How To Step Up Your Salary Negotiation Game

5 minutes

Whether you’re at the offer stage for a new job or are gunning for a promotion at your current one, honing your negotiation skills is crucial to getting the salary you want. Yet surprisingly, a survey by showed that only 37% of people always negotiate their salaries while 18% never do. In addition, a staggering 44% of respondents claim to have never even approached the subject of a raise during their performance reviews.

We’ve put together some tips to help you take your salary negotiation game to the next level!



1. Understand your worth

Always use research to inform your negotiation technique. Walking into a negotiation prepared will make the outcome so much better. The better prepared you are the more confident and informed you will come across. If you don’t have an exact salary figure in mind your Manager will have the upper hand from the start and will take control of the conversation very quickly. 

To avoid this, find out how much the job is worth and then research how much your skills and experience are worth to the company. The Glassdoor salary search is a great tool to do this with but most jobsites have a tool to help you find this information. Speaking to a recruiter can also be useful as they know what people with your experience are worth.

Research the salary range for people in similar roles to you to give you a better idea of what you should be earning. Remember this will differ largely depending where you are located and the industry you work in. Once you find a range, set an exact figure that you would be happy with that is both realistic and leaves room for negotiation. To be on the safe side, always ask for more than what you want as your Manager will want to feel like they negotiated with you and got a good deal.

2. Timing is everything

After you’ve done your research, you can set the wheels in motion and book a meeting with your Manager. Many people wait till their performance review to start negotiations, but it’s a better idea to start talking to them three to four months in advance, as this is when they set the budgets.  

According to The Muse, several studies show that you’re most likely to get a raise if you ask on a Thursday as people become more flexible and open to negotiation closer to the weekend. Whichever day you opt for, double check your Manager is available for the meeting and schedule it into their calendar, so they don’t forget. Make sure you have a space for your meeting that is confidential to avoid having an awkward conversation in the hallway.

3. Be persuasive but stay flexible

Every negotiation will have an element of back and forth, so you need to be flexible but still stand your ground. Be prepared for some resistance and be sure you have put together a case to show why you deserve the salary figure that you’ve put forward. 

This is the time to sing your own praises so put together a summary of all your achievements, awards won and testimonials you got from your colleagues. It’s a good idea to talk your Manager through your achievements before you start talking numbers. You can also give them a printed copy of your summary of achievements to look at while you talk them through it. 

But don’t make it all about the past. Make sure you outline your plans for the future. What projects are you going to take on and how will this help your Manager? Will it free up their time? Do you have ideas that you want to own and implement? Try to put yourself into the shoes of your Manager. What is important to them? Listening during a negotiation is a hugely important part and will let you understand the needs of the person you’re negotiating with. How can you sweeten the deal for both of you?

Instead of being forceful, try to convince your Manager that it’ll benefit the business to pay you more. Be sure to listen and understand their views as well as getting your point across.

Present all your facts and give them time to consider your proposal, as they will probably have to run it past Human Resources and possibly other Managers. Don’t expect an answer immediately.


4. Consider your options

A ‘no’ doesn’t mean the end of the negotiation but usually marks the start of it. If your Manager seems uncomfortable with the figure you have put across ask them why this is and what you can do to convince them to move in your direction.

To come to an agreement, you both will have to be flexible, but you need to still stand your ground and not accept an offer that is too low.

If your employer has made a counter offer it’s ok for you to ask for some time to consider the offer. Doing this will make sure you don’t panic and accept a minimal increase. When it’s an initial job offer you can also make a counteroffer 10-20% more than their offer. 

Consider that your benefits are up for negotiation as well, so if your Manager won’t budge on your salary increase, they may be more open to enhancing your benefits such as additional holiday, training or flexible working. Sometimes these can be just as valuable as a salary increase.


5. If it doesn’t work out

Most departments have budgets assigned by the wider business and sometimes it might not be possible to give you a pay increase at the time you want one.  There may be factors that aren’t known to you so have a plan B in place. It may be that a raise is possible further down the line, but the timing isn’t right now.  

You need to know the point, you want to walk away from negotiations. Consider what you want to do if the answer is no or the figure is much lower than what you had in mind.  Consider the whole package including the working environment, benefits and job role. Is this enough to make you stay without a pay increase?

If the company won’t pay you what you’re worth, looking elsewhere may be the best option. But don’t burn your bridges just yet. You still want to keep working with this person for now so staying positive throughout the conversation is important.

Once you’ve successfully negotiated a raise, make sure you get a written confirmation of all the details including how your responsibilities will increase.