How to negotiate your salary

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Article provided by Isabel Cutts, Managing Director at Page Personnel London and South

Following research from the Department of Education earlier this year stating that the gender pay gap opens up as soon as women graduate and begin their careers, it’s time females took back control of their salaries (within reason, of course!).

We all know the gender pay gap isn’t going to close overnight, but (while we wait) there are ways women can achieve their highest possible salary entitlement.

Talking about pay with friends or family – let alone your employer – is often something we shy away from, but negotiating your salary doesn’t have to be awkward. Here are some top tips from Page Personnel Recruitment that could help you bag a better deal in your next role…

Know your worth

Firstly, it is critical to research what your role is worth before you begin negotiating your salary with your potential employer. Do your homework and research similar jobs, talk to recruitment consultants and industry colleagues for advice on what people in similar positions as you are earning. Understand your market value and determine beforehand what your ideal (and minimum) salary would be. If you want to check your salary against the average for your role, Page Personnel’s Salary Comparison Tool allows you to search by job title, industry and region to give you an accurate representation of your market worth. This will give you a valuable benchmark when the time comes to negotiate your salary.

Know their worth

Now you’ve researched your market worth, it’s also important to do the same for your industry. Make sure you research the financial performance of the company, its recent staff movements and industry conditions. Checking websites such as Glassdoor will help you get a better understanding of the company’s position and reviews of the business from previous and current employees which may help give you a heads up on any potential objections that may arise when negotiating your salary.

Determine your needs

Balance your research with your personal needs to determine a realistic salary range for negotiation. When deciding this, remember to keep the following points in mind:

  • How much you need to live on
  • The minimum salary you would expect
  • Your goal salary
  • Benefits package – what is non-negotiable versus nice-to-haves

You should always start negotiations at the higher end to allow room for negotiation.

Watch your timing

Talking about salary can be a sensitive and sometimes uncomfortable topic, but bringing it up earlier in the recruitment process will mean that it’s a less fraught discussion further down the line.

If you are asked about your salary expectations, tell the interviewer you would like to know more about the role first. Avoid divulging your last salary; instead, tell them what you believe you are worth based on your research, skills and experience – but remember to be realistic and not too demanding as this can put off employers and you may come across as too bold or arrogant.

It’s important to be confident in the salary bracket you put forward and not to change your mind during the process, unless you have a tangible reason why – for example, you’ve received another job offer which you can leverage to negotiate salary further.

It’s not all about the money

Good negotiators will enter a meeting with a range of options – it’s not just about the money when it comes to negotiating with a potential employer. Don’t forget to consider non-pay alternatives if the opportunity to negotiate salary is limited. This can come in many forms under your new employer’s benefits package – for example, holiday allowance, flexible working options or subsidised travel costs.

It’s also important to think about your long-term career plans and the opportunities open to you in a new role, that may not be available through your current employer. Is training more readily available? Are there more chances to learn new skills or broaden your expertise? Does the job offer a clearer promotion path or the opportunity to review pay in three to six months? If so, make sure you consider these alternatives as part of your negotiation as they could have an impact on your next pay rise.

Get the best deal

Employers want applicants who are open, honest and assertive, but fair negotiators. Having the confidence to negotiate well for yourself shows the employer that you are self-assured and demonstrates the negotiation skills you can bring to the role, strengthening their belief that you would be a valuable addition to the team.

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