Negotiating can be intimidating. Especially for those of us who have been socialized to believe that asking questions, or asking for more is equal to “being difficult”, or that talking about money is rude, or uncomfortable and should be avoided. This kind of mentality is what results in being underpaid and taken advantage of by our employers.
Learning to advocate for yourself is an empowering skill we can all benefit from. Knowing your worth is important for many aspects of life, not the least of which is your professional career. Today we’re discussing the daunting concept of job negotiating. We’ll cover what aspects of your contract you can negotiate, how you can do it in a way that feels comfortable and give some helpful tips to navigate that difficult conversation.
Did you know 70% of hiring mangers expect a negotiation upon a job offer, despite the fact that they often don’t share that the offer is flexible? Studies from Harvard show that those who negotiate for more increase their starting salary by $5000 on average, while Forbes reports an average increase of 11-12%. While only 29% of job seekers are comfortable negotiating for more, 84% who do, see an increase in salary. As the infinite wisdom of Cher Horowitz tells us, “Never accept a first offer”. Now, let’s make you part of the 84%.
When we hear the term “negotiation” we often assume money or salary. However, these aren’t the only things you can negotiate when starting a new job. In fact, if salary isn’t an option, there can still be many other benefits and perks a new company can offer you, here are the job offer aspects you can consider.
This one is pretty straightforward and usually top of mind amidst a negotiation. Let’s cover some of the other possibilities and circle back to the “how” of negotiating your salary later on.
Most full-time workplaces offer health benefits. Though we have subsidized healthcare in Canada, there are still many things we have to pay for out of pocket and these can get expensive. So much so, that a really great benefits package can be worth even more to you than a salary bump. Consider dental appointments for the year, therapy sessions, medication, and even massage therapy.
The standard starting vacation time allowance in Canada is two weeks. If free time is worth more to you than money, consider negotiating for extra vacation days instead of a higher salary.
Work from Home / Hybrid
What used to be an elusive perk has become the norm since many of us went home in March 2020 and some of us never went back. Most companies now offer work from home and hybrid options for work. This perk can have an enormous impact on your quality of life. If you’ve found the “new normal” has had a positive impact on your well-being, talk to your prospective employer about a full-time WFH, or hybrid option with fewer days in office.
Compensation for a Home Office
Sprucing up your home office makes your WFH situation both more manageable and enjoyable. This could include a company laptop, monthly internet allowance, or reimbursement to set up your office at home. Much like the previous point, this has become a popular perk for companies in the last couple years. So if you’re looking for a little home office refresh, this may be your moment.
Now we’ve covered what you can negotiate for, let’s discuss a plan to put your ideal contract into motion.
First Step: Research
A quick Google search can give you an idea as to the going rate for your role. Be sure to consider the city you live in, your years of experience, as well as the company you are negotiating with. Salaries tend to be much higher in large cities to account for the cost of living. Depending on your years of experience your salary can also vary. For example, if this is your first role as a stylist, you can’t expect to be making the same amount as someone with ten years of experience in the game. Finally, the company you are applying with can also impact salary. Not-for-profits for example are not going to have the same budget as say a large corporate company. Keep these in mind while conducting your research, so you can come up with a number that you are not only satisfied with, but will also sound reasonable to your employer.
Second Step: Address the Desire to Negotiate
Included below are some phrases you can use as a jumping off-point to start negotiations. It is ideal if you can get the company to name a number first. If you are pressed for a number though, give a range. Base your range on your prior research. Give a number you are comfortable with as your lowest number. If you’re looking for $80 000, present your range as “$80 0000 to $90 000” rather than “$75 000 to $80 0000”. The company will most likely go with your bottom number, so be sure it’s one you’re comfortable accepting.
Third Step: Making Your Argument
Your reasoning for asking for more can’t simply be based on industry average. It’s primarily about what you bring to the role that makes you worth more than the original offer. Prepare your argument by thinking about what you are bringing to the table? Focus on measurable stats from your previous experience. Did you increase social media engagement, or following in your last role? Make updates to the e-commerce platform that resulted in a significant increase in sales? Develop a campaign that increased website traffic? Consider the skills and expectations of your new role and what is most important and focus on your experience relating to those skills.
Fourth Step: The Negotiation
If the company is firm on salary and not in a position to offer more, consider the other benefits and perks discussed above. Is there anything else the company can offer to offset the less-than-satisfactory salary? Does the position receive a yearly bonus? How about having the opportunity to renegotiate again in six months written into your contract, after you’ve had time to prove your worth? Remember, money isn’t everything and there could be other perks the company can offer to increase your quality of life and make this job the right fit.
What Should You Say?
I always find it helpful in moments like this to have some phrases prepared for how I want to present my negotiation. These are some of my favourites that I’ve used in the past. Feel free to note these down for your next job negotiation.
Setting up for the ask:
“I want to make sure the salary I accept is commensurate with my skills and experience as well as the expectations of the role.”
Arguing your position:
“I have a proven track record of…[Include your measurable achievements here.]”
Stating your position:
“In terms of my career progression, the amount offered is a bit of a step back for me.”
“What can you offer in terms of a total compensation package?”
Remember, this is your time to make this job what you want, so don’t be afraid to ask for what you are worth. It’s much more difficult to make amendments to your contract well into your employment. Do your research, consider your options and have the confidence to be part of the 29% who advocate for themselves with a negotiation. The odds say, your hiring manager is already expecting it.
Are you currently preparing for a negotiation at a new role? Book a Virtual Career Meeting with Style Nine to Five Founder Christie Lohr who can help you prep for a successful conversation!
Sheila O’Neill is a creative, innovative and inspiring storyteller with a background in fashion.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock