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Partners for Progress
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How can I find out the market rate salary range?
Uncovering salary information is not as difficult as it may seem. Try the following resources:
Are salaries really negotiable?
Yes, and no. The degree to which a salary is negotiable depends on the position, the manager, the organization, and your perceived value. Most entry-level positions have set salaries that are subject to very little if any negotiation--perhaps a few hundred dollars of negotiating room. Mid-level positions typically have salary ranges of between 10 and 20 percent (i.e., a job paying $30,000 a year may have a salary range between $27,000 and $33,000).
Employers will negotiate within the range, but will rarely exceed it unless you are an exceptional candidate. In general, the higher level management and executive positions offer the greatest opportunities for negotiation.
How can I handle questions about salary during an interview?
Most books about how to find a job contain entire chapters on negotiating salaries. Here are just a few tips to get you started:
In addition to salary, take into consideration the employee benefit plan when evaluating an offer made by a company. In today's job market many employee benefits are considered standard--they come with the job and are not subject to negotiation. However, an increasing number of employers are offering flexible benefit packages, which allow employees a variety of choices regarding their benefits. Most entry level employees can expect a basic benefit package consisting of:
A more comprehensive benefit package might include some or all of the following:
Ask questions to learn as much as possible about the compensation policies
of your organization.
What is your company's pay plan?
What is the maximum raise given?
How is your performance evaluated?
What are the opportunities for advancement?
What do you have to do to qualify for those opportunities?
When are raises given?
What do other positions make?
Let your actions show that you deserve the raise you want. Find out what standards your boss uses for measuring performance. Concentrate on the achievements he/she values. Only accomplishments your boss appreciates will motivate a raise. Concentrate your efforts in the areas (projects, skills, abilities, work habits) that your manager particularly values.
Keep a log of your progress. Note special accomplishments and particular victories.
Ask for a raise. This is absolutely basic, but it's amazing how few people actually do it. Sometimes people don't want to put the boss on the spot, or run the risk of being turned down. But if you don't ask, everybody thinks you're satisfied. Research shows that women ask for raises even less frequently than men.
If you've never asked for a raise and aren't sure you have the self-confidence to just do it, a simple (and usually disarming) way to approach the matter of money is to tell your manager, "I'm interested in asking for a raise. How would you do that if you were me?" More often than not this both breaks the ice and leads toward a friendly conversation about your compensation.
Still not sure you're ready to talk to your manager? Get out the tape recorder and practice speaking your piece. Say the words over and over again until you're satisfied with the way you sound on the tape. This is an effective, proven way to prepare for your meeting with your boss.
Don't say you need a raise. Give reasons you deserve a raise. If you have salary survey information that indicates other employers pay more for similar work, you might mention that to your manager. Point out the significance of your work. Emphasize the symbolic meaning of a raise. "What I am paid tells everyone, including me, what I am worth." Name a specific amount that is the highest figure you can justify. You can always negotiate downward, but don't jump at the first offer you get -- you can usually negotiate that upward.
If you aren't given the raise you want right now, try to find out if or when you might expect it. Ask what you need to do to earn more. If your manager appears to agree that you deserve higher pay, but she can't grant you a raise right now, ask for further training, a membership in a professional association, or some other benefit.
Whatever happens, keep your attitude and demeanor
businesslike. Win, lose, or draw, stand up and smile, shake hands and
express your appreciation when the discussion is over.
Discussing career and salary with your manager is very important. It's really the best way to clarify what each of you expects of the other. And the subjects of money and career advancement that may seem threatening as one-time discussion topics can become reasonably comfortable if they are part of a continuing dialogue. But even so, you may have to be patient. Most organizations operate within established policies regarding when salaries can be raised and by how much. Managers are not always free to dispense raises when their staff members deserve them, and in these days of low inflation, even the biggest raises may be capped at five percent.