Most people find it difficult to talk about salary. But it’s actually just as natural to talk about monetary matters as it is to talk about other things at work. Here are the guidelines for positive salary discussions.
HOW DO YOU TALK ABOUT SALARY?
Few topics are discussed more in work-life than salaries. Is your salary fair? Do others earn more than you? What should you compare the salary level with? Can you discuss your salary with the boss? If so, what do you say?
Employers will rarely try to trick you and give you a low salary. At the same time, you and the company have different views: You want a high salary, while the employer tries to limit the salary level. There are rules for salary levels and increases. There are many different systems and it can be difficult to keep up when you are young and inexperienced.
The first step is to understand the guidelines where you work. Are there distinct routines? How much freedom does your boss have to adjust your salary? How often is there a salary adjustment? To talk about salary is natural but most people think it’s an unpleasant discussion. Should you demand, accept, argue or be soft? The answer is a bit of everything. But you HAVE to ask!
WHAT IS A FAIR STARTING SALARY?
Most people think that they should get a better salary. That is definitely the case if we find that someone we compare ourselves with earns more than us. Often the starting salary will determine the salary level at a later stage. The level of the starting salary can be affected by so many things.
- The starting salary is set
The starting salary can be set in the sense that the company has a certain salary level for the type of position you are being offered. This is not something you can negotiate, you just have to accept it.
- The starting salary is governed by what you had in your previous job
The company knows what you earned where you came from, and offers the same level or above.
- You are asked what you expect
Maybe the company asks you what you expect the salary to be and sets your salary accordingly.
Always be prepared for the question “What do you think your salary should be?“
It is best to check what similar positions are paying and answer that you expect this level – or higher.
WHAT IS FAIR?
Many people believe their salary is unfair. But fair is an imprecise word. Let’s say a company asks what you expect your salary to be and offers you the amount you suggest. After a couple of months, you find out that someone with the same experience as you has a higher salary. Is that unfair? You could have asked for more.
Is it fair that someone who earned more than you in their previous job should receive a higher salary for the same job as you in a new company? Say something! You should have a salary that you think is fair, but remember to look at it from others’ point of view.
The most important thing is to understand as much as possible about the salary structure of the company you are joining. Ask about this when you accept the job. “How will you determine salaries and salary increases in the future?”
To sum up: Make sure to ask about salary in your interview, and realise that it’s a totally normal discussion to have. Learn about how the company works in terms of salary and how your starting salary is going to be determined. Either it will be fixed, matched and slightly increased from your previous job, or you will have to justify your salary based on merit and experience. Also, don’t panic! Salary discussions are open in the working world and you’ll be able to negotiate and revise your salary throughout your career…something we’ll cover in upcoming posts.