How to prepare for your salary negotiation

If you want to negotiate a higher salary, you need to prepare thoroughly. Show how your work generates value for the employer, and have the courage to be firm about your requirements at the salary negotiation.

First job

Preparation is key

Whether you’re approaching the annual salary negotiation or you’ve asked your manager for a salary review, you can increase your chances of a raise by preparing thoroughly.

In this article we will take you through some steps to take in order to prepare for the day you will negotiate your salary, what arguments to use, how to find out what you are worth and how to respond when the negotiation doesn´t go your way.


Video: The annual salary negotiation

First: Check how much you ought to be paid

As a member of IDA, you have access to several salary tools, such as the Salary calculator and Salary statistics. They are based on salary information from IDA’s members. The tools can help you gain an overview of what others earn with the same degree as you, in your sector or with your seniority. This will give you a good idea of what you’re worth, and if you’re below average, you’ll have a very strong argument for getting a raise at your next salary negotiation.


Video: How do you determine your market value?

Prepare your arguments for your salary negotiation

You can’t expect your boss to have a full overview of your tasks and be ready with a salary increase. Therefore, prepare your arguments thoroughly before the salary negotiation. It’s a good idea to write down all your successes and tasks throughout the past year, so you don’t forget any.

Then remember to put your arguments into perspective with the goals of the company, so you don’t focus too narrowly on your own tasks.

For example, have you contributed something that made a sale possible? Or have you contributed with special knowledge that was otherwise not available in your organisation? Have you completed continuing training that has enabled you to do new types of tasks or assume more responsibility?

Use specific examples to argue why you deserve a salary increase.


7 arguments for your salary negotiation

Be firm about your wishes at the salary negotiation

If you’ve asked for a salary negotiation, it’s up to you to steer the conversation towards your wishes early in the negotiation. Otherwise, you risk the negotiation turning into a general talk about your tasks and competences rather than an actual salary negotiation.

A good approach is first to stress how much you like your work and then present your arguments for why you should be given a salary increase, for example: “I really like my tasks and colleagues, but I haven’t had a salary increase in two years, and in the meantime I’ve been given more responsibility”.

If you’re at the annual salary negotiation, let your boss come up with a proposal first. If you’re satisfied with the proposal, you can simply accept it, but otherwise you should be prepared to argue why your salary should be higher. A possible scenario is that your boss will try to propose a lower salary increase, and you should then try to pull it in the other direction.

Therefore, there’s no need to worry about coming across as greedy, as long as you keep a positive tone and have prepared your arguments. It would be a shame to accept a smaller salary increase than what your boss is actually prepared to offer you.


Find alternatives to a salary increase

If you can’t get a higher salary, it’s a good idea to prepare some alternative wishes in advance. For example, you can negotiate about holiday, free telephone, free parking, newspaper or other perks.

Perhaps it’s easier to get your employer to pay for continuing training as an alternative to a salary increase, because you can argue that it’ll give you new competences that will benefit your employer. Performance pay or a bonus can also be easier to agree on, because your employer will only have to pay the money once you’ve delivered a given result.


Video: How and when to negotiate your salary

Didn´t get the salary increase?

Didn’t you get the salary increase you dreamed about? No matter how disappointed you are about the results of your salary negotiation, you need to keep your cool and be constructive.

There’s no point in blaming your boss or displaying negative body language, as this may cause a negative atmosphere.

Instead, ask how you can be considered for a salary increase at your next negotiation. What do you need to do more of, or less of? Furthermore, make a specific agreement on when to negotiate salary next. Perhaps your next salary negotiation could be scheduled a little earlier since you didn’t get a raise this time around.


Be ready to change jobs to get a higher salary

If you have difficulty getting salary increases corresponding to your market value, it may be time to change to a new job to get a higher salary. IDA has conducted several surveys showing that a substantial salary increase is realistic for most people in connection with a job change.

This is particularly relevant if you’re relatively new to the labour market, while the trend is slightly weaker in the last years of working life.


Understand your payslip

You will come better prepared to a salary negotiation, if you know what you make and what benefits and perks comes with the job. This way you will have your arguments ready at the start. If you need to find the right informations on your paycheck to compare or negotiate from, use our interactive payslip. Here you will find information about everything that can appear on a payslip, such as an employer-paid pension, benefits such as free telephony, meal arrangements, extra allowances, etc. You can toggle the language in order to get explanations in English.

Relateret indhold
Get ready for your first salary negotiation and set your market value with IDA