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How to Negotiate a Higher Salary

Cailyn Cox

TaxCredits.net/Flickr TaxCredits.net/Flickr

In this cutthroat economy we could all benefit from a little extra income. If you feel that your job performance is worthy of a raise, you should consider negotiating for a higher salary. Here’s how to do it.

Overcome Your Fears

Many employees are reluctant to ask for an increase in salary for several reasons, including a lack of self-esteem, anxiety about getting turned down, and the worry that you might offend your boss by appearing unappreciative of the job that you have.

The first step in negotiating a pay raise is to overcome your fears and build up the courage to ask for one. Stop making excuses that the salary is good enough if it really isn’t.

Also, depending on how long you have been in the job, the time you have been employed should be a factor. If you have gone years without an increase then it’s time to stop being a doormat and do something about it.

Women are More Reluctant to Negotiate than Men

Women tend to be more reluctant to negotiate a higher salary than men, according to The Harvard Business Review.

The study suggests that only one in eight women will negotiate a higher salary when offered a job because of how they are treated when they negotiate.

The social cost of negotiating for pay for women - if the employer is less inclined to work with the employee after they negotiate - is a factor, while the same does not apply to men.

However, the reason that women are less likely to negotiate pay can also be because they are more aware of social cues and can read the interview environment better than men can, understanding that they would be unsuccessful in their attempts to negotiate for more money.

In some ways women do have an advantage over men though, thanks to their “feminine charm”, Business Insider reports. A study, 'Feminine Charm: An Experimental Analysis of Its Costs and Benefits in Negotiations', by Berkeley professor Laura Kray suggests that if you’re able to find the right balance between friendly and flirtatious behavior, then this can benefit your negotiation.

While such playful banter can make the negotiating counterpart feel good about themselves, there is a very fine line here, and you should be careful not to take it too far by gauging how the other person is reacting to the conversation.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Get

Asking for a pay raise is a necessary activity. According to an analysis by Salary.com via the Business Insider, avoiding it can cost as much as $1 million dollars over the course of your career.

Your employers won’t know that you want a promotion or a pay raise if you don’t put yourself out there. Of course, there is a possibility of getting turned down--but they may also then keep you in mind and come to a compromise in the future.

Showing your assertiveness and the fact that you're striving to do your best in the company may actually impress your employer. Remember, if you don’t ask, then there’s probably very little to no chance of getting a pay raise automatically.

Present Your Case

Even if you had the guts to do so, you can’t just barge into your employer's office and demand a higher salary without giving an explanation.

You need to have excellent, carefully planned reasons as to why you are deserving of a higher salary and what makes you valuable to the company. Consider these reasons before you present your case to your boss.

Clarify your professional worth, your experience and unique skills, the knowledge you have about the company, and how you can use this knowledge as an advantage for your future employer. Also demonstrate what makes you more valuable than other employees.

Your CV will show off many of your skills, but having an interview with a prospective employer gives you another chance to vocalize your worth.

Negotiate With Facts

It’s important to compare your position to others in the same industry and then compare your salary with the industry standards. When negotiating a higher salary, you should ask for something reasonable and fair that reflects your expertise.

It has been suggested that using a precise number during negotiations makes the negotiating counterpart more inclined to agree.

Explain to the negotiator why it is legitimate to ask for a higher salary and let them know that their perspective has been taken into account. You cannot ask for an unreasonable, under-researched figure - you’ll end up seeming greedy. Never ask for an amount above your market position’s worth.

Check your salary guides, talk to colleagues about what skills you have, talk to clients about what makes you valuable.

Practise Your Negotiation

We practise for interviews, so why wouldn’t we practise negotiation for a higher salary?

Stand in front of the mirror and make sure that you clearly communicate your reasons for wanting an increase, the amount you want and how you derived that particular figure (know the highest and lowest salary that you will accept) and treat the entire negotiation process as a business transaction.

Be confident and maintain eye contact throughout your meeting, because you are “selling yourself” to your employer. When preparing also consider that the answer may not be favorable, and be prepared to take this decision gracefully and professionally.

Be Patient

You cannot expect your employer to agree to your request straightaway, and you should allow them time to think it over, or possibly to renegotiate the terms with you. If your employer asks you questions then you should calmly and professionally answer them. Try to predict and prepare for any questions that you think you may get before the interview.

In some cases an employer might test your commitment to the company, so make sure that you let your employer know that you are keen to be a part of a company that recognizes your worth. Be careful to not suggest that your commitment is commensurate to your pay level.

It’s a Competition

In many cases, your employer will not want to give you a pay increase, and negotiating with them should be treated as a competition.

According to the paper 'Who asks and who receives in salary negotiation' by George Mason Professor Michelle Marks and Temple Professor Crystal Harold, using a competitive strategy will help you fight for the outcome that you want.

Put Down the Coffee

It may seem strange, but according to the study, 'Effects of caffeine on persuasion and attitude change', published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, if you have a shot of coffee before your negotiations begin, you’re more likely to agree with the opposition’s persuasive arguments, and less likely to stand your ground.

Get the Offer in Writing

Regardless of whether you got the amount of money you were after, make sure that you always get the offer for your new job in writing, and signed off by your employer.

Cailyn Cox

Cailyn Cox is a freelance writer who is attempting to conquer the literary world one step at a time. We live in a hi-tech era, so it pays to know something about it, literally! L&T has helped her to become brand aware and write compelling and engaging social content.