Unless you’ve been avoiding the news, chances are you know that the U.S. is currently dealing with record-high inflation. In fact, one study reported by CNBC states that the average U.S. household needs “…an additional $341 a month to purchase the same goods and services compared to a year ago.”
While many people started hobbies and side hustles to make a little extra cash during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the gig economy is becoming less about extra money in your pocket for fun expenditures and more of a necessity just to get by. This is why job seekers need to pocket the right salary negotiation tools before accepting their new employment offer.
These tips can help you do just that:
People don’t apply to jobs for the fun of it. If they did, they wouldn’t care how much they took home after a week’s worth of work. Rather, they’re applying for a job that will help them provide a roof over their head and put food on the table. Especially, in rougher times like we’re dealing with right now, many new employees may accept a company’s offer without any regard as to whether or not the salary aligns with their educational background and experience.
This is where research comes in.
When you’re interviewing for a job, you should already know what a competitive rate for your position is. In order to do this, you need to look into three main categories: your experience level, skill set, and job location. Thankfully, there’s an easy way to go about this.
You can easily check out payscale tools, like this one on Glassdoor to get a better idea of what the going rate for your job level is. Online tools like this allow you to input background information such as your experience, what the job entails, and where you’re located. Let’s say you’re applying for a Social Media Manager position in New Jersey. You have five years of experience working within the nonprofit sector. Based on this tool, your base pay will be, on average, around $53,000 a year, excluding cash bonuses, if applicable.
This information can give you a baseline of what someone with your background and experience is worth, so if your employer tries to offer you less, you can bring up this information to negotiate a higher salary.
While this goes hand in hand with the tactic mentioned above, having proof to back up your claims not only demonstrates your knowledge of the industry, but it helps steer the conversation forward.
While, of course, you can print out a copy of statistics if you choose, being able to reference where you obtained your information is usually sufficient enough. Many job boards offer salary transparency, so if you don’t feel comfortable using a payscale calculator like the one from Glassdoor, you should be able to see competitive rates other companies throughout your area are offering for the same position with similar educational/background experience.
It’s great to have confidence going into an interview, but you don’t want to cross a line and come across as too braggy, greedy, or self-involved. While understanding your worth is important, some job seekers make the mistake of telling their potential employer what they want and that they’re not willing to compromise.
Remember, this is a salary negotiation, so it involves a little wiggle room not only from your employer but from you, as well. Plus, keep in mind that actions like these can come across as rude and the whole point of landing a job in an interview stems from being likable.
Although this is one of the oldest tricks in the book, its legacy has lasted all this time because it works.
When you’re negotiating a higher salary, it’s always best to start with your highest (but realistic) salary demands and work your way down toward the middle. There’s a good reason for this.
See, in salary negotiations, employers will usually provide an offer that’s in the lower range of their budget. After all, the more money they can pocket, the larger profit they’ll see. The problem with this is that if they start out with a lower number, you only have so much wiggle room to provide a counteroffer. The goal of salary negotiation is ideally to find a compromise in the middle of the pay scale.
Generally speaking, negotiating a higher salary will depend on a few factors. For example, if your skills exceed the job responsibilities listed, you should ask for a salary that’s approximately 10-20% more than the initial offer. An example of this may be possessing a very in-demand skill such as website design or SEO, as having these skills in-house can save your employer money that they’d otherwise spend hiring third-party vendors. Something like this would be a great selling point to negotiate a higher salary.
During your initial salary negotiations, you have to be realistic about the possibility of them saying no. Remember, it’s not just employees who are being hit by the recession, but employers as well. With rising costs on goods, services, and employee perks, your employer simply may not be in a position to offer you more money, regardless of how good your arguments for it are.
However, that doesn’t mean you should take no as a defeat. Situations change over time, and while right now the cost to live is extraordinarily high, it will eventually go back down. Employers may find tax breaks that help put more money in their pocket, or you may prove yourself down the line as an invaluable part of the operations, making your manager more likely to give you the higher salary you initially requested.
Obtaining a higher salary after you accept the employment offer is possible. Continue to work hard and keep the line of communication between you and your boss open so you can negotiate a higher rate in a few months or when you feel doing so is appropriate.
Understanding Your Worth is Key to Getting a Higher Salary
Regardless of the industry you work in, understanding your worth is key to negotiating a higher salary with your employer. These tips can help make it happen, but remember, that these tactics will work at any point during your employment.
As you acquire more skills and expand your role in the company, opportunities for higher salaries are more prevalent. While asking for a higher salary isn’t always the most comfortable thing to do, remember that you’re entitled to earn a salary that aligns with your experience and what you bring to the table. Don’t undervalue your skills or yourself, both in life and at work.