Negotiating your salary

“The annual salary review with the boss is probably one of the things that people dread the most. The worry is that you will leave the conversation with a feeling of reduced self-worth – disillusioned and with a feeling of being overlooked,” says Tekna’s legal counsel Arve Vaale-Hallberg. He is giving a course on salary negotiation this autumn to Tekna members who have no Tekna group at their place of work.

Pay is an emotional subject

“If you prepare well, the chances that you will get your arguments across are good. And even if the meeting does not pay off in monetary terms, the sense that your boss acknowledges and understands your situation may give you a mental reward to take away with you.”

“One of the key points of the interview must be to build good a good relationship with your boss,” says Vaale-Hallberg. His advice is that you should be open and admit at the outset of the meeting that you find the situation unfamiliar and difficult.

“Try to create a good atmosphere. Say something pleasant and keep the mood light throughout the conversation. Remember that a salary review is not a clash of opposing interests. In general, managers are keen to reward their personnel but will often be constrained by budgetary limits. Your goal should be to get your manager to want to reward you, or to make it difficult for them not to do so.”

Divide your arguments up into portions

“Try to avoid running out of arguments. Spread them out over the course of the interview. Talk about your expectations and what you base them on. It might be a good idea to think strategically about what arguments it would be useful to present during the meeting. Saving one sound argument to use right at the end also makes sense,” says Vaale-Hallberg.

“Before you request a salary review, look into what other people with the corresponding expertise and responsibilities are earning. If you can’t get this information by asking around, then you could ask your line manager how you are faring compared to others.” Arve Vaale-Hallberg also advises you to check whether your employer uses specific criteria in assessing what salaries it pays.

How much are you worth?

Before the meeting, think through your value to the company – how are you assessed and how are you measured? The criteria might include your ability to collaborate, flexibility and the quality of what you deliver. It is important that you think through your own performance and development. What have you achieved recently or since your last salary increase? Have your responsibilities grown, your duties changed, or your expertise increased? What part have you played in ensuring that the business has outperformed its targets? Have you delivered more than was expected of you in any area, or helped to cut costs for the company? Are you in possession of specialist expertise or sought-after skills? And have you reached the goals that you and your manager agreed on?

“You could also ask what specifically you need to do in order to get a higher salary. Remember that not everything you do today will pay an immediate dividend. Be patient with your situation, your manager and yourself.”

Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2018