How to Negotiate Your Way into Higher Salary

I get asked this question all the time; ‘I’ve applied for a new role but they’re not offering what I was expecting’ or ‘I want a promotion and to make more money’. How do we approach this conversation and begin to successfully negotiate our way into a higher wage?

In my experience, women tend to shy away from directly asking for what they want. Perhaps it’s our intrinsic design as ‘people pleasers’ which hinders a direct approach but we have to find a way to evolve beyond this mentality. The wage gap tells us that this genteel practice is not in our best interests...

When exploring new employment, it’s important that we remember; negotiation is a skill, a powerful one at that. Negotiating will not cause an employer to rescind the offer, in fact, most employers expect some form of negotiation. Here are some tips which have worked for me over the years;

Don’t under-estimate the power of likeability

It’s simplistic but effective. If someone likes you, they’re more likely to side with you. If you're respectful but firm, you can give the argument more weight. Be persistent but polite.

Negotiate the value of the entire deal, not just top-line salary

We value flexibility and freedom more now than ever. Consider the company’s culture, benefits, bonus, pension/401(k), stock options, healthcare. I had an operation last year to treat rabidly painful endometriosis; the level of care and attention from start to finish was great because my company offers world-class healthcare. It turned a potentially scary process into a low stress, relatively comfortable experience. Be sure to negotiate a comprehensive package that is conducive to your happiness, mental health and wellbeing.

Internal negotiation

Do the research! Understand your company’s pay structure and the market rate for that role. Your HR team and the ye old internet should be able to offer additional support too. I’ve shared a few resources at the end of this article that have been helpful in the past. Anchor high, don’t be afraid to quote a higher but realistic number. I usually start around 25% - 40% higher than my benchmarked expectation, allowing for plenty of wiggle room.

Build a business case

You’re being paid to do what you’re doing now. Help the company understand why you deserve what you’re requesting. Build a rock-solid case on how you've excelled, gone above and beyond the role to warrant additional responsibility and compensation.

Once you’ve managed to agree on an offer, shake hands, express your excitement at joining the new team or securing the promotion and for heavens sakes, get the offer in writing!

Remember; when someone says no, what they’re saying is “No - given how I see the world today.” Good luck - happy learning and earning.

Written by Mary Ball


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