Salary discussions can be tricky. When you go for a job, you don’t want to undercut your experience or skills, but you don’t want to throw yourself too high either.
Likewise, if you are employed and requesting a raise, you want to give yourself the best chance of success.
Proposing the right salary can be a delicate task, but proper preparation and a catchy pitch will help increase your chances of success.
Here are some tactics to help you get the salary you want.
Factors Affecting a Salary Range
“The more people ask about your skills, the more eager a hiring manager is to secure your signature,” said Andrew Brushfield, director at Robert Half Australia. Brushfield adds that if you are going to ask for a higher starting salary, you should be able to explain clearly – ideally with evidence and examples – why it makes sense to pay you more.
“Employers may be interested in your level of experience, qualifications, and educational background, plus your ability to sell, your industry contacts and personal customers, and maybe even your knowledge of competitors,” says Brushfield. “The more fact-based your submission is, the more likely the employer will be comfortable with your request.”
How to get the best salary result
Do your research on market rates and be ready to talk about your salary requirements and why you are asking for a particular figure or range.
The best way to work this out is to look at what people who fill similar roles get paid. Discover fast-growing salaries in your industry and search online for salary information that can help you understand the latest salary benchmarks and trends and make comparisons.
“Arm yourself with information by researching friends in your industry and looking at salary guides to assess your market rate,” says Brushfield. “If you do your research, you’ll be better equipped to negotiate.”
Before you talk about money, Brushfield recommends putting yourself in the shoes of an employer. “If you wait until you’ve proven your worth as a serious prospect, you’ll probably get the best results,” he says.
To give you an idea of what your position typically pays, take a look at the average salaries for jobs advertised on SEEK. Enter your role title below to start exploring.
Enter a range
If you’re asked to suggest a salary, don’t include a specific figure. Take advantage of your research and provide a preferred salary instead. “A range doesn’t hold you to a concrete number,” says Brushfield. “You want to leave some flexibility to negotiate if the employer’s offer is below your expectations.”
Employers can also search for candidates through the salary listed in their SEEK profile. By adding a desired salary to your profile, employers will know your worth before contacting a relevant vacancy.
While it can be tempting to aim high when proposing a salary, it’s important to be reasonable. Going well beyond the comparable salaries you found in your research can make it harder for you.
“If you’re negotiating a higher starting salary, you could endanger your position altogether, because the job will go to someone else,” Brushfield says. “You also need to be wary of pricing yourself out of the market for new jobs.”
Consider other incentives
Pay is undoubtedly one of the most important components of a compensation package, but consider alternative or additional workplace incentives that you would be happy to accept. “Special features, such as flexible working hours, extra time off and professional development opportunities, are in demand among employees,” says Brushfield. Think about what is important to you besides money, what benefits you would like to have and what this could be worth.
Choose your time
When applying for a new position, it’s important to be ready at the right time to discuss your salary expectations, usually after you’ve demonstrated your suitability for the job, but before signing a contract.
But opportunities can also arise for current employees during performance appraisals or at the end of major projects. Prepare for what you’re going to say when you ask for a raise by looking back at what you’ve accomplished in the past 12 months.
“Give concrete examples of why you deserve a higher salary, such as how your actions have benefited the company and the results of your efforts,” says Brushfield. “If you can prove your impact on the bottom line, the chances of a higher salary will improve.”
Discussing money and salary expectations can be nerve-wracking, especially if you don’t feel prepared. But by researching what similar roles pay, preparing for salary discussions, and considering other benefits, you’ll have a better idea of where you stand and be ready to maximize your chances of getting the salary you’re seeking.