to know the salary from your current or previous employer.
And when they hear a smaller figure, it’s natural for them to wonder why you accepted a lower paying job than you’re worth.
Unfulfilled Financial & Personal Goals
You wouldn’t be able to fulfill your financial goals and objectives if you’re working on a lower salary.
This in turn leads to frustration and sometimes, overspending on credit card which can damage your perfect credit score.
Low Self Esteem
Persons with low salary than what they deserve also develop a sense of low self-esteem. Left untreated, low self-esteem can lead to serious psychiatric disorders that would require sustained and prolonged treatment.
Widens Gender Pay Gap
Women employees are worst hit because they don’t negotiate salaries, finds the Robert Half and Glassdoor.com surveys.
Generally, women don’t negotiate salary despite having superb educational qualifications and skills because they feel a male competitor for the same job might get preference.
Impact on Social Security
Social Security payments are directly related to your salary and contributions.
This means, you might end up getting lower Social Security payout at a time when you need it the most. This too can have long term impact on your life.
Lesser Money for Retirement
Not negotiating salary can result in having much lesser money for retirement than you’ll actually require for those golden years.
That occurs because you wouldn’t be able to invest and save as much money to plan a happy and financially secure future.
Not as a rule, but women and men that earn lesser than what they deserve, try and find side-gigs to overcome the shortfall of money.
In fact, most people that freelance or take side-gigs are working only for money and often, because they require more cash. This can lead you to overwork that robs of quality time with family and leaves you tired.
All these evil effects can simply be avoided by negotiating for salary right at the time of taking a job or changing employers.
This brings us to the vital question: how to negotiate salary?
How to Negotiate Salary?
It goes without saying that how to negotiate salary is hard for most people on this planet. There’re several reasons why people find salary negotiations a bit hard or difficult.
These tips and tweaks I’m providing should help, regardless you’re a fresher or experienced jobseeker.
Also read: 5 best tips to ask for a raise and get it
1. Change Your Mindset
Changing your mindset is the very first and perhaps the single most important step how to negotiate salary.
That’s because most of us falsely believe that asking for more salary or pay and perks would create poor impression. And that would disqualify us for the job.
A fresher doesn’t want to negotiate due to desperation of landing the first job. These are myths. When making a salary offer, the employer is also ready to negotiate. In fact, some would expect you to negotiate.
2. Understand Your Salary
The word salary has an altogether different meaning nowadays. Some employers call it Cost to Company or CTC. Remember, the CTC is a very vague term.
It includes your salary, perks, paid holidays, incentives, cost of training and lots more. A CTC is far different from a salary. An employer calculates CTC on basis of the total amount of money the organization will spend on you.
This can also include the cost of equipment that you’ll have to use for work. Salary is something that you’ll get at the end of the month or the week, as the case may be.
A salary can be calculated with or without perks and incentives. Therefore, consider these factors before understanding your salary.
3. The Employer Needs You
Most job seekers seem to forget one important fact: the employer needs your services and is interested in hiring. That’s the very reason an employer is making the offer.
After all, no business or employer is doing charity by making a salary offer. Knowing that a job is a two-way street puts you in the right frame of mind to negotiate a salary.
A salary offer is the last stage of hiring. Hence, an employer has already made up their mind on hiring you. Therefore, use this wonderful opportunity.
4. Find Your Market Worth
Most people don’t know how to negotiate salary because they’re unaware of their market worth. If that’s your case too, there’s nothing to worry about.
Use the online Know Your Worth salary calculator tool that’s available for free from Glassdoor.com. Key in details such as job title, previous or current or future employer, location and years of experience.
It will provide a near exact estimate of what your services are worth in the current job market. Also, read some job posts for your skills and experience available on job boards and LinkedIn to arrive at an approximate figure.
5. Study Job Responsibilities
The market worth will show only salaries depending upon your job position, experience, employer and location. It won’t indicate higher salaries if you’ll be taking on additional job responsibilities.
For example, you’ve applied for a marketing position. But the job also involves training juniors- something that you’re not doing in the current position.
Therefore, find out how much extra salary you can get by taking on additional job responsibilities.
