What every young professional should know about salary negotiations

first time worker salary negotiations work advice work tips

Salary negotiations can be a complicated topic to tackle for young professionals. How do you approach having “that talk” with your employer anyway? Here’s what you need to know before you start negotiating your salary.

Plan ahead

First thing’s first- you have to do your research on your industry, and the average salary in your field. Use this information to create an outline of what you’ll share with your employer during the negotiation. There are lots of free resources online that can help you, such as this workshop by the AAUW.

The key to negotiating your salary is confidence, so the more prepared and informed you are for the conversation, the better it will go for you. Remember that many employers will try to take advantage of your lack of experience, so the more you learn about the negotiation process, the better. Don’t be afraid to ask older people for advice as well, or even employees in the same company for tips (if this is appropriate).

Don’t rush

The atmosphere of salary negotiations can make you feel nervous, leading you to making a pressured, rushed decision that may not be the most beneficial one for you. Remember, you can ask for 24 hours to think through the offer before agreeing to anything. You have the right to consider your options carefully before signing any contract or agreeing to any deal.

Benefits or nah?

Benefits are important to consider when deciding on what salary you need to settle on. Will your contract with the company include any benefits such as medical aid and pension? If not, then consider how much money you’d need to cover these costs on your own, and how this will influence what salary you ought to ask for. Yes, you’re young and things like your pension fund may not have crossed your mind yet, but now that you’re entering the working world it’s important to understand these expenses, for the sake of your financial future.

Consider taxes

Getting a salary increase sounds great, right? Well, sometimes an increase means you get bumped up into a higher tax bracket, technically meaning you’re now earning less at the end of the month. This is why it’s important to understand the basics of how taxes work, and what any salary you’re agreeing to will look like after taxers are deducted.

Don’t sell yourself short

Before you negotiate you need to know your worth. Think of your skills, expertise and experience you can leverage to get the salary you deserve. Presenting yourself as an asset to the company is important, since this is how you can show them that you’re worth the salary you’re asking for.

As a young professional (and especially a young female) entering the workplace, knowing how to negotiate the salary you deserve is crucial. It may be intimidating but the earlier you start, the more practice you’ll get and by the time you’re established in your career, you’ll be a pro at getting a salary that benefits you, gives you security and allows you to thrive.

Good luck!

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