|NICE NEGOTIATING: Negotiating with your future employer|
on salary doesn't have to be a tense moment
Negotiating for a better salary may feel forward, but it’s very important to your career. About half of all new employees never negotiate their salary, but one study conducted by George Mason University and Temple University found that negotiating just $5,000 more for a starting salary was worth more than $600,000 over the course of a career. Although the difference between $50,000 and $55,000 might not seem like much, it adds up in the long run.
Salary negotiation seems to be something that comes easier to older male workers. Fifty-five percent of workers 35 or older typically negotiate the first offer, while only 45 percent of workers ages 18-34 do the same. Men (54 percent) are slightly more likely than women (49 percent) to negotiate first offers, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington. But this is a skill that everyone can benefit from.
So how do you go about negotiating your salary? First, be prepared. Know the value of the position to the organization and industry. Is it a position the company could fill easily, or does it require a specific set of skills that only a certain group of workers possess?
Next, research what salary ranges are appropriate for the position’s industry, level, and location. Use other job postings, salary statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ data, and information from the Department of Labor to get a better understanding of what the going rates are for that job in your area.
When it comes to speaking with your future employer about the position, patience is important. Let the employer make the first offer, but don’t accept it right away. Instead, ask if that’s a firm offer. Remember to be positive, respectful, and confident, not arrogant.
If the employer has made it seem like there’s room for negotiation, you should always be prepared to follow up with a fair counteroffer. If you’re unsure, start with a range that’s about $5,000 above the initial offer. For instance, say “I was targeting a salary around $40,000-$42,000” or “I was looking for something closer to $65,000-$67,000.” Choose your words carefully to let them know you’re very interested in the position and open to negotiation to come to a fair deal.
The key to negotiating is always knowing your acceptable range and sticking to it, without being rude or making demands. But there are also a few times you shouldn’t try to negotiate. These include:
- If you know the acceptable range for your position and the employer has offered the highest amount.
- If the employer has said that the offer is firm and there’s no room for negotiation.
There’s more to be said here, and we will follow this post up with information on how to negotiate your benefits package.