How to Negotiate a Salary in the UK (8 tips)
How to Negotiate a Salary in the UK (8 tips)
- · February 22 2024
- · 7 min read
Table of contents
After receiving a job offer, an employer can offer you a salary range that does not match your expectations or needs. If that’s the case, you could always try to negotiate a higher salary or better perks for your specific role.
Whether you are seeking a raise within your current role or applying for a new job opportunity, knowing how to negotiate a salary offer can boost your confidence while aligning it with the value you bring to the company. To ensure you receive the salary you deserve, develop a proposal justifying how your experience and skills add up to a higher value.
This article discusses all the steps for negotiating a salary after receiving a job offer, the best time to do it, and how to counteroffer the offer politely.
For more insights, consult our related job interview blog, providing more tips on confidently landing your job interview.
Mastering salary negotiation is key to securing a positive outcome. Prepare thoroughly for confidence and mutual satisfaction. Follow these eight tips for a successful negotiation to take control of your new monthly payslips with ease.
Before entering salary negotiations, conduct in-depth research on industry salary benchmarks tailored to your role. Understand the market standard, leveraging tangible data to support your salary expectations. For instance, if the average salary for a software engineer in your region is £50,000, you can confidently use this figure to substantiate your negotiations.
Examples of effective salary research:
Identify regional averages: Researching regional salary averages provides context specific to your location, giving you insights into the standard compensation for your role in your geographical area.
Industry-specific platforms: Explore industry-specific salary platforms such as Reed or Glassdoor. These platforms offer detailed information on salary ranges, allowing you to benchmark your expectations against industry standards.
Position-specific data: Tailor your research to your specific role. For instance, if you are a Software Engineer, focus on gathering data related to software engineering salaries to ensure relevance and accuracy in your negotiations.
To determine your worth, you can assess key factors such as your skills, experience, and the industry standard for your role. Consider your unique contributions to the company in relation to your role's responsibilities. Enter negotiations with a prepared salary range reflecting both market standards and your individual value.
Examples of determining your worth:
Emphasise qualifications: Highlight your good CV and skills to underscore that your background justifies competitive compensation.
Leverage experience: Emphasise relevant experience, showcasing how it positions you as a valuable asset for seamlessly transitioning into the new role.
Be aware of industry norms: Demonstrate awareness of industry salary standards, aligning your expectations with customary figures to strengthen your negotiation position.
For further insights, consider using one of the following salary calculation tools to help you figure out how much you're worth:
It is worth noting that negotiating a salary has been traditionally seen as a conversation to avoid. Nowadays, however, we are moving towards more open conversations about such topics. Be honest, and don't be afraid to express your opinion.
The first offer in a salary negotiation sets the tone for the entire discussion. Allowing the employer to propose first may result in an offer lower than your expectations, potentially affecting your final salary.
Taking the initiative and presenting your initial proposal puts you in control of the conversation. By suggesting a figure first, you guide the negotiation, increasing the chances of a successful pay increase.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. I wanted to discuss my salary and compensation package. Based on my research and experience, I believe that my skills and contributions warrant a higher salary. I would like to propose a salary of £65,000, which is above the industry standard of £60,000. I’m open to discussing this further and would appreciate your feedback.
Expand your scope beyond the numerical figure on your paycheck. Think of additional benefits such as health insurance, flexible work hours, more vacation days, or the opportunity to work from home. For example, if work-life balance is crucial for you, negotiating a remote work option demonstrates a holistic approach to job satisfaction. See for yourself what appeals to you the most. A higher wage may not be within reach right now, but you can create the right working conditions for yourself in this way.
I appreciate the opportunity to meet with you today. I wanted to discuss my compensation package and explore ways to increase my overall job satisfaction. While salary is important, I also value work-life balance and flexibility. I would like to propose a remote work option that would allow me to work from home two days a week. This would help me achieve a better work-life balance and increase my productivity. I’m open to discussing this further and would appreciate your feedback
If you're not getting the response you want to your offer, asking open-ended questions is a great way to keep the conversation going and achieve more. You can think of questions such as ‘What can I do so that we come closer to an agreement?’ or ‘How did you come up with this offer? Doing so shows you are willing to work it out together, making maintenance run more smoothly.
