Pay Negotiation Basics

Pay Negotiation… Ouch!

Pay is the most sensitive issue in the hiring process. Discussing the compensation often causes anxiety for the employee.  So many employees do not negotiate their pay.  They plan to first get the job and once they are inside, they can negotiate their package.  Unfortunately employers don’t play that game. I’ve seen employees wait for years to fix pay gripes, that they knew at the time of accepting the offer.

Here are five basic pay strategies

1.  Research

Before the interview process begins,  do your home work into the going pay rates.. There is nothing worse than meeting a candidate that expects to get paid R 500 000 per annum, when the top market rate is around R 360 000.  By the time you sit down to have that stomach twisting conversation about your pay, you should have adequate facts and figures to support your hand.

2.  Pay for Your Skills

You should understand that different segments of the economy  and industry, require a variety of skills – highly valued, premium pay, others are lowly valued, low pay.  In between we have, lowly valued, high pay (corruption, pay rigging and other dark corners)  and highly valued, low pay. You should know your skill set off the back off your hand and know which skills are highly valued by an employer.  If you come across an employer that praises your skills, but is unwilling to pay for them, it may be better to walk away.

3. Current Pay vs Desired Pay

Just because your current package is R 120 000, does not mean that you can’t negotiate for R 240 000.  Or R 480 000.  Your desired pay is not a function of your current pay.  While the employer / recruitment agent usually gets your remuneration information during the application process, don’t be limited by it.

4.  Don’t forget the other Perks

Before negotiating for an extra 20% pay, check that you understand the value of the package on the table. In addition to the guaranteed remuneration package, you should also consider short/long term incentives, annual leave, use of company assets, training & development and career opportunities.  Double check that you are comparing apples with apples when it comes your pay.

5.  Branding, Marketing & Selling

If you’ve done a good job of positioning your personal brand and marketing your value before you discuss pay, then the selling part is easy. The employer should already understand your brand and value, so that you gently “sell” it again to them for the higher pay.

In conclusion, these are just the basics of negotiating higher pay, depending on your position., it may be worthwhile to get professional assistance from a reward consultant.

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