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How to negotiate a higher salary

Negotiating a higher salary can be a daunting conversation to have whether it is at the time of interview or during a pay review.

If you are not prepared with a compelling argument as to why you deserve more than is on offer you may be disappointed when it comes to finalizing your contract.

Professionals are increasingly developing their skill sets and recognizing their potential to earn a competitive salary. It is important to make sure that you show employers that you have firm reasoning behind your desire to negotiate a higher salary.

We look at the key aspects surrounding negotiation to ensure that you are fully prepared.

Research the market rate

Researching the market rate for someone in your role and how you compare is generally a good starting point in your preparation. The Robert Walters Salary Survey is a comprehensive set of data that highlights global salaries across a variety of sectors and is a useful tool to utilize.

“Remember that your recruitment consultant deals with this sort of information on a daily basis, so do ask them for advice," said Martin Fox, Managing Director at Robert Walters. 

"As specialists in their field, they will have the most current and accurate market knowledge to assist candidates negotiating their salary.” 

Keep it confidential

When you first raise the matter, do it discreetly and away from your colleagues. Booking half an hour with your line manager in a private meeting room is better than a ‘quick word’ because it allows you to outline exactly why you deserve a higher rate discussing each reason in detail.

It is important to never discuss your salary over the desk with your colleagues as it appears highly unprofessional and may hinder your opportunity to negotiate a pay rise.

Be confident

During the discussion, you need to present a clear and confident argument for your pay rise. This will primarily come down to the amount and type of preparation you have put into the meeting.

“Unless you genuinely believe you deserve more money, you will have trouble convincing your manager,” continued Fox.

It is also important not to get agitated when your manager questions your arguments or shows some sign of disagreement with what you are saying. Throughout the meeting, you need to demonstrate clear understanding of your employer and where you fit in the organization and the role and how your skills are relevant to it.

Take on more

Remember that your recruitment consultant deals with this sort of information on a daily basis, so do ask them for advice. As specialists in their field, they will have the most current and accurate market knowledge to assist candidates negotiating salary.

Taking on more responsibility in your role can help secure a higher salary. You will be doing more work for the same money whilst also showing your interest to grow outside of the current job specification and develop your skill set. Employers usually value this ambition and are generally keen to retain people with this quality.

Up-skill yourself

Professionals that proactively up-skill through extra training, courses and gaining additional qualifications really make themselves stand out. It is important to note that any up-skilling is relevant to the role otherwise it will not have nearly as much impact when you use at as a reason for a higher rate.

Work experience or internships

If you are in between roles, be open to work experience and internships to gain exposure to different ways of working than you are used to.

Fox continued, “working for reduced or no income is a powerful indicator of your willingness to learn and future ambition and can be used as a selling point in interview or when rates are being negotiated further down the line.”


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