How much should I get paid? 3 tips to consider before a negotiation

By Robert Half 18 March 2018

“What am I worth?” “How much should I get paid?”

While not always a straightforward question to answer, in the pursuit of a pay rise and improved benefits, you need to be able to answer these questions competently, regardless of the industry you work in, or the seniority of your role. Because whenever a salary negotiation takes place, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

To boost your confidence and give yourself the best chance of success, follow these three key tips:

1. Know what you’re negotiating

There are several occasions when salary negotiations take place. These differ significantly and will impact how you approach the conversation:

a) When accepting a job
In the process of accepting a new role at an organisation, you can enter into negotiation if the initial salary or package offered is not deemed sufficient or has not been discussed yet. In some cases, it may not be a case of asking for more money, but rather for a reallocation of elements within a salary package, such as flexible leave, a company car, or health insurance.

b) During an employee performance review
If you’ve achieved personal and organisational goals in the workplace, it’s likely that you are eligible for a pay rise at your next performance review. Here, the degree to which you’ve achieved goals will determine the salary increase. For example, if you fulfilled all your goals you may be eligible for a 5% salary increase, but if you exceeded them, you may be eligible for a more, or even a promotion to a more senior responsibility.

c) Ad hoc salary negotiations
If you’ve been a consistent high achiever or your role responsibilities have changed, and you’ve gone without a salary increase for more than 12 to 18 months, it’s probably time to meet with your manager and talk about a pay rise. Allow adequate time for this meeting, and come prepared with a compelling case and examples of why you’re deserving of a salary increase.

2. Key considerations

It’s helpful to know the issues that will have an influence on your salary negotiation. Whenever you decide it’s time to have this important, career-shifting conversation, make sure you have a grasp of these important matters:

What you have to offer

Be clear on the key skills and experiences you bring to the role and organisation and how they contribute to what you’re asking for. Always provide evidence and examples of your achievements, identifying what makes them unique. How did you answer the question “How much should I get paid?” for yourself? Detail your thinking clearly and thoroughly so your managers understand your rationale.

Economic climate and market trends

Sometimes issues and trends external to your organisation can have a profound effect on your salary negotiations. Market inflation, a change in industry legislation or general economic downturn are all occurrences that could affect a salary negotiation. Get in the know by consulting Robert Half’s Salary Guide.

Remember you’re on the same side as the employer

It can be easy to think of salary negotiations as challenging debates with prospective employers or existing managers. However, it’s important to remember that in both cases, employers and employees are seeking the same outcome. That is, capable, happy staff who are paid adequately and competitively for their work.

3. So, how much should I get paid?

When settling on a specific amount you believe you’re worth, research is your best friend. Confidently knowing what average industry salaries look like, the economic climate in which you operate and the hiring trends that affect your role are essential to successful salary negotiations.

That’s where Robert Half’s Salary Guide comes in. It provides comprehensive information and data about salaries for a range of industries across Australia, detailing growth figures for individual roles. Get to know some of the key data so that next time you have to negotiate your salary, you’re perfectly prepared.

Knowing how much you’re worth and being prepared to negotiate a salary with prospective employers or managers is an important part of developing and growing your career. It’s a skill that can be easily learned and finessed, even if it seems daunting initially. Following these simple tips will ensure the next time you ask, “How much should I get paid?”, you can answer knowledgeably and with conviction.

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