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Dos and don’ts for successfully negotiating your salary and benefits

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We could all do with a little extra money in our bank accounts, but negotiating salary can feel overwhelming. Between researching pay scales, knowing how much to ask for and determining your take-home pay, there’s a lot to consider, and that’s all before you have the awkward conversation with your boss.

Being capable and confident enough to negotiate a higher salary is a skill every employee should have. Your salary not only pays the bills, but it’s also the way your employer shows how much they value you and your work. When you’re poorly paid, you’re more likely to feel underappreciated, often leading you to move on to a new company in the hope that they will see what you’re worth. Here, we explore some of the dos and don’ts to successfully negotiate your salary and benefits. 

Dos

Start by doing your research on the topic. Find out what the typical salary is in your field and location for someone with the level of experience you have. Resources like PayScale and Glassdoor may be helpful for this, or if you have a good network of people in your industry, don’t be afraid to ask around. 

Consider your take-home pay before accepting a salary offer. Your overall salary will be lower once tax, national insurance and pension contributions have been deducted. You will also have to factor in the cost of travelling to work if you drive or take public transport. 

Remember to ask about benefits. Your salary is one component of your total compensation, so don’t just focus on that number. To make an informed decision, you should consider the salary along with any benefits and bonuses too. 

Leaflet specialist instantprint surveyed 1,000 UK employees to find out how many of them take advantage of perks at work and which benefits they would most like to have to complement their “new normal” working arrangements. It found that flexible working hours and flexibility in working location were key factors for 45% and 32% of respondents, respectively. Other valued perks include dental care (43%) and bonus schemes (28%). 

Don’ts

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Never initiate a negotiation when you’re feeling particularly emotional. Displaying anger, frustration or aggrievement will more likely hinder than help your case. Many employers are open to a salary negotiation and will be happy to listen to you, so go in with a positive attitude and an open mind. 

Don’t assume you have to give an exact number. It will be more beneficial to you to start a salary request in the form of a range. This will ensure you don’t price yourself too low or too high and will also show you’re open to negotiate. 

Don’t accept the offer immediately. It’s perfectly acceptable to take some time to consider your options and make sure it’s the right decision for you. Usually, a 24-hour period will be given for you to accept, reject or counter an offer. Ask your employer or the hiring manager when they expect an answer by and ensure you respond within the agreed timeframe.