Adriana Herrera, PayDestiny FounderThis article provides answers to the question “How much should you negotiate salary?”

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How Much Should You Negotiate Salary (With Example “Script”)

by | Last updated Jun 22, 2022

How Much Should You Negotiate Salary (Icon)

Are you wondering “How much should you negotiate salary?”

If so, you’re not alone. Many people are unsure of how to negotiate their salary and wind up leaving money on the table. But don’t worry, this article is here to help.

In this article you’ll get the answers you’re looking for, learn how much you should negotiate salary, and how to negotiate salary increase. You’ll also get answers to frequently asked questions like “Can you lose a job offer by negotiating salary,” “What is a normal salary negotiation,” and more. By the end of this article, you will reduce salary negotiation fears and put your mind at ease so that you focus on building your salary negotiation skills to get the best deal possible.

A salary negotiation can feel like a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that you have a lot to gain by negotiating. Not only could you get the salary that you deserve, but you could also improve your career prospects in the long run. So, if you’re ready to learn how much you should negotiate your salary, keep reading!

How Much Should You Negotiate Salary (Icon)

How Much Should You Negotiate Salary

How Much Should You Negotiate Salary

It can be difficult to know how much you should negotiate salary. You don’t want to low-ball yourself and leave money on the table and you don’t want to ask for too much and risk losing the job offer.

We’re going to dive into how much should you negotiate salary. To clarify, we’ll just be getting into base salary. In this article we won’t get into negotiation variables such as job perks, stock options, job title, a signing bonus, and other forms of income such as profit share and commissions. I mention this to highlight that the salary you negotiate is part of a total rewards compensation package. To have a successful negotiation it’s good to think about your goals and other income impacting variables offered.

What percentage should you negotiate salary?

Figuring out the right base salary amount to negotiate for can be tricky and there are a lot of different opinions about this. The answer to the question “What percentage should you negotiate salary” will vary depending on who you ask.

In general, most career coaches recommend that you aim for a 10-20% increase in salary. The approach of picking a percentage that “feels right” or “sounds good” can lead to leaving money on the table or creating a negative tone because you’re negotiating for more than the market is paying.

Here are a couple of examples of this:

  • Example A: Let’s say you’re being offered a base salary of $70,000.00 per year and the national market average is $93,000.00 and the market average in your city is $104,000.00. If you were to randomly pick a percentage to negotiate for you could leave a lot of money on the table.
  • Example B: Let’s say you’re being offered a base salary of $70,000.00 per year and the national market average is $65,000.00 and the market average in your city is $68,000.00. If you were to randomly pick a percentage between 10-20% and negotiate a salary increase based on a random percentage you could end up losing the job by asking for too much (Quick note…even if you receive a competitive offer you should still ask if it is negotiable. Typically, unless an offer is presented as “best and final” or “non-negotiable” there is room to negotiate.).

Some career coaches also suggest comparing your current salary to the proposed salary of a new job offer and assessing how the comparison matches personal financial goals to determine how much you should negotiate your salary. This is very bad advice.

What you are paid to perform the duties and responsibilities of your current job has nothing to do with what you should be paid to perform the duties and responsibilities of another job.

You should not randomly select a percentage between 10-20% and negotiate for that salary increase amount. The amount you negotiate for should be rooted in data.

How Much Should You Negotiate Salary (How to determine the amount)

The amount you should negotiate for is determined through an assessment of market data, professional data, and personal financial data. This data includes:

  • The salary range for the position.
  • How the company calculates salary and if the calculation was applied to your job offer.
  • The job duties and responsibilities to be performed.
  • How your skills, education, experience, achievements, and track record of success relate to the duties and responsibilities to be performed. Are your skills entry-level, mid-level, or senior level?
  • How much people in similar roles are making.
  • How much people with the same level of experience as you are making in a similar role.
  • Your must-have base salary minimum (not including other forms of compensation, benefits, and job perks) as it relates to your financial needs and what the market is paying (Note…Your “must-have” base salary minimum is not an amount you feel you deserve because of the bills you have to pay but a number rooted in market data that equitably reflects what the market is paying for your skills/experience and meets your financial needs).

