Negotiating Salary

Ask a Career Advisor: What Data Do I Need to Effectively Negotiate My Salary?

You just received a job offer and the salary is lower than you were expecting. You’ve been taking on more responsibilities at work and exceeding goals, but your salary hasn’t changed in years.

If either of these scenarios resonate with you, you’ve probably been thinking about how to negotiate salary. Considering the latest news on the “Great Resignation,” wage projections, and job numbers, it shouldn’t be surprising that more and more people are advocating for themselves and asking for better pay and benefits.

However, regardless of the economic situation we’re in, there are right and wrong ways to negotiate salary increases. Simply feeling like you deserve more money isn’t enough – you need to do your research and use data to your advantage.

But where should you start?

We asked Lori Cole, iHire Career Advisor, for her thoughts on doing salary research and increasing your chances of securing higher pay.

“Knowing how to negotiate salary certainly starts with confidence, but the key to winning that negotiation is data,” said Cole. “Determining what you’re worth requires careful research, and what you find will help you prepare for a successful negotiation.”

Here are the main data points you need to have before negotiating a salary increase:


Market Rates for the Position

The market rate for your current position or the position you’re applying for is perhaps the most important piece of data to have when negotiating salary. However, don’t assume your employer or prospective employer has done their research and used it to determine their offer.

“Arming yourself with facts will go a long way in negotiating higher pay,” Cole explained. “Knowing what the market will bear gives you a great place to start and keeps your expectations realistic.”

Use iHire's Salary Research Tool to view salary ranges by job title and location.



Your Salary History

While many states, cities, and other jurisdictions have made it illegal for employers to request salary history from applicants, you should still keep track of this for your own knowledge.

“Having a clear picture of where you’ve come from will help you determine where you’d like to be,” said Cole. This is especially important if you’re negotiating a salary increase with your current employer. For example, how your pay and/or benefits have changed during your employment and when you have (or have not) received a raise in the past will help you make your case.


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The Lowest-Possible Salary You Could Accept

Take the time to calculate how much you need to make at the bare minimum in your next position based on your cost of living, major expenses, and other factors. You’ll more than likely want to aim higher, but this data point will help you decide from the start whether you should apply to an opening or not (if the salary is included in the job ad) or continue pursuing a position when the company tells you what the salary is.

“Knowing the lowest-possible salary you’d accept is also helpful when considering other benefits,” added Cole. “Let’s say you get an offer from a company you’ve always dreamed of working for, but the salary is on the low end. Great benefits, awesome coworkers, extra flexibility, growth opportunities, and so on could make up for it.”


Your Performance History

In addition to knowing your market worth from a job title and location perspective, be ready to explain why you as an individual deserve a higher salary. What have been some of your major accomplishments over the past year, and how have your efforts impacted the bottom line? What unique skills and experience do you bring to the table that other applicants do not?

“Citing your personal achievements and value can feel a bit subjective, but not if you support them with data,” said Cole. "Quantify your accomplishments with facts, figures, and percentages.”



Bonus Tips for Researching Salary for Remote Work

Remote work opportunities have exploded over the last few years, which can make salary research a bit tricky since compensation varies significantly based on location.

“Find out what the market rates are for where you live as well as where the company is headquartered,” recommended Cole. “Be mindful of the differences in cost of living, though also keep office equipment, home internet, and other expenses unique to remote work in mind.”


Now that you’ve learned what information you need before negotiating salary, use our salary negotiation prep worksheet to gather your data in one place and check out our complete library of negotiation tips, templates, and resources.

by: Natalie Winzer
February 24, 2022

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