How to get paid what you're worth


It can be difficult as an employee to negotiate your salary, especially if you are new to the company, but ultimately, you should be receiving a salary that reflects your commitment, skills, ability and results. You need to be prepared to negotiate; otherwise, you may find that you are being sold short.

During the application process, you may be asked for your expected salary. You need to think about it rationally and realise that we are no longer in an employment bubble. Times are tough and what you are worth in today’s climate may not be as much as a few years ago, but everything is relative.

Making sure that your salary is fair to everyone is a necessary skill to have. The company may not be very flexible in what they can offer you, but there is usually some leeway to ensure that it really is the best offer they can afford.

Salary is a measure of company culture. Employees should be paid fairly and compensation should be equal to similar companies within the region. The company should also have a performance review process.

Good advice for successfully negotiating your salary includes:

Ask what the salary range is:

Most companies post a salary range with job descriptions. However, if there is nothing available, don’t be afraid to ask the HR department before applying - you could save yourself a lot of wasted time. You should also research other companies to see what they pay similar positions and people with your experience. This will allow you to determine whether you are getting short changed. If the pay range is too low, don’t apply. It is very unlikely that you will be able to negotiate a whole pay scale up and therefore you will be selling yourself short from the start.

Work out how much you can afford

You need to be aware of what you need to live and how much you want to be able to save. If you are offered other forms of compensation such as stocks and other non-cash assets, work out whether you can afford to take the risk.

Ask about non-salary benefits

These include: health, life and disability insurance, bonuses, paid training/education, paid holiday entitlement and employee stock options. Most companies will offer some, if not all, of these. Depending on where you place the importance, you may feel that some are worth more than others and therefore might be willing to accept a lower salary as a compromise.

Be familiar with the market

You might well think that you are worth a top salary, but unless you take all external factors into consideration, you will not be in a very good place to start negotiations. Find out what other companies are offering and use the average as a starting point. You also need to remember that in a recession, wages can often be lower.

Ask at the right time

Talking about money may not be the ‘British way’; however it will be necessary as you don’t want any surprises. There is nothing wrong with asking about the salary before being offered the job. If you start negotiations, you will be in a much stronger position as you will feel in control.

It is important to be in control, but never be aggressive or rude. If you are not happy with the offer, ask for time to think. If you are happy and wish to accept, ask for a formal letter and make sure this includes details to non-cash compensation. Show your value and remember that you are not just a number on a payslip.

Find out more about using benefits and bonuses to boost your income or contact us today to speak to one of our consultants.