Closing the deal: How to effectively negotiate your salary


Through our research, we’ve found one in four employees would rather clean the house than ask their employer for a pay rise. Less still (18%) would rather look for job that guarantees a higher salary instead of making a case to their current manager. Since every professional is entitled to a competitive remuneration for a job well done, why not back yourself in a salary negotiation.

With less than six in 10 employees considering asking their employer for a payrise in the coming year, we’ve pulled together the core components necessary for an effective negotiation. And remember, the core principles of salary negotiation will stand you in good stead, whether it be to ask for higher pay with your current employer or negotiating a higher salary following a job offer.

Related: Take our Robert Half quiz today to find out how good you are at salary negotiation

Here are the core bases that you will need to cover when you negotiate a pay rise:

Conduct research
Be sure to enter negotiations with the most up-to-date information that the role or job title is commanding in the current recruitment climate. Use relevant industry remuneration surveys and publications, such as the Robert Half 2017 Salary Guide. The salary guide will offer you a view of not only the salary trends roles within finance and accounting are facing, but also the relative hiring trends faced by businesses. Also, it is worth considering asking previous colleagues or contacts in your professional network or your specialist recruitment consultant for their insight as well.

Outline your value
Be prepared to demonstrate your return on investment to a potential employer. Provide quantitative examples of your contributions to previous employers. For instance, maybe your quick identification of a payroll problem saved your company thousands of pounds. Quantifiable results like this help put you in a stronger position to negotiate your worth.

Present your expectations as a range

Rather than stating a specific figure that you would be willing to accept, consider putting forward a salary range where you would be open to negotiate. This shows your manager, or potential new manager, that you are being reasonable and would be willing to work with the employer to find a solution that works for both parties.

Patience can be key

If you do ask an employer to offer more money, it is unlikely they will agree to your request on the spot. It is entirely reasonable that they will need to go away and discuss this with their own managers following your meeting. They may even seek additional information from you to support your case, so always be prepared.

Look beyond salary
You’ve heard it before but the saying remains true: money isn’t everything. If an employer is unable to meet your request for additional pay, consider asking for other benefits. Consider what non-monetary benefits would make the difference for you? The opportunity for flexible working or additional pension contributions? Support for a professional qualification or additional training? More annual leave? More firms are willing to provide such things to secure top talent, especially when they can’t offer the desired level of pay.

Get it in writing
Once you agree to the terms, ask that a letter be drawn up, outlining the specifics of your negotiation – salary, benefits, the position’s title and key responsibilities, and any special arrangements that you both agreed on. Having everything in writing will prevent any potential misunderstandings later down the track.

And remember, few salary negotiations are positively swayed by overly aggressive tactics. Regardless of how the pay rise negotiations play out, remain professional and courteous at all times. While you may not get what you ask for, you can still walk away with dignity – and in the long run, that may prove far more valuable to you and your career than a larger pay slip right now.


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