Also consider whether the job involves traveling because that is also an extra responsibility unless you’re doing that for work in the present position.
6. Consider Your Realistic Personal Goals
For most people in America, salary is the only source of income for the entire household.
This means you won’t have enough spare cash on hand to achieve your personal goals including investing and retirement or higher education for children.
While your present or past salary did allow some range of investment or savings, it’s better to step up these after taking a new job. Therefore, calculate how much money you require and what you could realistically ask from the new employer.
7. Arrive at Figure
After completing the above steps, arrive at a proper figure about how much salary you wish to ask from the new employer.
In fact, add little extra to this figure: this gives some room for negotiations if the employer so insists. Also, take into consideration the perks.
And if the employer accepts your higher figure, you’re in profits. In any case, never disclose the exact salary you’re eyeing.
8. Separate Salary & Perks
Before you get down to negotiations, separate the salary from perks. Because perks can be conditional and may depend upon factors such as performance, travel, relocation and vacations, among others.
On the other hand, salary isn’t conditional. It’s that fixed amount that an employer has to pay at the end of the work period, generally a month.
You might find a “salary” attractive because it’s laced with perks. Therefore, separate the two. You can negotiate for perks and incentives separately.
9. Disclose or Not
Some employers want to know about your last drawn salary and perks and expectations from the new job. This can be tricky for almost everyone.
That’s because some employers try to pitch your salary for a new job that’s slightly higher than present or past ones. Others want to gauge how much salary you could ask for.
While there’s no harm in mentioning your current or past salary, always state a much higher figure based on market value as shown above and job responsibilities.
This sends feelers that you’re not available for cheap and know what your services are worth in the job market.
10. Wait for the Offer
The best way to negotiate a salary is to wait for the employer to make the first move. Meaning, await the offer from the new employer.
A fresher or jobless woman or man would grab the first offer from an employer in desperation. And this is something you need to avoid at all costs.
I repeat, the employer has taken pains to call you for an interview and make an offer. That’s enough proof they’re interested in your services.
One of the ways that an employer can use to avoid making the first offer is by asking, how much salary you expect.
11. Don’t Be Scared to Ask
If the employer asks how much salary you’re expecting, mention the figure you’ve arrived at and higher, as I explained earlier in this article.
Often, interviewers and employers ask the question to find whether you’re aware of your worth in the job market. And sometimes, they ask with the hope that you’ll mention a lower figure than what they have in mind.
And clinch the deal when you mention that lower figure. Therefore, leave that lower figure out of your negotiations.
12. Never Accept Conditional Hikes
The best way to get the salary you want is by asking and getting it right now. Therefore, don’t fall for conditional hikes.
This means, not waiting for performance or some other condition to be fulfilled before getting the salary you’re asking. It’s now or never.
Because once you accept conditions, the employer is free to hire you for low and the hike you’re expecting might never come.
This can be harmful to your professional standing and performance too. Hence, never put off what you want as salary due to conditions for a later date.
13. Tell Without Showing
To avoid the possibility of falling into the trap of conditional salary hikes, the best thing to do is tell what you have to offer.
The employer is interested in your services. Therefore, use the point to your advantage. Speak on how your skills and experience can drive the employer’s business further and bring it the much needed value.
You don’t need to show it because telling should be enough. You can justify the higher salary by speaking about your expertise or even the lack of it if you’re fresher.
14. Cast Away Fears of Losing
One of the greatest fears that prevent us from negotiating for a salary is the fear of losing the job. That’s quite understandable.
After all, you’ve studied or worked for several years and getting a new job is something to look forward to. However, the job where you’re negotiating the pay isn’t the last one available on Earth.
There’ll be plenty of others and possibly better than this one. Therefore, cast away all fears of losing this offer. This gives you a psychological advantage: you can negotiate for salary fearlessly.
15. Talk With the Employer
Often, salary negotiations never happen or fail because job seekers fail to talk with the employer. This is to be avoided at all costs. While negotiating a salary, it’s most important to have a healthy talk with the employer.
This conversation can be face-to-face, online through video conferencing, or even by email. By talking with the employer, you’re building a healthy relationship that allows both parties to understand one another very clearly.
