Getting paid what you’re worth is crucial to job satisfaction and long-term career success. But what if you need help approaching the conversation with your boss?
Employers typically present you with a verbal or written compensation package when you accept a new position. Salaries must match your sense of worth based on your education, skills, and experience.
Know Your Worth
You’ll have much more negotiating power at the bargaining table if you can articulate why you deserve a higher salary. Using a few solid examples, like the revenue you helped bring in or important goals you met, will help convince your employer that the extra money is worth it.
If you feel you are being underpaid, pause and step back to take an objective look at your situation. It’s helpful to consider why you want a raise — are you merely feeling undervalued, or do you genuinely think you aren’t being paid what you deserve? Assessing how your request fits into more extensive work and life aspirations is also helpful. If you’re asking for a raise to help pay for your children’s college education, it could be an easier sell than if you were seeking more cash to spend on your own.
As you research, try to come up with a specific number for your market value. This is better than a range because an employer will assume you’ve done your research and are confident in the number. She Negotiates, a website that helps women negotiate their salaries, recommends using a formula that includes your current salary plus your expected bonus and other compensation.
It would help if you were prepared to defend your salary request by preparing documentation for counterarguments. This might include printouts of salary information from online resources, an email thread of your key workplace achievements, or other tangible evidence that supports your request.
Getting paid what you’re worth is essential to your job satisfaction and financial stability. You deserve to be compensated fairly for your skills, experience, and contributions, and you can only do that by negotiating a fair salary.
The first step is gathering information to know what you want and need. You can start by asking around. Talk to friends and colleagues in similar fields, and consider joining online forums such as She Negotiates to ask questions and learn from others’ experiences. You can also use online tools, such as Indeed’s Salary Calculator, to get a personalized report of what other employees in your location are making for your type of position.
When preparing for your negotiation, remember that you’ll need to present a convincing argument as to why you feel you’re worth more than the company is offering. The key is to be confident and calm while presenting your case.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate — it can help you feel more secure in your position and allow you to work toward your career goals. Knowing how to arrange for fair earned wages will make you more likely to impact your workplace positively. If you’re ready to take on the challenge, check out this downloadable salary negotiation email template for ideas and guidance.
While you should research to determine your market value, it’s also important to be flexible during salary negotiation. Unless you walk into a negotiation with a concrete number (and data to back it up), the employer will set the pace for what they think is fair, which may not align with your view of your worth.
Instead, try to get a potential employer to name a number first. That way, you can gauge their resistance point and negotiate accordingly. If they give you a range, err on the side of the higher number so you will still be happy with your compensation even if they lower their offer.
If an employer firmly and flatly refuses to budge on your desired salary, don’t be afraid to ask for other forms of compensation. Benefits and perks such as extra vacation days, work-from-home options, and signing bonuses can be as valuable as a larger paycheck.
A great place to identify leverage points is through your interview process. For example, if you discuss similar projects or skills with your interviewers, you can use that information during negotiations to demonstrate your value. You can also use your research from Step 1 to bolster your arguments. Stanford Negotiation Professor Margaret A. Neale found that women who negotiate receive 7% more money than those who don’t.
Be Prepared for Pushback
In many cases, a job offer or promotion will come with several perks that can be negotiated in addition to salary. Whether it’s travel expenses, stock options, or flexible work hours, you can often impact your career satisfaction more by dealing with these other items than with salary alone.
Many women hesitate to negotiate because they’ve been taught it’s a hostile process, but this mindset can backfire and deter you from getting what you want. Instead, approach the conversation like a problem-solving opportunity, and you’ll likely find that employers are more willing to be flexible than you might expect.
A common trick is to mention that you’re open to discussing a higher number than they initially offered. If you do this, they’ll try to meet you in the middle by providing a number slightly above what you want. It’s a good idea to have multiple numbers ready for this scenario so that you can select the one you feel is most appropriate.
Be sure to include your research and reasoning in an email to the person you’re negotiating with, and don’t wait until you’ve already received a firm offer to ask for more. If you do, you might lose momentum in the negotiation, and the company may choose another candidate.