Following on from our recent guest post: “5 steps to successfully negotiate your return-to-work role”, Kate, our Lead Coach, shares her experience to help you to work out what salary to ask for and how to value yourself when you’re negotiating your first role back at work.
confident do you feel about knowing what you are worth?
confidently could you articulate and communicate your value in monetary terms
to a potential employer?
confident are you at negotiating what you would like to be paid?
another phrase that along with mentions
of “networking” and “elevator pitch”
can conjure up groans of despair and sheer dread! I often see clients visibly
shudder when contemplating this subject.
applies to the majority of people who find this a particularly tricky area to
negotiate. In the UK, it’s partly a cultural thing – we are too polite to talk about
money! But if we don’t have these frank discussions with an employer it can
lead to problems later on. Research suggests that whilst money alone is
unlikely to be an intrinsic source of motivation for most people, if the money
side is wrong and you feel underpaid and thus undervalued, then that is likely
to become a source of de-motivation.
throw a career break into the mix too?
challenging for those returning to the workplace following a career break as
you may be feeling out of touch with current salaries as well as convincing
yourself that the break inevitably means that you must be penalised financially.
As our guest blogger, Natalie Reynolds recently commented, “Many returners are more likely to gratefully accept any terms rather
than to consider negotiating…” However selling yourself short is unlikely
to be helpful in the long term and indeed could cause you problems later when
it comes to moving into new roles. So what can you do to become more confident
at negotiating your salary successfully first time back?
salary you should be asking for
- Research the
marketplace for the type of role you are seeking to gain a benchmark of the
salary range that you can expect to be targeting.
- Be realistic – there is
likely to a range dependent on variables such as the size of the business, the
location, and how structured their internal salary grading structures might be.
- Consider how specialist your skill-sets are and how easy
or not it is for employers to source these.
This should also happen well before
you get to the point of job offer – be informed throughout the whole process,
ideally before you begin any form of job search.
- Websites such as www.salary.com, www.glassdoor.co.uk and www.payscale.com provide a plethora of advice and
information on the market value for current roles as well as tips and
information on approaching negotiation.
- Professional membership bodies
such as the ICAEW and CIPD may also have useful salary information relating to
your specific professional field.
- Ask recruitment consultants and
contacts in the relevant industries. There are several recruitment firms listed on the Career Returners website who actively support the hiring of Returners; they
will have a broad view of companies and what people in similar positions are
with the role you are actually doing can lead to misunderstanding by future
employers or recruitment consultants. Equally being clear on your financial
worth is also a test that the employer understands the match of the role on
offer with your skills and experience. Returners often believe that they need
to take a role many levels below their skill-set and worth just to get back in the workforce, but our experience suggests that this will quickly be problematic as the role is
unlikely to be a good fit (unless you have a clear rationale such as moving to a very different sector or getting a foot in the door in your ideal company). By the time you are at the point
of negotiation have a good convincing story to prove your skills are up-to-date and to demonstrate the value you offer.
- Don’t apologise
for your career break when you enter into negotiations. Be confident that your skills remain your
skills and they hold value to the employer.
- Don’t answer immediately if you’re offered a salary – deflect
and say you would like to think about it. This gives you time to prepare your
counter offer and state clearly and confidently what is behind the figure you
have come up with.
- Think about the broad picture –
what is the total remuneration on offer not just base salary?
- Explore the opportunities for trade-offs. If the company has a budget below where you would like to be, what can
they offer in return? Flexible working perhaps, extended annual leave, or the opportunity to review
salary within a 3-month probationary period rather than wait for an annual
- Don’t be afraid to have a walk-away point. If you feel very unhappy with the salary, and don’t have a clear rationale for taking the role or an agreed progression plan, ask yourself whether this role is a match with your skills and the
type of organisation you want to work for.
- Remember that pushing yourself out of your comfort zone
to successfully negotiate what you want will be a surefire confidence boost for your return to