how to negotiate your salary
how to negotiate your salary

How To Negotiate Your Salary

Everything you need to know about getting the salary that you deserve.

You smashed your interview and have an offer on the table. Amazing. But if you think you’re worth more than that, how do you negotiate a higher salary, especially if you’re just starting out? 

As an entry-level candidate navigating the working world and your first job offers can be tricky when you have no experience. Everyone wants to secure a job with a good salary but negotiating, knowing what the minimum salary is and what other benefits the job comes with can be hard if this is all new to you. If you’re applying for jobs and are worried— we’ve got it covered with all the best tips on how to negotiate your salary and how to know if the job is the right one for you.

With some practice, you’ll soon be a pro at negotiating salaries and you’ll feel confident enough to go into any future job interview and know exactly how to walk out with the salary you deserve.

In this article:

Salary negotiation tips if you’re an entry-level candidate

Right, so just how do you negotiate your salary? A good place to start is to do your research before the interview stage, as this can help to determine whether the job is actually worth your time. You can also ask questions during the interviews to help establish what type of salary you would be on and if there’s room to negotiate and ask for more money when you get your job offer.

Here’s what we’d recommend if you’re an entry-level candidate looking to negotiate your salary.

1. Do your research on your industry

Naturally different industries have different salaries, so you’ll want to have a good idea of the average salary for your specific industry. Luckily, you can easily find this information by looking on websites like Glassdoor, which allows you to search specific job titles and levels and see average salaries.

This information is submitted by thousands of people across the UK to give accurate results— so if you’ve searched your future job title and can see the average salary is £35,000 per year, this gives you a good idea of what salary you should be on for an entry-level role.

If you’re still unsure about what career path you want to go down, check out our guide to the highest-paying jobs in the UK for graduates.

2. Think about your living costs

One of the main reasons why so many people want to negotiate their salary before they start a job is to make sure they have enough to cover basic living expenses. As we’re in a cost of living crisis, rent and travel costs are at an all-time high so it’s important to have a rough idea of how much you think you’ll need to spend each month on necessities.

Think about where the office is located and if you’ll have to commute and how much this would cost you each month. If you know you’ll be spending a lot of money on the train, this can help your case when it comes to negotiating your salary.

If you’re going to be living in London, living costs are much higher so make sure you have a good idea of how much you’d need to spend on your rent if you’re planning on moving out as this will help you to figure out what salary you could realistically live on each month.

3. Know what salary range you want

The key to negotiating your salary is actually knowing what you want. Unfortunately, employers probably aren’t going to know what you have in mind and if tell them exactly what you want the worst they can do is say no. Once you’ve looked at salaries on Glassdoor, you can also try Reed and the ONS (Office for National Statistics) to get a better idea of what you can expect to be earning in different industries and roles.

Once you’ve done your research on your job role and know what your living expenses will be, you’ll be in a good place to start confidently negotiating your salary.

4. Check if the company is doing well

One of the big reasons why some companies are reluctant to give pay rises is because they might not be doing well financially. This can also depend on the size of the company. If you’re applying for a company with global offices worldwide and thousands of employees, there’s a chance they probably have more than enough money, but if you’re applying for a small company with under 50 employees they just might not have the budget for the salary you want.

This is something to consider when you’re applying for jobs. You can normally find out more about the company structure and size on their website or LinkedIn, to help you get a rough idea of how big the company is. If you are accepting a job offer from a bigger company, you are definitely within your rights to negotiate a higher salary, but if you’re applying to a small company they might not be able to offer you anything higher than what they’ve already stated.

5. Highlight what you can offer

Ok, so now you have an idea of what salary you should be on, how do you actually negotiate your salary?

Employers won’t always give out a salary increase just because you ask for it— you need to prove to them that you’re worth hiring. Once you’ve received your job offer if you want to negotiate the salary you should lay out all that you have to offer, from previous experience, skills and education. Don’t worry if this is your first job out of uni and you don’t have any real-life experience yet, as you can highlight skills such as being hardworking, motivated and passionate about the industry to help seal your case.

You can also talk about other jobs you’ve interviewed for and say that you’ve been offered a higher salary elsewhere— this could sway them into fighting to keep you and offering you a higher salary, especially if they’ve already offered you the job and think you might decline to go elsewhere.

6. Be confident

One of the most important things about negotiating your salary is to be confident. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time doing this, if you are well-researched and confident in what you’re saying your future employer is much more likely to accept your offer.

You can also make sure you’ve smashed your interview and really impressed them in the early stages by brushing up on commonly asked interview questions and how to answer them.

Although it might seem scary, remember that as long as you’ve tried the worst thing they can do is decline your offer and then you’re free to look elsewhere if you feel like they’re not valuing you and your time.

What about if they already posted the salary range?

