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I have been offered a new job. In the past I have been paid according to my previous salary, but I feel that means I have been underpaid in comparison with colleagues doing a similar role. I am not very confident at approaching this subject. Do you have some advice on how I can ensure I am paid in accordance with my experience and skills?
Congratulations on the job offer!
This is a common theme in today’s world of work, and pay can be an awkward and uncomfortable topic to raise for some. Don’t be afraid to broach the subject. It’s common to compare yourself to other colleagues; whilst it’s important to do your research and try to find out what people in comparable positions in the firm or at competitors earn, my advice would be to treat yourself as an individual, focus on yourself and think about what you feel you’re worth and what you can bring to a firm.
If a future employer only focuses on your previous salary, you can explain that you’ve ‘appreciated as an asset’ whilst at your previous firm by learning various skills. This is especially relevant if you’ve been with your previous employer for some time. Best to give them some highlights of where you are today in terms of your skills, knowledge and experience and know the value you bring before stating what you feel is fair to get paid that equates to your current level of expertise. It’s important to get this recognition early in the conversation and to have the right attitude whilst being honest, gracious, positive and prepared.
You mentioned that you’re not very confident when approaching the subject of salary; however hard it may be, it’s always best to feel and look confident (for instance, in your body language and in your delivery) when having these conversations. How is an employer going to feel comfortable giving you a higher salary if you’re unsure yourself? Approach it logically and openly and don’t let your feelings get in the way. Confidence and persuasiveness are essential for successfully negotiating your salary.
Be clear; once you’ve been offered the job, a good way to begin a salary discussion is “I’m interested in discussing my salary, is now an appropriate time?”. Set your expectations and have a plan in case the answer is ‘no’; you may not be able to get the salary you want immediately at the start, so in this case I’d recommend establishing a timeline and work with your manager to reach your goal.
It’s important to be specific and mention your desired salary range and specifically outline how you came to this conclusion by referencing the salary research you’ve done.
Some advertised roles don’t mention a salary. When asked what your salary expectation is, you could state that your salary expectations are in line with your skills, experience and qualifications, and then go on to say what that is. Other advertised roles include a salary range; in these instances, it can be easier to pave the way for the conversation, based on your current skill level.
Should there be discrepancies, provide your future boss with facts and examples demonstrating your point and evidence. This will allow him or her to justify your salary request. Be aware of their body language and whether they are receptive. Prepare for the conversation well (build your case and know your worth); and practise your pitch at least once before the actual conversation by rehearsing it to a friend or recording yourself.
This is all around selling yourself and identifying your niche.