How to Negotiate Your Starting Salary for a New Job

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 3 January 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Part of accepting a new job is determining an agreeable starting wage for the position. When interviewing for a position, it's common for both you and the interviewer to have a general idea of a reasonable pay range for the role. Understanding how to negotiate starting salary can help you gain the pay you deserve for a position and start your job near the top of the available pay bracket. In this article, we discuss strategies for negotiating pay when discussing a potential job offer.

Related: [What Is a Base Salary? (Plus Tips for Negotiating Your Pay)](https://hk.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/what-is-base-salary)

When to negotiate starting salary

Understanding when to negotiate starting salary for a job can help you create the best situation for requesting a high salary from a potential employer. Here are several situations where it may be appropriate to begin a discussion about your salary expectations with an employer:

In response to an interview question

Sometimes, hiring managers ask questions about your salary expectations during interviews. Waiting for your interviewer to bring up discussions about pay can be a good way to approach salary negotiations tactfully. This shows that although the pay scale is important, you're focusing on the job, company culture and your qualifications. By seeming too eager to discuss your starting salary expectations, interviewers may perceive you as more money-driven than passion-driven in your job search. You can use your question response as a way to begin negotiations by enquiring about the salary range for the role and discussing your own ideal pay.

Related: [How to Answer Salary Expectations Questions in 3 Simple Steps](https://hk.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/how-to-answer-salary-expectations)

At the end of an interview

You can also start negotiating your salary at the end of an interview. If the interviewer doesn't mention the topic themselves, consider asking about starting salary expectations towards the end of the interview when they ask if you have questions. Although this may not inspire a full negotiation, it can determine if the pay is realistic for your needs and you want to continue pursuing the position.

After receiving a job offer

Once a hiring manager offers you a job, you can use this to your advantage to negotiate your starting salary. This is the ideal time to conduct an in-depth negotiation because you know that the hiring manager wants you on their team and that they have realistic compensation to offer you. You can use information from the interview to continue the negotiation and determine an appropriate starting figure to mention as your ideal salary.

Related: [How to Negotiate Your Salary (Steps and Tips)](https://hk.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/how-to-negotiate-salary)

How to negotiate your starting pay for a job

Advocating for a higher salary instead of simply accepting a job offer can help you significantly increase your earnings throughout your career. Though you may not achieve the specific salary you want, you may be able to leverage your qualifications to receive more compensation than the original offer provided:

1. Research the company

Before applying for a job, it's useful to complete research on salary expectations within your industry and role. Consider how factors such as location, job title and education can influence starting salary levels. Look at reviews of the company online to determine if you can identify the average salary for the position before you start the negotiation. If a job posting lists a salary range, compare that figure to the starting salaries of similar positions at competitor organisations.

Understanding compensation at the particular company and in the industry can help you identify how your qualifications and environmental factors may influence your starting salary. You can use this information to select a reasonable starting figure for your negotiation, giving you the potential to negotiate a higher salary than the company originally advertised. For example, if a company lists the salary for a position as $50,000 but most competitors provide $60,000 for similar roles, you can mention this information to argue for a higher salary.

2. Ask for a salary range

If you can't find salary information, ask the hiring manager directly about their salary range or budget for the role. Asking the hiring manager to open negotiations by discussing their available funding for the role can give you the opportunity to adjust your negotiation strategy. A company may have a higher budget than you realise, so it's useful to attempt to gather information from the hiring manager before you disclose your own salary expectations, if possible. If you provide the hiring manager with a salary request that's far below their budget, you may not get the highest salary available.

Example: "Based on my research, the market value for this position can vary from anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 per month. As an experienced professional, I'm looking for a salary at the higher end of this range. What bracket have you budgeted for this position?"

3. Start high

It's useful to begin a salary negotiation by asking for a higher salary than you actually expect. This can give the hiring manager the opportunity to provide a counter-offer and allow you to negotiate and find a reasonable compromise. When deciding on how much to request, make sure that the number is still reasonable for the market value of your skills to ensure that the employer takes your request seriously. Consider asking for a salary that's 10% more than the original offer and see what your prospective employer can offer you in terms of higher pay.

Example: "I'm open to a flexible compensation range for the right opportunity, but based on my experience, skills and contributions, I'm looking for a position in the range of $20,000 per month."

Related: [How to Provide Your Expected Salary (With Tips and Examples)](https://hk.indeed.com/career-advice/pay-salary/expected-salary)

4. Highlight what you can offer

Remind yourself of your personal and professional attributes that you can contribute to the company and its continued success. Think about factors such as responsibilities you held at your previous job, the skills you have acquired, the level of education you have received and aspects of your personality such as being hardworking, motivated, friendly or collaborative. You can use these elements to enhance your employability by including them in your application materials and discussing them during a job interview.

Example: "As a passionate digital marketing professional with over five years of industry experience, and a master's degree in digital media, I'm open to offers starting at $25,000 per month."

5. Disclose salary information from your current or previous job

Disclosing the salary you received at your previous job can be a useful negotiation tactic, especially if your former employer gave you a higher salary than the starting salary that is offered by the company you're considering at present. Typically, people only take jobs if they gain other types of compensation or specific opportunities in exchange. Explaining that you're only looking for jobs that provide you with greater compensation than your current and previous positions can provide interviewers with a logical reason to increase your starting salary.

Example: "At my current job, I'm making approximately $20,000 per month. I understand that the offer is for $19,000 per month, but I'm focusing on offers of $20,000 and above to match my earnings and promote growth in my career."

6. Discuss livelihood requirements and needed benefits

If you have a family, long commute or may have to relocate to accept a job at a company, you can mention these factors when negotiating your starting salary. These factors can all influence your salary requirements, making them significant to a discussion on why you may request a higher starting salary. Focus on serious subjects that relate to your long-term goals and professional needs to show hiring managers that your salary requests apply to a future at their company.

Example: "I'm a father of three with another on the way, and so to fulfil my job responsibilities to the best of my ability, I'm looking for a salary that adequately supports the needs of my growing family while valuing my doctorate in software engineering."

7. Discuss job offers you have received from other companies

Another way you can negotiate your starting salary with an employer is by mentioning information about other current job offers which promise a higher starting salary. Having another job offer with higher pay is a great way to bargain for higher compensation and show employers that your skills are in demand on the market. It's important to mention this information in a respectful manner that emphasises your desire to work for the employer.

Example: "Another marketing agency just offered me $40,000 per month to manage twenty social media specialists, but your company's welcoming environment and passionate employees are keeping me from accepting that offer, is there any leeway you can offer me in terms of pay to match their offer?"

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