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6 Tips For Negotiating Your Salary During The Pandemic 

With so many industries experiencing a financial fallout from the pandemic, negotiating a salary increase is a touchy subject. But there are ways to go about it to ensure your hard work is adequately rewarded. 

Here are some tips to help you approach your salary negotiation. 

1. Assess Your Current Work Satisfaction Level

The first step in your salary negotiation involves a little introspection. Over the past year, how happy have you been with the different aspects of your role? Consider not just your day to day work, but your working conditions, your relationship with your team and manager, as well as your view of the company at large. 

Reviewing these aspects is a great starting point in gauging your satisfaction level and working out any changes you’d like made. This also directly translates to working out that magic pay rise number.

2. Do Your Research – Internally And Industry-Wide

The tech industry seems to have fared better than most during this pandemic, with some areas – such as cybersecurity – actually experiencing increased demand. 

Taking some time to understand how your company has coped during this extraordinary period is an important part of the salary negotiation process, as it provides crucial context. For instance, if your team hasn’t experienced a significant downturn in work or faced harsh budget restrictions, negotiating your salary may be a little easier.

3. Ensure Your Salary Expectations Are Realistic 

Now it’s time to review the nuts and bolts of your position. This ensures you set the right expectations around what you can (and can’t) ask for. 

Research the going market rate for your role, being sure to factor in your years of industry experience, skillset, certifications, education etc. What’s the demand and supply like for your role? Do any local market conditions impact your going rate? 

A great recruitment consultant can be particularly handy here. An essential part of their role is to have their finger on the industry pulse. This includes regular salary surveys and gleaning valuable intel about total package offerings (things like bonuses, flexibility in work conditions, and so on).

 4. Determine Your Value

Understanding your role’s place in the current market is important. But what’s even more crucial during a salary negotiation is articulating what you bring to the table, clearly demonstrating your value. 

Consider the work you’ve done in the prior year. Write down what you’ve achieved personally within the team, and what you believe you can bring in the coming year (aim to focus on problems you can solve or voids you can fill). Having concrete achievement examples and goals is an impressive foundation to build your case for an increased pay packet. 

With the research you’ve diligently done, you should now be able to work out the right percentage increase range.

5. Prepare A Plan B

You might be perfectly prepared for your salary negotiation, but what happens if your manager says no to the pay increase? Should this occur, it’s a good move to have a few other negotiables up your sleeve.

Consider what you might like in flexible working conditions, extra training, increased project responsibilities, bonus payments and more time off (days in lieu, or extra leave). 

6. Plan Your Approach

For your salary negotiation meeting, you ideally want to meet in person or remotely via a video call. Doing it over the phone or email removes both parties’ ability to read non-verbal cues; be it a raised eyebrow, an enthusiastic smile, or slight frown of confusion. This can result in misunderstandings, and a less-than-stellar outcome.

Depending on your company’s position during the pandemic, you can open your case with empathy or gratitude (“I know it’s been a hard year for the team,” or “Even though this year has been tough, I’m really grateful for the chance to learn X”.)

Then move onto your prepared spiel covering what you’ve achieved, and what you’d like pay-wise. Keep it straightforward and be confident, but avoid confrontational language such as, “You’re not paying me my worth” or “I deserve more”.

Once you’ve presented your side, you may be faced with silence, but be willing to sit in it. Your manager needs time to process your request, and filling up the silence can result in backtracking on your part (and a lesser figure than you’d like).

If the answer is no, discuss other package options to see what else they may be able to put on the table. Should there be no room to budge at all, ask if there may be in the near future. The aim is to be upfront, while showing your willingness to problem-solve, rather than leaving management feeling like they’ve been given an ultimatum. 

Do You Want Some Insider Industry Information?

As you can see, there are various things to consider when negotiating your salary during the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope these tips help, but if you’d like some extra support, please let our Finite team know. With many years of negotiation experience under our belts and plenty of salary survey resources, we’re well placed to assist.


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