Salary Negotiation

How to negotiate about your salary? - Is it allowed? What is the culture?


Once you know what you should be earning, how do you go about getting it? Start by being very patient. When interviewing for a new position, do your best not to bring up compensation until the employer makes you an offer. If you're asked what your salary requirements are, say that they are open based upon the position and the overall compensation package. Or tell the employer you'd like to know more about the responsibilities and the challenges of the job prior to discussing salary.


The salary negotiation is a tricky step for most job seekers. You don't want to undercut yourself, but you also need to determine how far you can push without offending hiring managers.


The most important thing you need to do before having salary negotiation is to determine the minimum and target numbers. When asked by hiring managers, give your target number, but also make it known that you can be "flexible for the right opportunity." The company will either give you what you want or a bit less (usually no more than 10% under what you stated). This all depends on the strength of the company. 


If you are in an entry-level position, employers will often use your salary history to determine how much you should get paid. Keep that in mind when deciding your target and minimum. If you are in high enough demand or have no fear of losing the offer, then by all means play a bit harder ball, don't disclose your salary info, don't give a number, throw out some high (borderline ridiculous) demand and let them bring you down, or any of the other slightly more reckless moves — but get ready to lose some offers that way. Decide for yourself, based on your own circumstances, how risky you can be."


Another option is to give the employer a salary range based upon the salary research you've done up front. Once you've received the offer you don't need to accept (or reject) it right away. A simple "I need to think it over" can get you an increase in the original offer.


And if you're ambivalent about the position a "no" can bring you a better offer too. I turned down a position I knew I didn't want, regardless of salary, and received three follow-up phone calls upping the compensation package. Be careful though, if you do definitely need that new job there's a risk that the employer may accept your declining the position and move on to the next candidate.

Which issues are key in negotiations? (Pension, working time, childcare, extra education, working from home, commuting cost--- more)

Concerning salary negotiation, it is important to know exactly what benefits you will be provided with and to get enough benefit information to ensure that the coverage is what you need. It is also much better to be fully informed before you accept a position than it is to have an unpleasant surprise later on. 


If you are in a higher-level position, keep in mind that many companies have a range they can pay you called "internal equity," which means that they're unable to offer you a salary so much higher than others in the same position or "so close to your superior's pay range that it becomes uncomfortable." In this case, you can try negotiating pension, working time, a signing bonus, childcare, extra education, working from home, commuting cost, future pay raises, vacation days, or other bonuses.


There are many different scenarios, as you can see, so it's important to review what benefit coverage is provided and to decide whether the employee benefit package is one that meets your needs. A great salary isn't always going to be enough to compensate for an employee benefit plan that doesn’t offer what you need.

In general, there are employee benefits questions you should ask, to ensure that your overall compensation plan is right for you and for your family. Also ask specific questions based on your needs and on the criteria that are important to you.

How to ask for a raise?

If you are currently employed and want a raise, start by being prepared. Gather your salary survey information, recent performance appraisals that document the job you're doing, and any other relevant information. Be aware of company policy regarding compensation. Some employers are limited by budget constraints and can only give raises at certain times of the year, regardless of the circumstances.


Have a clear idea of what you want. Determine the salary range you're looking for and justification for the increase and have both ready to review with your supervisor. Be flexible. Then, ask your supervisor for a meeting to discuss salary. Present your request, supported by documentation, calmly and rationally. Don't ask for an immediate answer. Your boss is mostly likely going to have to discuss it with Human Resources and/or other company managers.


Despite your best efforts, there may simply not be enough money in the budget to increase your salary or compensation package offer. The company may also not want to create inequities by paying one person more than others in a similar position. In that case, you can at least know you tried. Plus, if this is a job you really think that you're going to love, consider whether the company culture, the benefits, and the job itself are worth it - regardless of the salary.


Here are some tips for asking for a raise:

Review salary survey information. Check out salary surveys to see what your job is worth, review recent performance appraisals that document the job you're doing, and review any other relevant information that will support your request for a raise.

Be aware of company policy. Know your company policy regarding compensation. Some employers are limited by budget constraints and can only give raises at certain times of the year, regardless of the circumstances.

Know what you want. Have a clear idea of what you want. Know how much of a raise you're looking for and your justification for the increase and have both ready to review with your manager.

Be flexible. Would you consider an extra couple of weeks vacation instead of a raise? How about a flexible work schedule? Consider what might be a good alternative if the money isn't in the budget to give you a raise.

Request a meeting. Ask your manager if you can schedule a meeting to discuss salary.

How much are you worth?

Americans say that the most important factor in considering a job opportunity is salary. 89% of the respondents in one survey rated salary as being as most important when deciding whether to accept a job offer. In addition, more than 50% of the survey respondents believe they are underpaid.

Research Salaries

So, what to do? How can you tell if the job you've just been offered pays enough or if your current salary compares to the market rate? It's going to take some time and some research to equip yourself with the information you'll need to successfully negotiate the salary or raise you deserve.

So while you're conducting your job search, research salaries for the career field and the geographic area you're interested in. It's important to be prepared when a prospective employer asks you your salary expectations or makes you an offer. Even if you are contentedly employed, it makes sense to know what you should (or could) be earning.

Review Salary Surveys

Start by reviewing salary survey information. Wage Indicator Foundation is a good place to start. The online salary survey includes information of several major occupational divisions which include salary rate and hundreds of occupations.


Focused salary survey information delineated by industry and job function is also available online. Review several surveys to get an overall perspective of the career field you're interested in. Keep in mind that the cost-of-living varies widely throughout the country.


Enter some key words into's Pay Calculator and you might be surprised at what you find out. It's almost important to know what you need to make in order to pay your bills every month. Use this salary calculator, online cost-of-living analyses, and other compensation tools to determine how much that offer is actual worth. Then prepare to negotiate a salary both you, and your employer, will be comfortable with...