Negotiating Salary: When To, When Not To & How To

13 January, 2017
Jasmine Sherman

Negotiating Salary: When To, When Not To & How To

13 January, 2017
Negotiating salary with your employer can be pretty daunting, especially when it’s your first graduate job. It’s important you feel valued though and if you’ve been working hard, know your skills are developing constantly and your job description has changed a lot without seeing any change of pay, maybe it’s time to ask.

When to vs. When not to

First off, know where you sit in your performance across all areas of job description. If you’re exceeding all expectations in one area but letting other areas drop off or doing the bare minimum, this probably won’t hack it. Be aware that if you do ask for a higher salary you will be expected to shoulder the extra responsibilities this requires.

Before you go into it, it’s important to have a good grasp of what you’d be being paid for a similar job somewhere else (of a similar industry and size, of course). What would your skills and experience be valued somewhere else? If it’s a similar figure you’re currently on, it may not be the time to ask, but if it’s more, this is something you can bring to your employer.

So when you’ve fully assessed and decided you should be opening up the discussion about your salary, when is the best time to do it? A performance review is the time it is most likely to come up naturally. If you expected it to and it didn’t or the wait until your next one is just too long, take a little while to reflect on the feedback you’ve recently received then schedule the meeting yourself.

How to

This brings us onto how exactly the discussion should go down- And note the word discussion, don’t expect to go in stating your case in an ‘all or nothing’ manner and expect to get exactly what you want. It’s likely to require more give and take than that.

Have your proposition ready to present in a structured and logical way. Set out what it is you think is a reasonable ask, why it is, what you’ve done to warrant it and how you’re going to continue to grow. Sticking to this ‘why, what, how’ structure will keep you focused and on topic. Remember to keep it about what you can do for them, rather than what they can do for you.

Consider your tone when approaching your manager and what you know they’ll be the most responsive to. Look at what their management style is and consider how they are likely to react to certain This one really is down to the individual you’re going to be dealing with.

Finally, it’s important you’re prepared for rejection and how to bounce back from it. If it’s a no, at least you’ve opened up the discussion about what you need to do to get there, spend time coming up with an action plan together with clear objectives for you to work towards hitting.

Don’t be tempted to make it an ‘all or nothing’ deal, only if you’re unable to have a constructive conversation about what to do moving forwards should you consider it might not be the place for you.

Reviewing where you are in your performance will never be a waste of time, whether a discussion about your salary comes out of it or not. Look at how you’re doing, what you could be doing and where you want to be heading. Having ambition and a good work ethic will get you far as a graduate in the world of work. Keep it up.


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