What you say and the questions you ask are important, but your listening skills also come in handy during salary negotiation. Listen to what your interviewer says and let everything sink in. In this way, you get valuable information about the company's needs. Doing so ensures you can use this information to your advantage!
Prepare yourself thoroughly for the salary negotiation. How do you do that? You can write down what you want to say and rehearse the conversation in front of the mirror or with a friend or family member. Following these steps makes you feel more at ease during the real negotiation, and you start the conversation with more confidence, making you appear stronger and achieve higher results.
Have you reached the point where you have made agreements about your future salary, and are you satisfied? Well done! Now, make sure that you document the agreements on paper. You can also include other matters you have discussed, such as the job description or a possible bonus. Lastly, remember that both of you sign the document. This prevents misunderstandings and clarifies to both parties have agreed to.
Drafting a well-crafted email for negotiating a salary can be a strategic and beneficial step in the negotiation process. Remember that discussing salaries in person could be a safer approach as it minimises the room for conflict or misunderstanding. Here are three examples of how to negotiate a salary over email tailored to different scenarios:
1. Example of email after receiving a job offer:
Dear Hiring Manager,
Thank you for offering me the position of Mechanical Engineer at Microsoft. I am excited about the opportunity to work with your team and contribute to the company’s growth.
However, I would like to discuss the salary offered. Based on my research and experience, I believe that a salary of £100,000 would be more appropriate for this position. I am willing to negotiate and find a mutually beneficial solution.
Please let me know if we can discuss this further.
See our engineer cover letter example for more inspiration.
2. Example of email after a performance review:
As a seasoned Care Assistant, I would like to thank you for the recent performance review. I appreciate the feedback and guidance you have provided me with.
Based on my performance and contributions to the company, I would like to request a salary increase. I believe that a salary of £50,000 would be more appropriate for my role and responsibilities.
I am willing to discuss this further and find a mutually beneficial solution.
Refer to the care assistant cover letter example to learn more.
3. Example of email after a promotion:
I would like to thank you for promoting me to the position of Customer Service Representative. I am excited about the new challenges and responsibilities that come with this role.
However, I would like to discuss the salary offered. Based on my research and experience, I believe that a salary of £80,000 would be more appropriate for this position. I am willing to negotiate and find a mutually beneficial solution.
Explore the customer service cover letter for more industry-specific tips.
First, carefully examine your circumstances to determine the best time for negotiating a salary. However, it's usually best to wait until you receive an official written job offer rathen than asking in your first interview. Once you have been selected, you have an advantage over other candidates and a higher chance of counteroffering the job offer.
When negotiating your salary, be proactive, research industry standards, and confidently approach the process. Practising effective communication and being open to alternative forms of compensation can lead to a successful negotiation.
Explore our collection of modern CV templates with matching cover letter templates. If writing is not your strong suit, consider using our CV Writing Services to improve your career documents or let us create them from scratch. We can help you choose the appropriate CV and cover letter length so you can confidently apply for your dream job.
Additionally, explore our blog article on how to write a resignation letter if you're looking to switch your career and need practical tips to ensure a smooth transition.
Simply put, when offered a salary, don't immediately answer yes or no. Take a moment to look at the offer, consider your contract and benefits, and then politely ask for a bit more. The idea is to find a balance that works for you and the company without pushing too hard. It's about getting the best deal while keeping things friendly and respectful.
See our related blog article about calming your pre-interview nerves for more tips if you're worried about your upcoming meeting.
Yes, it’s possible, and there is always a risk of losing the job entirely if you behave poorly or make unreasonable demands. For example, never say phrases like ‘That’s all you are offering me?” as it can be rude and deteriorate your relationship. Negotiation is a two-way process. Thus, you must justify your reasons for a higher salary and stay professional. Avoid being overconfident and push forward if your employer has made it clear it’s the final offer.
We suggest you slightly increase the counteroffer, with a good range of between 10% and 20% above their initial proposal.
If you’ve accepted the offer and started working, we suggest you avoid negotiating your salary review during probation. Instead, wait until the annual salary review to discuss it further.
See our related blog article on how to ace video interviews for more information.
Before the interview or after receiving the first invitation, you could start by asking, "Could you share the salary range for this role?" This straightforward question sets clear expectations and helps you make informed decisions about the job.
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