It can be tricky to negotiate your salary if they’ve already posted a salary range and it’s lower than what you’d like. However, this doesn’t mean there’s no chance of landing a higher salary. At the end of the day, it doesn’t hurt to ask— remember they need someone for the job and there might be room for flexibility.

Can I negotiate over email or phone?

It can be scary to negotiate your salary, and you might not get the opportunity to do so in your interview, especially if you’re not offered the job in person.

The good news is you can definitely negotiate your salary over the phone, and it can be less intimidating to do so. If you’ve been offered the job on a phone call, it’s the perfect opportunity to negotiate your salary before accepting the job offer.

You can also negotiate your salary via email if your job offer is emailed to you. This can help you to craft out a well-researched and confident response to prove your case and could actually work in your favour if you’re nervous about asking for more money after a job offer.

What should your salary be?

Wondering what salary you should be on? This will vary by industry and experience but research from shows the average salaries for some of the most popular sectors in the UK:

  • Accountant- £39,000
  • Recruiter- £30,439
  • Account Manager- £32,675
  • Product Manager- £50,000
  • PR- £35,000
  • Copywriter- £30,504
  • Digital Marketing Manager- £40,000
  • Paralegal- £25,000
  • Data Analyst- £36,288
  • UX Design- £45,000
  • Back End Developer- £50,000
  • Dentist- £37,430
  • Paramedic- £37,810
  • Pharmacist- £47,708

Remember these figures are just an average and are based on experience, age and location but it’s a great idea of what you can aim to be working towards or expect going into a new job industry.

Salary benchmarking

Salary benchmarking is the process of gathering data and information about average salaries from different jobs. Many companies will do this using external salary benchmarking agencies to collect this data, which they’ll then use to decide what salaries they’re offering and see if anyone in the company is being underpaid.

You can ask during your interview if the company uses benchmarking as this can help you to negotiate your salary. If they do benchmark you might have a harder time negotiating, but if they don’t you can do the research for them to prove that they should be paying you more.

Do you get other benefits?

One of the key things to consider when accepting a job offer and negotiating your salary is what other benefits the company can offer you, as sometimes this can help to balance out a lower salary.

Some benefits that jobs might offer you could include:

  • Working from home days
  • Flexible working hours
  • Extended or unlimited annual leave
  • Finishing early or 3-day weekends
  • An enhanced maternity scheme
  • An enhanced pension scheme
  • Discounts or freebies from the company
  • Free food from the office
  • Discounts on travelling to the office
  • Free private healthcare or dental care plans
  • Share/stock options
  • A company car
  • A training budget
  • Regular salary reviews and pay rises

Even if the salary isn’t exactly where you want it to be, these benefits can help to make your life a bit easier and make the company a good place to work for. If your company is willing to contribute to travel costs or give you a company car, this means you wouldn’t have to pay for commuting out of your own pocket which means a lower salary might be more liveable.

Also, if your future job states that they give regular pay rises and reviews this is a good sign too. This means even if the salary isn’t exactly where you want it to be when you accept the job offer, there’s room for growth and negotiating after you’ve been working there for a while.

Submitting your salary counteroffer

So, now you know all about how to negotiate your salary, here’s what you should actually do when it comes to submitting your counteroffer.

If you’re doing it via email, reply using the same level of formality and greeting as your emailer. You should start by thanking them for the job offer and how much you’d love to work with them, however, move on to add that you would be willing to accept if there were some changes to what has been offered.

Now you can negotiate your salary using all the tips we’ve already laid out, give a salary range, show what you have to offer, use research to show what you believe you should be on and talk about other job offers if you’ve had them. You can also use this time to ask about additional benefits too, for example asking if you can work from home and have this added to your contract if this isn’t already a benefit that’s offered.

Let them know you’re open to further negotiation and that you look forward to hearing from them and take a deep breath and click send. Remember that if an employer thinks they’re going to lose a great candidate they’re definitely likely to consider your counteroffer.

If you can’t do this via email, you can follow the same structure on the phone and in person just remember to be confident and to back yourself.

Can you lose a job offer by negotiating your salary?

Negotiating your salary is a risk that can often pay off but sometimes it might not go your way. If an employer isn’t willing to accept your counteroffer or negotiate with you further it can go two ways.

They’ll either ask you to accept the original offer which is then your choice or in rare cases they might rescind the job offer. Unfortunately, you won’t know this until you’ve tried, but normally the worst-case scenario is rejecting your counteroffer but still offering you the original. It’s your choice whether or not you want to take a job that won’t offer you a higher salary and if they do change their mind about offering you the job, it probably says a lot about the company.

Remember, that you deserve to be paid fairly for your hard work and you shouldn’t have to settle for being unfairly paid. Knowing how to negotiate your salary can be tough but it can definitely pay off, so when you’re applying for jobs remember to follow these tips and hopefully you’ll see the results and land your dream job and salary.