Salary Negotiation: Tips on Taking Your Income to the Next Level

Kelly Cooke
Published Nov 7, 2023


In the age of the Great Resignation, many employees are discovering their ability to ask for more money and better benefits in their new positions. However, given that employers are usually the ones with all of the power in the job market, the concept of negotiation for a higher salary may seem risky to some weighing new job offers.

Knowing how to ask for your worth is just one of the many skills you should build on to create a better life for yourself and your family. These tips can help you prepare for your next salary negotiation.

Know Your Worth
The first step in preparing to speak with your potential new employer about the pay you require is to research salaries in your area for your job type. If your job title is common, such as a registered nurse or accountant, it should be easy to secure ample information regarding pay and benefits in your field and location.

Unfortunately, depending on your role, it may be challenging to determine how much you should be paid. If you find yourself in this situation, it may be helpful to consult at least two or three job search engines to determine a range of suitable pay for your work. Additionally, when making the final determination of your income goal, take into account the organization's size and your position's role.

You may also want to contact a few of your trusted colleagues in your industry. While asking about salary can still be taboo in some fields, it is helpful to know just how much you should ask for. If you feel your colleagues may consider it rude, explain your situation and ask what they might feel is a comfortable salary range for the job. Fostering more open conversations about money is a great way to eliminate wage gaps in several work industries.

Start Negotiating
A good rule of thumb when negotiating your salary is to leave yourself and the hiring organization room to maneuver. For example, if you were offered $60,000 per year but would like to earn $65,000, asking for about 10 % or 20% more can help you arrive at the salary you want. If you start the negotiations too low, you may run out of room to make a counteroffer. And this may lead you to accept a salary that is too low for your role, experience, and skillset.

Make the Ask
Asking for more money is often what prevents so many people from requesting what they are worth in the employment market. Some feel that they may make an unfavorable impression, or a new employer may change their mind about the employment offer.

The reality, however, is that many people negotiate their salaries. And you should feel free to do the same and get the compensation you deserve.

When negotiating, be polite and direct. Ask for a salary that is slightly above the amount you want. During this process, the organization will often provide you with a slightly lower number. At that point, it will be up to you to determine if you will accept or ask for more money.

What if the Answer is No?
Sometimes negotiating pay is simply not in the budget for some employers. And this may be especially true if you plan to work for a non-profit organization or small business. If the employer is unwilling to budge on pay, think about other types of compensation that may be negotiated to provide you with a better quality of life.

Perhaps you would like to work remotely once or twice a week. Or maybe adding an extra week of vacation time would make a big difference to you and your family. Thinking of creative ways to increase your job satisfaction and work-life balance can be the key to securing not only your new job but a position in a company that can span your working lifetime.

While asking for money at the start of employment may seem like a challenge, it is the best way to ensure you are paid a fair wage. By keeping the negotiation professional, polite, and based on the salary range of similar organizations, you may be well on your way to increased lifetime earnings thanks to your new salary negotiation skills.

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