Salary Guides and Negotiation

Your ability to negotiate a salary as a graduate, can be limited. None-the-less it is worth trying. Some research has pointed to males being more forward in asking as one reason for gender differences in pay (not the only reason). If you start at a higher rate, it is suggested this has a compounding effect through your career.

While this article is focused on salary, keep in mind you should weigh up the entire package on offer. There are many things that may be considered more important than salary.

Salary negotiations when you are being hired, are typically around being fair to both the new graduate employee and the employer. Your goal is to help your employers negotiator identify what is fair for you. One way is by being prepared with facts and some simple arguments.

Salary Guides

For facts, refer to;

There is no shortage of facts and these are all free. Several of the relevant sites also provide advice on salary negotiation.

Salary Negotiations

Armed with facts, you need an argument or two, preferably simple ones.

One might be that you are clearly attractive as an employee, at least in part, because of your advanced education and skills compared to other candidates. The investment you have made in both time and money that has helped make you attractive as a recruit, should be recognized in your starting salary.

Some in industry may try to convince you that your degree is worthless. However keep in mind that they are talking to you, and you represent a graduate with an advanced education. If they only wish to pay a rate suitable for a lesser qualification, gently ask why you are their preferred candidate and ask them to sell you on why you should accept an offer suited for a lesser qualified candidate.

When presenting an argument like this, always do so with a smile. Never argue yourself out of a job and never react to their response on the spot. Always take their reply away for due consideration. The "let me think on that" response. The pause will give you the opportunity to reflect and make a considered decision on the offer. After all the best option may be to accept it.

What are you worth? This is a tough question, but you should perhaps assume that the initial offer is discounted from what your potential employer thinks you are worth. They expect you to protest and negotiate. Of course, in this negotiation, if you are happy to take their first offer, everyone wins. If instead you choose to negotiate (ask for more), odds are good they will either up their offer or explain why they cannot. Everyone wins and you have more $$.

Avoid stating what you feel you are worth. This can be used as a disarming tactic, to filter out those expecting too much and to avoid negotiations. Once they have your number, a typically one time statement (offer?) from you, they may pick the acceptable candidate that offered the lowest number. In a similar vein, if you suggest a pay range, employers will always take the lowest figure. Instead return the question. For example, "What is the pay band for this role and how do I get to the top?"

As a last thought, the goal is a better starting salary. Don't hold out for the best starting salary -- you might never get started in the industry.