How to Negotiate for a Higher Salary

Whether considering a new job offer or preparing for your annual job review, negotiating for a higher salary is crucial to earning your worth. Most people will receive the standard 3-5% cost-of-living raise if they do not negotiate for a higher salary. Understanding salary negotiation skills and strategies can significantly impact your earning potential and career advancement opportunities. 


Many people hesitate to have these types of compensation discussions due to fear of rejection or concern about damaging their relationship with their employer. However, negotiating for a higher salary is a standard practice often expected in business. Here are some reasons to negotiate for a higher salary: 

  • Fair Compensation: Negotiating for a higher salary ensures that you are fairly compensated for your skills, experience, and contributions to the organization.

  • Career Progression: A higher salary increases your current earnings and is a foundation for future salary negotiations and career advancements. If your starting salary is lower than your worth, catching up to your earning potential can be challenging. Take Tom, for instance. His starting salary is $70,000, and he receives the standard 3% raise annually. After ten years, he will be earning $91,334. Meanwhile, Jackie decides to negotiate her salary, making her starting salary $77,000. She continues to negotiate her salary increases, earning an additional 7% raise per year, along with the standard 3% annual increase. After ten years, Jackie will be earning $181,562. That is over $90,000 difference in pay between Tom and Jackie! Had Tom negotiated for a higher salary, he would have earned a similar amount after ten years.
Salary Career Progression Example


  • Market Value: By negotiating for a higher salary, you acknowledge your market value and demonstrate confidence in your abilities. This can positively impact your professional reputation.

  • Financial Security: A higher salary provides greater financial stability and allows you to achieve your personal and professional goals more comfortably. 


  1. How to Prepare for Salary Negotiations  

Before entering salary negotiations, research the market rate for your position in your industry and location. Our salary calculator can help you find how much you should be paid based on your years of experience education, certifications, and skills. Once you have a clear understanding of your market value, prepare a compelling case to justify your salary increase.  

If you are negotiating for a higher salary with a current employer, highlight your accomplishments, relevant skills, certifications, and any additional responsibilities taken on since your last salary review. Quantify your contributions, such as revenue generated, cost savings, or efficiency improvements. When negotiating a higher salary on a job offer, have concrete examples of how your skills or experience will benefit the company and how that ties into your new role. 

  1. How Much Should You Ask for in Salary Negotiations?

There is no right amount that you should request when negotiating salary. Aim for a salary range rather than a specific figure to allow for flexibility during negotiations. If your current salary or job offer is below the market rate, negotiate to earn a reasonable market rate. Several factors, such as your qualifications, years of experience, industry demand, and the organization's financial health, will affect your negotiation. If you can negotiate based on your skills and experience, consider asking for 10-20% above the initial salary amount.  

Avoid disclosing your current salary unless explicitly required, as it can limit your negotiating power. Instead, focus on articulating the value you bring to the table and why you deserve a higher salary based on market standards and your contributions to the organization. 

  1. Know When to Negotiate Salary

Timing plays a crucial role in salary negotiations. Ideally, initiate discussions about salary increases with your current employer during performance reviews, annual budget cycles, or when you have achieved significant milestones or accomplishments. Avoid discussing salary changes during times of organizational uncertainty or budget constraints, as it may hinder your chances of success. 

If you are considering a new job offer, delay discussing salary until you have received a formal offer and have had an opportunity to evaluate the entire compensation package. This allows you to negotiate from a position of strength and ensures that you have a clear understanding of the role, responsibilities, and benefits before discussing salary. 

  1. Practice Effective Communication

Effective communication is essential during salary negotiations. Clearly articulate your salary expectations, but also be prepared to listen actively to the employer's perspective. Approach negotiations with a collaborative mindset rather than a confrontational one, emphasizing mutual benefit and long-term value. 

Use persuasive language and confident body language to convey your points effectively. Practice active listening and ask probing questions to understand the employer's priorities and constraints. Be prepared to negotiate other aspects of the compensation package, such as bonuses, benefits, flexible work arrangements, or professional development opportunities, to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. 

  1. Handle Objections with Confidence

During salary negotiations, anticipate potential objections or pushback from the employer and prepare responses in advance. Common objections may include budget constraints, internal equity considerations, or market competitiveness. Respond to objections calmly and confidently, providing evidence to support your position and addressing any concerns raised by the employer. 

  1. Do Not Be Afraid to Walk Away

If the employer is unable to meet your salary expectations, explore alternative solutions, such as performance-based incentives, additional vacation days, or opportunities for career advancement. Remain flexible and open to compromise while staying focused on your career goals and financial objectives. However, if your current employer or new job offer cannot meet your expectations, do not be afraid to walk away and find an offer that meets all your expectations. 


Negotiating for a higher salary is a valuable skill that can significantly impact your earning potential and career advancement opportunities. You can successfully negotiate salary increases by conducting thorough research, timing negotiations carefully, and communicating effectively. Remember that negotiation is a collaborative process aimed at achieving mutual benefit. By approaching negotiations strategically and professionally, you can secure the compensation you deserve. 

For compensation professionals seeking further knowledge of their employees' market value, consider using ERI SalaryExpert’s Assessor Platform, in your compensation planning. We can help you benchmark pay for multiple job titles in specific industries and geographic locations. With the insights from compensation benchmarking, organizations can optimize their salary negotiation strategies to drive employee satisfaction and attract valuable employees worth hiring. 

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