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How to negotiate a higher salary—and get the raise you deserve

Nearly half of all U.S. workers earned a pay increase in 2019, according to a Bankrate.com report. Whether you’re just starting out, or further along in your career, there are some tried and true methods you can use to help negotiate an offer.

Getting the salary you want starts with knowing what you’re worth, and having the proper information to back it up. You’ll want to consider things like your years of experience, skill set, market demand, industry averages and where the job is located.

Here are some ways to prepare for a successful salary negotiation.

Research salaries

Payscale.com
Salary.com
Indeed.com
Glassdoor.com
81cents.com

Consult your network

Friends
Acquaintances
Facebook groups
Peers in similar roles

Be ready to discuss

Work experience
Education
Unique skills
Accomplishments
Successful projects
Relevant roles
Leadership examples

Negotiating a raise?

If you’re already working and looking for a salary bump, here are some Do’s and Don’ts to consider before walking into your boss’ office to ask for one.

Do

  Show your value
Keep track of personal milestones and present concrete examples of how you’ve helped the company succeed.

  Know your budget
Have a range in mind that you’re comfortable with, to keep yourself on track.

  Keep it real
Acknowledge your company’s financial situation. It shows you get the big picture.

  Stick to the script
Don’t bring up paying for a wedding, a surprise financial expense or other details about your personal situation.

  Practice your pitch
Rehearse in front of a mirror or with friends. Being prepared will help quell any nerves during the actual conversation.

Don't

   Stretch the truth
If you have a competing offer, it’s fine to share it while negotiating. But don’t make one up as leverage—bluffing could backfire.

   Be too money-focused
Growth potential, new networks and skills could be much more valuable than extra pay.

   Refuse to budge
Give in on something the employer wants to get what’s most important to you.

   Surprise your manager
Set up a meeting with your manager. Let them know what you’d like to discuss so they can be prepared.

   Get emotional
Showing disappointment—or too much enthusiasm—can give the hiring manager the upper hand.


Tip:
If you don’t get a raise, ask your boss for suggestions on steps you can take to meet your goal. This shows initiative and will set you up for success next time.

Negotiating a new salary?

Most companies will talk salary early on in the interview process to make sure you’re both in the same ballpark. Always try to avoid throwing out the first number. Be patient. Use what you know about yourself and the role to negotiate.

55%

of professionals tried to negotiate for higher pay.

Source: Robert Half, 2019

Back up your request with information from previous jobs, your industry, or the firm itself. Once you present your case, ask something like: “Would you be able to pay X?” Name a number higher than what you’re targeting, but not so high that the company is turned off.

70%

of senior managers said they expect candidates to negotiate their salary.

Source: Robert Half, 2019

Think outside the salary box

Sometimes, the salary offered may be all that the business can afford. If that’s the case, you can look at other benefits that would improve your overall lifestyle and bottom line. Here are some areas where the company may have some flexibility to create a more attractive offer:

        Signing bonus

        Deferred compensation

        Extra vacation time

        Flexible work arrangements

        Health and wellness stipends

        Upgraded devices

        Meal subsidization

        Childcare assistance

        Fully or partially paid health insurance

        401(k) match

        Tuition reimbursement

        Commuter benefits

Is all of the work really worth it?

Even small salary increases can add up over an entire career. The average pay raise in 2019 was around 3 percent, according to an Aon survey. Now that may not seem like a lot, but consider someone fresh out of college at age 22, making $50,000 a year.

If they retired at 65 years old, here’s how much would they make throughout their career.

Close text version

3% yearly raises [Graph shows roughly $4,452,420]
5% yearly raises [Graph shows roughly $7,557,150]
7% yearly raises [Graph shows roughly $13,306,043]

What’s next?

So, you did your research, you negotiated a salary or raise and you got what you were hoping for. Now it’s time to think about what to do with this extra money in your bank account.

Close Disclaimer

The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial, tax or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional and tax advisor when making decisions regarding your financial situation.

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