Understanding how to negotiate a salary is a vital skill for anyone looking to secure a better package in a new or existing role. According to findings by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), average earnings in Ireland grew by 2 per cent in 2022.
Although this increase may seem modest, it’s a positive sign that job seekers and employees have some clout when it comes to steering their earning potential. However, relatively few professionals actually negotiate during the interview stage. This not only limits initial take-home salaries but also impacts lifetime career earnings.
Here at H-Training, we’ve been offering unrivalled career services since 1989. Whether you’re looking to secure a rewarding new role or negotiate your salary with an existing employer, we’re here to help. Ready to see how much you’re really worth? Our guide has everything you need to know before kicking off salary negotiations with hiring managers or your current employer.
How to Negotiate A Salary: How Much Are You Worth?
This is, without a doubt, the most important of all salary negotiation tips. Unless you have a handle on how much value you can bring to a company, you’ll struggle to arrive at a figure that’s reflective of your skills. Overestimate your worth and you’ll quickly find yourself passed over in favour of other candidates. Undervalue your skills and you may spend years chasing a salary that’s more appropriate for your skill levels.
Fortunately, salary research isn’t that difficult. Carrying out some due diligence before you progress to the interview stage will put you in good stead. Even if you’re not interested in pursuing similar opportunities elsewhere, determine what other companies are paying for similar roles. Having this benchmark figure at your disposal won’t just guide you when searching for well-paying positions. It will also provide you with quantifiable evidence you can use to bolster your argument when pushing for a higher starting salary.
Online salary calculators are also useful, especially if you’re a new starter with minimal experience in the hiring process. These tools aren’t an exact science but will grant you a fairly reliable estimate of the kind of salary your skills and experience are deserving of.
Finally, ensure you’re pooling all the information you gather for later reference. This includes industry averages, starting offers from rival companies, as well as salary estimates. Generally speaking, most candidates don’t aim to negotiate for more than a 10 per cent rise on an advertised salary, but having evidence to back up your argument will increase the odds of you landing a generous premium.
How to Handle Salary Negotiations: Things to Avoid
Facts and figures go a long way in strengthening an argument for a pay bump, but understanding how to bring up salary negotiation delicately is often more important. When it comes to negotiating salary, you’ll need to maintain an air of confidence. However, there’s a difference between assured delivery and aggressive discussion.
Keeping your cool at this early stage is vital, particularly if you’re pursuing a position with a new employer. Even if a job offer looks to be set in stone, an ill-judged approach to salary negotiation will paint you in a bad light. If there are others still in the running at this point, an aggressive approach is a surefire sign to employers that you’re a less desirable candidate. Furthermore, even a formal offer can be withdrawn entirely.
Another thing to bear in mind when mastering how to negotiate a salary is to ditch negative language from your vocabulary. Affirmative language will always go over better during an interview or salary negotiation. Never outright dismiss or refuse during dialogue. Doing so will make you seem rigid and unable to accept compromise. Embrace the spirit of cooperation when negotiating salary. Instead of simply saying “no” or being offended by a number, courteously acknowledge the offer before giving a figure you’re more comfortable with.
Similarly, avoid apologising when tackling salary negotiations. Many people are uncomfortable asking for more money, even if they know they’re worth the premium. Don’t preempt your proposal by apologising for it. This not only suggests you lack confidence but also strengthens the idea that your proposal is an unacceptable demand. Interview coaching can be useful for jobseekers lacking confidence or those unfamiliar with how to negotiate a salary.
The final thing to consider is that a salary doesn’t represent the full raft of benefits offered by an employer. In addition to baseline take-home salary, there may be additional perks offered. These can include healthcare employee benefits, generous annual leave allowance, and more. Combined, these benefits may far outweigh the slight salary rise you’re looking for.
Essential Salary Raise Negotiation Tips
Need some guidance on how to negotiate a salary? Below, we explore some of the most useful tips and techniques you can employ for securing a salary that’s reflective of your skills and talents.
1. Never Lay Your Cards on the Table
One of the key aspects of understanding how to negotiate a salary is knowing when to actually discuss numbers. In many cases, the first mention of salary expectations will be during a job interview. Even if a job advertisement has mentioned a suggested salary, this question is likely to come up again when you’re sitting across from a company representative.
