How to Negotiate Your Salary

4 minutes

Trying to negotiate a higher salary after a job offer, or a pay rise during your tenure, can...

Trying to negotiate a higher salary after a job offer, or a pay rise during your tenure, can seem like a daunting task. In 2022, Focus on WD conducted a survey of Workday® professionals, and nearly 40% of respondents felt uncomfortable or unsure about negotiating their salaries. It's not just us. InHerSight found that 55% of people felt uncomfortable advocating for themselves during negotiations, including conversations about salary and benefits. 

When we asked why Workday® professionals didn’t feel comfortable with salary negotiations, the most common reasons were: emotional factors, such as feeling nervous or under-confident, not having the opportunity for negotiation, and not having done it before. We can’t fix everything, but we can help reframe the subject for you.

You might need to have a few honest conversations along the way, but there’s no reason why you can’t enter a salary negotiation and have a positive experience, no matter what the outcome. You need to be prepared for some give and take, but here’s what you can do to set yourself on the path for salary negotiation success:

Be clear from the start 

When you first receive a job offer, ask how often you’ll receive a salary review. If we already know there are a lot of people out there who haven’t negotiated their salary before, or haven't been given the opportunity, then there’s a disconnect somewhere. 

If you can get an idea of when to expect some negotiations to take place BEFORE you start a role, you’ll start as you mean to go on. It’ll also show that you won’t shy away from honest conversations. You shouldn’t need to be too adamant about this, you don’t want to raise any red flags to your new manager. Remaining on good terms with your new employer is crucial at this point, so don’t overwork the subject. However, if there’s no structure in place for pay reviews, or the question is avoided, you need to think about how important this is for you in the coming years.

Don’t get too hung up on market rates 

Reading salary guides and looking at stats online for what people with your job title are being paid is a good starting point, but it’s not enough to base a whole negotiation on. 

As in most ecosystems, Workday® job titles can be interchangeable – the job description of a Workday® Consultant will vary in every organisation you look at, for example. Most of the time, the average salaries you get when searching online don’t account for the differences in job descriptions between two people with the same job title.  

Use it as a foundation, but market rates aren’t enough to justify why you deserve a raise. One of the best ways to get a better idea of what you should be getting paid is by talking to a Workday® Recruitment Specialist. They’ll look at your experience and skill set, and give you a much better idea of the different salaries you could be looking at based on more than just your job title.


Gather your evidence 

You might be moving to a new job role, and negotiating a pay increase for yourself (and don’t be surprised if your new company asks you what you earn in your current role, this is very common), or you might be negotiating a raise with your current organisation. Either way, you’ve got to be able to justify why you deserve a better pay packet. 

Break down your skills, experience, recent development - everything that shows what you have to offer, and present it confidently and accurately. Don’t promise the moon, but make sure your employer, or future employer, has the right evidence in front of them, so you’re making the strongest case possible.  

Ensure you know your job description inside out, and if this is a pay review, talk about what you do now that's outside your original job description. You need to make them understand why you deserve a pay rise, not imply that you think you should have it just because it's your right to do so. Salary rises are usually performance-based, so evaluate your own performance first; there’ll be fewer surprises during a negotiation this way.

Remember, you are only worth the value you add to an organisation. Make sure you discuss what you bring to the table in a context relevant to that specific organisation and job role. You may have additional skills, but if they’re not going to be used, why would an organisation want to pay you for them?

Be reasonable 

If you want a salary increase of more than 10%, your manager, or prospective manager, will typically have to go higher up for approval. Think about how much more money you’re asking for, and work it out as a percentage of your current salary. Chances are, you might realise you’re asking for a 30-40% increase, and if you don’t have all the evidence to support this, you’re probably going to hit some brick walls in the negotiation process. If the changes in your job description don’t account for a 30-40% increase in workload, difficulty, responsibility, etc., how will you convince someone to pay you 30-40% more than before?

Consider the whole package 

Remuneration is not just your basic salary – think about everything your employer, or prospective employer, is offering you. When you add up the value of the perks, benefits and bonuses you get, you might find you’re receiving a lot more than you originally thought. 

It’s also often easier to negotiate on these things, rather than a base salary figure. Think things through beforehand, and work out the value to you in the long run. If you have, or would have, an expensive commute, could you ask to work an extra day remotely each week – the cost saving here could actually account for more than you’d get from a salary increase. What about other things a company has to offer? Free memberships, discounts, interest-free loans, stock options. Look at all the ways in which you could benefit financially, and let that guide you during a negotiation. You’ll hit fewer speed bumps if you can show you’ve considered all the elements.  

Make your intentions clear 

Navigating a negotiation confidently is often what puts people off trying in the first place; you need to pitch it just right.  

If you are discussing a higher salary with a new organisation that’s offered you a job, you want to let them know that you are serious about the offer, but not so much that you would jump through any hoop to get there (involving accepting a salary less than what you’re worth). If you want to make out that you’ve got higher offers on the table and that you can accept them at any time, make sure this is the truth, because if the organisation calls your bluff, you could find yourself in a desperate situation. 

This also rings true if you’re negotiating your salary with your current organisation. It’s never a good move to seek out job offers just so you can present them to your current company to get a counteroffer. It’s a waste of time and money for a lot of people. However, if you really would leave the organisation for another job if they don’t give you a pay increase, tell your manager that that is your intention (as amicably as possible). This might be enough for them to realise that unless they start paying you what you're worth, they’ll lose you. If they say you’re welcome to seek out other offers, and then counteroffer you once this has become a reality, do you really want to stay with that company? Don’t throw empty threats around, and never lie during a negotiation, but be clear about your intent at all times.  

Remember to stay likeable. Making outlandish demands and throwing your toys out of the pram won’t get you very far. Adopting a firm but fair stance, and backing this up with the right evidence, is the best way to get what you want from a salary negotiation. 

If you do the right prep, you should be able to negotiate confidently and clearly. 

Another way to tackle this is by using a Workday® Recruitment Specialist. Salary negotiations are part of their day-to-day. They know the organisations they’re negotiating with, and they know the Workday® ecosystem inside out. They will give you a much better insight into how to get the salary increase you deserve. Get in touch today to speak to the experts.

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