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Enhance your career: top tips in salary negotiation 

Posted on June 2, 2023

Are you unsure how to navigate *that* salary conversation with your line manager? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! As part of our ‘Enhance Your Career’ series, we’re sharing our top tips and resources that are relevant for every career stage and will help you put your best foot forward when negotiating your salary for a new role or for your next step up at your current one.  

Our expert team see hundreds of CVs every week, we’ve placed over 2,000 individuals and our data shows 92% of those we place stay on in the creative industries a year on, so you can trust us to help you make the most of your career! As research shows, those who are underrepresented in creative industries are often underpaid, so it’s an important conversation that you really want to be prepared for, should you choose to have it. Now let’s get straight to the tips! 

Tip #1 – Reasoning 

You want to be able to provide a timely reason for wanting to renegotiate, so ask yourself, why now? Potential triggers include: 

  • A job offer. If you’ve been offered a job and the salary is less than what you think you deserve, you could leverage either current salary trajectory or industry standards (GlassDoor is a great resource for checking) 
  • A promotion. Perhaps you’ve been promoted but the salary increase doesn’t match with what you’d discussed, industry standards, or reflect what the role entails 
  • You’ve gained further qualifications. Knowledge is power, and if you’ve recently gained a qualification that significantly enhances your work performance and results, you want to be paid for it 
  • You’ve taken on a leadership role. Managerial responsibilities shouldn’t be taken lightly and if you’ve recently taken on a leadership role, it’s a great prompt for renegotiation 
  • You’ve gained in experience. Often, companies appreciate loyalty and for their employees to stay put, but continue to grow and add value, so it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for a reward for that 

If you have no justification as to why you think you deserve a salary increase, it’s probably not the best time to ask for one.  

Tip #2 – Evidence. You are going to need it. 

Having established why now is the right time for a salary increase, it’ll be much easier to make your case if you can show why you deserve it through evidence of your hard work and the positive impact it’s had. 

Hopefully you’ve kept a log of achievements, projects or outputs and the part you’ve had to play in those, but if not, dig deep into recent projects and make note of: 

  • How you contributed to that successful project  
  • The positive impact your involvement had on those results 
  • The value of your skills to the company 
  • How you hope to continue to contribute to overall business momentum & success 

Tip #3 – Research 

  • Make sure you’re informed of industry standard salaries – check out GlassDoor, Indeed Salary Search, Check-a-Salary – and adjust for your position, location and level of experience  
  • Research other factors worth negotiating besides monetary ones – amount of holiday, ability to travel or work remotely, responsibilities, flexible-working, investment in training – however you should expect to back up reasons why any of these contractual changes will provide greater benefit to the company 

Tip #4 – Practise makes perfect, so rehearse! 

  • Prepare exactly what you want to say and memorise a strong introduction to get the best footing: ‘I’d like to talk about a salary adjustment because of the additional responsibilities I’ve taken on in the last 8 months. I’ve been producing X value for the business, and here’s what it’s resulted in’ 
  • You’ll feel more confident in your delivery if you practise with a friend first, and ask them to prepare you with tough questions 
  • Top tip: why not try role-playing being the other person in the salary negotiation. It can be a good reminder of what the person you’re pitching might want from you. Such as evidence, specificity or reassurance that you’re invested in the business! 

Tip #5 – Set expectations 

The outcome might not be what you had hoped for; what are you willing to compromise on? 

  • Before you go into the negotiation, have a clear idea of the package you’re happy to agree upon 
  • Know that your line manager may not be the end decision maker and understand their constraints 
  • You might decide to pause negotiations, renegotiate a different salary package or walk away 
  • Think about what your next steps would be for multiple possibilities 

Remember, there’s no one better to advocate for yourself than you. We wish you the best of luck and keep an eye on our #EnhanceYourCareer series this summer. Check out our other ‘How to’ resources here. 

If you’re an employer, check out our blog on why stating the salary puts your organisation at a competitive advantage here.