Negotiating for the salary you deserve is one of the trickier (and emotionally fraught) parts of your career. Fortunately, there are many tried-and-true techniques for getting it done—whether you’re entering a new job or trying to boost your compensation at your current one. Here are some key tips for negotiating salary, including how to ask for higher pay in a job offer, and how to bring up salary negotiations with your current manager.
For a comprehensive, in-depth breakdown of all the elements that go into a successful salary negotiation, including starting salaries, benefits packages, securing a higher salary, counter offers, and more, check out Dice’s recently updated Ultimate Guide to a Successful Technology Career and Optimizing Your Tech Career. In the meantime, here are some quick takeaways:
Negotiating Your Salary at Your Current Organization
If you want your current company to give you a raise, your annual review is the best time to kick off a salary discussion and arrange for a richer compensation package. Raises are often hard to obtain outside the standard review cycle. Even if you feel intimidated or uncomfortable with negotiating, we strongly recommend doing so; in one survey by Robert Half, 36 percent of managers said they were more likely to negotiate salaries than the year prior, and 50 percent were equally likely to negotiate salary and benefits package.
Your chances of a beneficial salary discussion are high, in other words, so how should you go about negotiating? Check out a few pro tips below:
Show Your Value
Sit down and explain to your manager how your current scope of work makes you more valuable than what you’re currently being paid. If you can bring data that backs up your argument, do so. For instance, if you’ve created a new line of business or figured out how to save the company lots of money, you have substantial leverage in negotiations.
Find out which industries and tech hubs are paying top dollar for tech talent in Dice’s latest Tech Salary Report.
During your annual performance review, your manager may proactively offer a raise that you feel is too low. If that’s the case, you don’t have to automatically accept it. Instead, you can take a chance on asking for more, especially if your scope of responsibilities has increased over the past year. Similarly, if your manager proposes a raise in exchange for an expanded scope of work, you’ll need to analyze whether the extra dollars are worth the increase in your workload. More responsibility can help your career long-term, even if the money isn’t quite what you want.
You Can Negotiate for More Than Money
Whether you’re a newish or long-time employee, you can negotiate for increased benefits in lieu of cash. Perhaps you want funding to take educational courses, or more vacation time. The rise of hybrid and remote work also gives you much more leverage to negotiate a schedule that works for you; for example, if you want to only come into the office one day per week, your manager might be amenable to a conversation about that. Whatever perks you desire, a company may agree to those instead of a salary bump.
Depending on the size and composition of the company, you may also have the opportunity to take equity in lieu of salary. But equity is complicated. For example, startups may run out of money or fail to be acquired, rendering your equity useless. A larger company is more stable when it comes to equity, but your manager may want to place you on a very long vesting schedule. If equity comes up, weigh the potential outcomes carefully.
Don’t Be Intimidated by Remote Negotiation
If you’re working remotely, you can still effectively negotiate salary. When you begin the virtual negotiation, make sure to spend a little time on “small talk,” which will put everyone at ease (and substitute for the usual in-office rituals, such as a handshake and coffee, that people use to settle into the discussion). Eliminate distractions, maintain eye contact and keep your language positive. From there, the discussion should proceed very much as it would in-person; make your ask, justify it by explaining your responsibilities and listen to what your manager has to say in return.
Negotiating Your Salary: New Job at a New Company
If you’re applying to a new job and want more money than they’re initially offering, keep the following in mind: from the hiring manager to human resources, everyone wants to make this work out. If you can position a boost in starting salary and benefits as a win-win for everyone, you can secure higher pay in your job offer, or at least a signing bonus.