You get to put the point across for deserving the salary while the employer gets an opportunity to retain an interest in your services and reconsider the salary.
16. Ridding the Joblessness Trap
If you’re jobless and trying to find work, negotiating for a salary might prove difficult. That’s just what you feel and maybe believe. It’s a sheer myth that jobless people can’t negotiate their salary.
Therefore, get rid of that joblessness trap. Instead, focus on the future. You’re jobless for a reason. And it’s possible to explain that reason to a new employer, without having to cut corners over the salary.
This can be done by emphasizing how your skills and qualifications are of value to the new employer.
Also keep your certificates if any, ready to highlight that joblessness hasn’t reduced the importance of your skills in any manner.
17. Keeping Certificates Ready
Talking about certificates, I’ll say these are the greatest resource for any salary negotiation. Meaning, the more valid certificates you hold, the easier the negotiations for salary.
Why’s that? Because certificates are solid proof of your educational qualifications, work experience, skills and expertise.
They are especially important for a fresher that wants know how to negotiate salary for the first job. With little or no experience, the only thing that a fresher has for claiming a job and salary are their certificates.
18. Be Polite but Firm
How to negotiate salary can sometimes get a bit lucid. The employer might try to point out deficiencies in your skill or nature of past work.
You would counter it by showing shortcomings with the new employer. This can lead to unhealthy attrition and cause salary negotiations to fail. Instead, be firm yet polite while pitching your case for the salary.
Allow the employer a patient hearing without interruption. Your job here is to ask for the salary you deem fit. It’s not to point out where an employer lags or lacks: that’s your job if you join the company as an employee.
19. Allow Time to Rethink
When you negotiate a salary, allow the employer to rethink. Normally, rethinking is the best way to negotiate because it gives ample time for an employer to assess your application for the job.
Generally, a job offer is made on basis of your resume and the interview. When you allow time, the employer gets the much needed respite to clearly understand the reasons for your salary negotiations.
Most employers agree to a higher salary when you give them time during the negotiations phase.
20. Salary Prepositioning
Salary prepositioning is something that I would recommend every fresher and experienced job seeker to do for negotiating a salary.
By this term ‘salary prepositioning’, I’m implying that you mention the higher salary beforehand while applying for the job. This can be done through your Resume or Curriculum Vitae and application letter or even through the LinkedIn profile.
By mentioning your salary beforehand, you’re letting every employer know fully that you’re not available for lesser. Hence, they will call you for an interview only when they’re sure about affording your price.
More Tips How to Negotiate Salary
While the 20 tips and steps I provide above should prove adequate how to negotiate salary, you can deploy some of these methods too. They’ll ensure you don’t lose.
The Employer isn’t a Cheat
This is something we need to bear in mind while negotiating salary. Every employer has its own constraints. Therefore, they’ll try and remain within their hiring and payroll budget while taking you on board.
No employer in the right senses would ever want to cheat an employee of perks and salary, since it can prove harmful to the business. Remember this while negotiating salary.
If your job involves remote working or work from home facilities, also include the cost of resources that you’ll be paying for. Though these costs might not appear very significant, over a while they add up to a huge bill.
Therefore, it’s best to let the employer know about such expenses you’ll be incurring from your pocket while negotiating a salary for any position.
Often, a job requires relocation to another place. If that’s the case, include the costs of relocation in your salary. An employer might pay the relocation costs such as expenses to move home.
But there’re hidden costs too such as finding a house, school or college admission for kids, loss of job for the spouse, higher telephone bills and many more. Consider these costs as well.
Travel Related Expenses
For jobs that require extensive travel, it’s clear the employer would bear all expenses. However, it’s also fair that you get some extra pay for spending several days away from home.
Family members would miss your presence at home and you could feel homesick too. It’s justifiable to expect some extra payment for these hardships. After all, spending long hours on an airplane or driving interstate isn’t really fun.
Salary negotiations are something that boosts the employee-employer relationship. Both parties feel they’re fair to one another. This develops a sense of loyalty and fosters higher productivity. Therefore, never shy away from salary negotiations for your next job.