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How to Negotiate Your Salary

Get paid your worth!

a close-up of British pound notes in cash representing someone's salary

Whether you're already in role or you're in the process of applying for a position, there's nothing worse than feeling like you're being under-compensated. It sends a signal that you're not valued, that you're being taken for granted, and it feels rubbish.

There's a way to approach this so that doesn't happen, and you get paid your worth. I once landed a £30k pay-rise when moving from one company to another, and I see examples all the time of people asking for what they deserve and getting it!

Here are my top 5 tips for navigating this conversation so you can get paid what you deserve!

Salary Negotiation Tip #1 - Do Your Prep

Don't go into the conversation without knowing what your market rate is.

You want data on your side.

Now, this can be taken with a pinch of salt, because the market rates will be averages and not taking into account your specific years of experience etc.

However, as a rule of thumb, it's helpful to get clear on this first.

In order to research the market rate for your role at your level, try these websites:

If you're already in-role, you should also find out where you sit against the internal company pay-scale.

This should really be published in your organisation and transparent for employees to see.

Are you below the median? Are you at the bottom of that pay-scale? How many years would it take you, assuming an annual increase of 2-3% pay, to inch towards the median of the pay-scale?

Understanding this gives you some decent ammunition for a negotiation.

Salary Negotiation Tip #2 - Consider Timing

If you're in-role already, consider the timing of your request. There's no point bringing this up after the annual pay and bonus cycle has just closed. They will say that they can't do out-of-cycle pay increases and that will be that.

(Side note: Having worked in HR for 15 years, it's always possible for them to do out-of-cycle pay-rises, and they do in exceptional circumstances, but they are going to hide behind the policy to rebuff you).

Be strategic about the wider timing of when you raise this.

  • Not when the pay cycle has just ended

  • Not when they've just announced a bunch of cut-backs and redundancies

  • Not when your manager is super stressed and only has 5 minutes for a chat

Choose your moment wisely, and plan your meeting.

  • Set up a specific meeting, don't add it onto the agenda of a regular 1:1

  • Ensure you have time have a proper discussion - don't rush it into 15 mins

  • Book a room, don't have this meeting in a shared break-out space where you'll be interrupted by passers-by

Salary Negotiation Tip #3 - Negotiate Well

This isn't a battle, and your manager/hiring manager isn't your enemy.

You want to be well-compensated, and they want to retain/hire you, so it's mutually beneficial for all parties to feel good about this.

If you're asking for a pay-rise in-role, remind yourself that this isn't going to happen overnight. You need to work with your manager to ensure you are on the right path to getting what you want, whilst understanding that this may take several months. Don't bring an attitude of entitlement, 'I expect this in the next week or I quit'. No, ask how you can work together to get you where you need to be.

If you're going through a recruitment process, they will try to get you to say your current salary first. Try to avoid this, as it may be that you're currently underpaid and you don't want them to just add £5k onto that pay.

Instead, try saying something like this:

"Whilst I'm happy to discuss the specifics of compensation as we get further down the process and the full scope of the role responsibilities are clear, for now I'd love to know what budget you have allocated for this position".

They have thrown you the ball, but you're throwing it back into their court.

If they really, really won't proceed without knowing your current salary, you can of course decide to disclose it. You might say:

"My current total reward package is £X, however I'm currently interviewing for roles between ranges of £Y-Z, in line with my market value and experience I bring to this position".

Salary Negotiation Tip #4 - Think of the Whole Package

Let's say you have made your request for higher base pay, and it's just not going to happen. Don't give up there!

Zoom out and think about the whole package.

There's so much else that can be incorporated into a benefit negotiation.

  • Access to wider benefits such as healthcare or pension contributions

  • Sponsorship for higher education such as an MBA

  • Your bonus (either annual or joining bonus)

  • Access to resources such as a PA

  • Your working arrangements

  • Your time off

What might they have wiggle room to negotiate on?

Salary Negotiation Tip #5 - Manage Your Mindset

Remember, you're not on the back-foot here, asking for a favour. The energy you're bringing to this discussion is one of calm confidence. You have demonstrable experience, it's worth £X, and that's what you're asking for.

If you feel yourself slipping into the position of a supplicant, asking for scraps and being grateful for what they offer, stop and check yourself. Take a deep breath, and remember that you deserve this.

Still not sure?

Watch my free Webinar - How to Negotiate Your Salary - for even more insight into getting the compensation you deserve!

Always on your side,

CEO and Founder, Clarity Coaching with Louise


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