There’s no such a thing as a throwaway response here. Ultimately, your answer will be a deciding factor on how the company will progress with your application. If you’ve undervalued yourself and progress to the next stage, there’s little chance of you clawing your way back and arriving at a more generous offer. The best advice is to reply with a general answer. Say you’re looking for a competitive rate of pay or a salary that’s in line with the industry average.
2. Reference Your Achievements
Industry averages and the latest figures are good to have at your disposal when discussing salary, but you’ll also want to demonstrate the value you can bring to a company. If you’re looking to negotiate a pay increase with a current employer, demonstrating your achievements and the added value you have brought to the company is an effective way of securing a salary increase.
If you’re pursuing a position with a new employer, use these achievements as case study examples. Using quantifiable evidence to illustrate your success will showcase your strengths and set you apart from other candidates.
3. Take Your Time
There’s a sense of urgency surrounding salary negotiations. However, it’s important you don’t rush into a response when presented with an offer. If you’re pursuing a new position and have been given a formal offer, take a step back and weigh up your options.
Compare the quoted salary to industry averages, factoring in things like healthcare benefits and annual leave allowance. This is going to take more than a couple of hours, so acknowledge the initial offer with an email before responding with a more informed response later.
4. Think Carefully Before Throwing Out a Number
When thinking about how to negotiate a salary, most people tend to pick a number they think an employer will be comfortable with. In many cases, this involves tossing out a figure that’s only slightly higher than the bare minimum they’re willing to accept. The problem with this approach is that you leave yourself a little leeway.
It’s almost guaranteed that an employer will respond with a counteroffer. If this revised offer still falls short of your expectations, you’ll have no more leverage to work with. To avoid this scenario, aim high when negotiating a salary. Even if you’re quoting a top-end figure that’s not accepted, you’ve left yourself plenty of room for manoeuvre.
When making a salary request, it also pays to be specific. Avoid falling into the trap of leaning on benchmark figures and rounding up to the nearest thousand. In Ireland, the average weekly salary is €847.21, or approximately €44,202 a year. Saying you’d be happy with a salary of €45,000 might seem like the way to go, but you’ll have better luck by quoting a more exact figure like €44,800.
5. Timing is Everything
Looking to land a raise in a current position? Make sure you’re timing your request perfectly. External factors alone aren’t enough to warrant a pay rise. Ultimately, it’s your performance in a role that will determine whether or not an employer deems you deserving of a raise or not.
You should wait at least 12 months after your hiring date before broaching the subject of salary increases. Ideally, you should be able to demonstrate constituted success in your role to justify an increase.
Fall back on facts and figures again for this. Have you been exceeding the expectations laid out in your remit? Have you been taking on increased responsibility? Use all of this to bolster your argument for a salary increase.
6. There Are Other Ways to Negotiate
Sometimes, companies themselves aren’t in a position to offer salary increases. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t secure yourself a better deal. Instead of bulking your take-home pay, consider other ways your employer can enrich your current package.
Perhaps your company can offer you further training or a place in an internal development program. You may also be able to secure a more generous annual leave arrangement.
7. Know When to Call it Quits
Sometimes, even the best-laid plans don’t yield the results you’re looking for. If an existing employer consistently refuses to consider a salary increase, take this as a sign that your skills may be better utilised elsewhere. If you’re still exploring the job market, knowing when to call it quits during a negotiation is even more important.
If you sense a hiring manager or company representative isn’t going to offer anything close to your minimum salary requirements, step away and redirect your efforts back into your job search.
Looking for Salary Negotiation Guidance?
Finding it difficult to negotiate a salary that’s in line with your skillset and experience? Here at H-Training, we offer career coaching and salary negotiation support that can help you secure a more lucrative package. As well as providing career guidance for adults, we also offer a full range of corporate services for employers.
Are you a corporate client looking for unrivalled insights? At H-Training, we offer everything from sales training to emotional intelligence assessment guidance. Furthermore, we can help you make the shortlisting process as streamlined as possible, with unmatched insights into corporate group interview training and interview panel training.