Browse Adzuna Blog »

How to Negotiate Your Starting Salary

Some of us are better at talking money than others, but negotiating your starting salary can be a particularly tricky and awkward conversation to have.  

Employers will rarely – if ever – offer a higher starting salary without a little bit of arm-twisting, so it’s crucial you know how much your skills and experience might be worth to them if you want to find a starting point for your negotiations.  If you run your CV through Adzuna’s handy ValueMyCV tool, you’ll be able to get a pretty good idea where you stand when the dreaded ‘What are your salary expectations?’ question rears its head.

In order to get the most from your starting salary negotiations, here’s a seven-step guide to help you open a dialogue and maximise your earning potential.

How To Negotiate Your Starting Salary

  1. Know how much you’re worth before you start (with ValueMyCV)
  2. Know the industry average with salary stats
  3. Understand what the job entails
  4. Know your limits
  5. Back up your request
  6. Prepare to be patient

1. Know how much you’re worth before you start – There’s no point plucking a number out the air.  Run your CV through Adzuna’s ValueMyCV tool to get a realistic picture of what your skillset might be worth to an employer.  As the industry’s most accurate salary calculator, ValueMyCV will mean you’ll walk into negotiations with a pretty sound idea of your own value to your new employer.

2. Know the industry average – Is the salary they’re offering below or at the industry average?  If you think they’re undervaluing the role, you need to negotiate hard.  You can use the Adzuna website to find out what the UK average is for similar roles, simply by searching our Salary Stats pages for the job title you’re interested in.

3. Understand what the job entails – Make sure you’ve read the job description in minute detail and compare it to other similar positions advertised with Adzuna.  Are they expecting more than other firms?  If you think the scope of the role merits a bigger salary, highlight what you think the additional responsibilities you will be taking on are.

4. Know your limits – Conduct some thorough research into average company salaries and salaries in the geographical area, so you have a rough idea of the ‘bracket’ you ought to fall into.  Know in your own mind just how low you’d be willing to go, and just how high you might be able to push them.  You have to have a ‘walk-away’ point pencilled in before you start negotiating.

5. Back up your request – They’re not going to simply hand over the cash just because you asked nicely.  Make sure you can back up your request with solid facts and figures – be ready to provide examples of your skills and experience in action, perhaps with sales stats, stories about your leadership capabilities or examples of how you’ve done additional training and upskilling over the years.

6. Prepare to be patient – They’re unlikely to agree to your suggested salary on the spot.  In fact, the person opposite you might have no say and power over the final decision at all, so be prepared to play a waiting game.  You might have to sit nervously by your phone for the next couple of days, but be patient.

7.Look for alternatives – Even if they cannot offer you anything more in the way of pay, you might be able to negotiate a better benefits package instead.  For instance, if the higher salary is off the table, could you ask for additional annual leave?

Remember, if you never ask, you’ll never get.  Having invested the time and effort in taking you this far through the recruitment process, your potential employer is highly unlikely to abandon everything now and begin all over again.  To get this far, you’re clearly their number one choice and they’re likely to bend over backwards to stop you walking away.

Make use of what’s available

Chances are you’ve slogged it out through a long interview process and, having only just secured the job, the last thing you want to do is rock the boat too much. But when it comes to negotiating your starting salary, you’re the one holding most of the cards.

Don’t undersell yourself for the sake of a reluctance to talk cold, hard cash.  Every skill you have and every day’s experience under your belt boosts the price tag you can attach to your CV, and most employers would rather haggle with you and keep you sweet than watch the best candidates walk away.

The key is to know your own worth and never undersell yourself.  Make use of Adzuna’s ValueMyCV tool now to get an accurate picture of how much your skills and experience might mean to them, and use that knowledge as leverage when you walk into those all-important negotiations.  With a little hard bargaining and perseverance, you could find yourself with a great deal which truly reflects the value of your CV.