Whether you’re a young professional looking to take the next step or an experienced hand ready to discuss a better deal, you shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate your salary with an employer.
Time will come when you feel like you’re crushing your job and the pressures of your responsibilities aren’t fairly represented in your salary. When this happens it’s important to approach the issue with the grace and confidence it merits.
In this article, we explore how to successfully negotiate your salary like a boss and help get more from your career.
Know your value (and professional worth)
There is nothing wrong with asking for more so long as you feel you deserve it. While your current or prospective employer might seem tight-fisted when it comes to handing out pay rises and salary perks, you should never allow yourself to be knowingly underpaid.
Nevertheless, salary is a difficult conversation many professionals tend to avoid. After all, money is a tough subject for employees to speak up about and even tougher for employers to recognise and take action on.
Negotiating salary is about speaking from a place of confidence — and the best way to do this is to first know your professional worth. Knowing your value on the job market is important for ensuring you receive a fair and competitive wage from your employers
One way to inform your professional value is to research the average national wage for people in similar roles. For example, leading careers site Glassdoor suggest your average copywriter should be earning around £28,000, which can increase to about £43,000 in the current market:
To further narrow down your expected salary, many careers sites also offer salary calculators to establish a more focused range of pay. These tools use your current job title, location and professional experience to provide a custom estimate based on your professional profile.
When negotiating salary, use your research as a guideline and suggest a salary range rather than a fixed figure — this puts you in a strong negotiating position and helps you find a place of compromise more easily.
Get your timing right
Timing plays a key role in negotiating a new salary — and in some respect, deciding when to ask your employers about salary is equally important as honing your negotiation skills. Choose a bad time and your request might be brushed aside or completely forgotten; get your timing right and you could end your day with a positive agreement in place.
Here are some scenarios that leave you in good stead for negotiating salary:
- Getting the job
- Receiving a promotion
- Achieving further qualifications
- Adopting new responsibilities
However, no set timetable dictates when you can negotiate salary with an employer. Instead, it’s important to have an honest conversation with yourself and understand whether you want a little more from your career. From rising demand for work to professional experience outgrowing your paycheck, salaries are in constant flux and you should make no apologies for wanting to stay competitive in your industry.
Be flexible and consider salary sacrifice
Want more from your career, but your employer isn’t budging on pay? There are many ways you can extract more value from your salary package in lieu of a bolstered paycheck.
We spend much of our working life climbing the career ladder, so it’s unsurprising pay rises and base salary increases are top of mind for hard-working professionals. But that’s not all.
In recent years, the concept of salary sacrifice has become much more popular — an arrangement where you reduce entitlement to cash pay in return for a non-cash benefit.
Here are some tax-free perks employers tend to offer as salary sacrifice:
- Company cars schemes
- Childcare vouchers
- Cycle-to-works programmes
- Additional pension contributions
These perks can be incredibly beneficial, allowing you further flexibility and better quality of life — and they can tot up to a very reasonable cash equivalent.
Salary sacrifice is appealing to workers because it makes for a more rounded employment package, but it certainly isn’t for everyone. At the crux of it all, sacrificing salary means you earn less money, which could affect mortgage applications and your state pension.
It’s one thing to accept perks instead of extra pay, but it’s a whole other to allow employers to undermine the value of a fair and competitive wage. After all, your salary could be the difference between buying and renting — or supporting your family and paying the bills.
Talking salary with your employer is all about being confident and fair. It’s not about being demanding, but simply gracious in what you believe you’re worth. From understanding your professional value and getting the timing right to showing a willingness to compromise, get the most from your career by negotiating salary (and job perks) like a boss.