When you gather this data you will be able to determine how much you should negotiate for. This data will give you the confidence to have a salary negotiation conversation that is not a random percentage but a value you can support with metrics.

How to Negotiate Salary Increase

How to Negotiate Salary Increase | How Much Should You Negotiate Salary

If you receive an offer and the employer does not state the offer is non-negotiable there is likely room to negotiate. To increase the offer you will need to make a case for why you deserve more money. Remember, the person you are negotiating with is not a mind-reader and does not know what you’re thinking, how much research you’ve done, or what you’ve achieved. To increase your salary it’s up to you to communicate this information to them.

How to Negotiate Salary Increase (Create a Narrative)

Using the information you’ve gathered from the company and the data you’ve organized create a narrative that:

  • Summarizes your professional history.
  • Explains how your qualifications give you an advantage to excel performing the role’s duties.
  • Makes a case for why you deserve more money by sharing your skills, experience, education, achievements, and success stories.
  • Provides market data to support why you deserve more money.
  • Asks for the salary increase you desire.

How to Negotiate Salary Increase (Example “Script”)


“I am very excited about the offer and the opportunity to join the team. Based on my research, I believe the salary being offered is on the lower end of what people with my qualifications and level of experience are making.

I have over X years of experience in ABC industry/field. In my previous role at 123 Company, I was responsible for Y tasks/projects. I helped increase revenue by Z% and decreased costs by XY%. I also have a degree from 456 University. I have been recognized with YZ awards for ABC achievements and have been invited to speak at XYZ conferences to share my expertise on ABC topics.

This role requires XYZ. I have experience performing these duties and achieved ABC outcomes.

The position also requires XYZ. I have experience performing these duties and achieved ABC outcomes.

In addition, the role requires XYZ. I have experience performing these duties and achieved ABC outcomes.

Based on my qualifications, I am confident I can perform the duties and responsibilities required and exceed expectations.

Through my research, I found people with my qualifications performing the job duties and responsibilities of this position are making an average base salary of $X.

If we could bring the salary up to $X I could start on ABC.”

In addition to creating a narrative that clearly communicates your value are things you can do to heighten your chances of successfully negotiating a salary increase. 

What are 5 tips for negotiating salary?

  1. Ask questions: A successful salary negotiation starts with asking questions to ensure you’re negotiating the entire job, understand how the company calculates salary, and understand non-monetary variables important to you that are/are not available (such as remote work and flexible work hours).
  2. Do your research: Know what the average fair market value salary is for someone with your skills and level of experience performing the duties of the job. 
  3. Don’t accept the first offer unless it’s presented as non-negotiable: If the employer’s first offer is lower than your expected salary range, don’t be afraid to counteroffer.
  4. Be confident: To successfully negotiate salary, you need to be confident in your value to the company. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
  5. Be polite and professional: Even though a salary negotiation can be difficult, it’s important to remember to be polite and professional throughout the process. This will show that you are serious about the position and can collaborate under pressure. Being polite and professional increases the chances of a successful negotiation.

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Can you lose a job offer by negotiating salary?

Can you lose a job offer by negotiating salary | How Much Should You Negotiate Salary

 

If you’re building your skills and confidence to negotiate your salary and are asking the question “Can you lose a job offer by negotiating salary?” the answer is “Yes, you can lose a job offer if you negotiate your salary poorly but you won’t lose the job offer just because you negotiate salary. You will lose the job offer for poorly negotiating salary and making detrimental mistakes.”

A salary negotiation is a conversation in which the employer and employee work together to find alignment. The goal is to find a base salary that meets the needs of both parties. The key word here is “parties.” A successful negotiation requires two people who are working together towards a common goal.

If you’re not prepared to have a productive conversation about your salary then you could lose the job offer. This is because the employer may feel like you’re not going to be a team player and that you’re not interested in finding a solution that works for both of you. They may also think that you’re not going to be happy with the salary they’re willing to pay, which could lead to problems down the road.

To avoid losing a job offer, it’s important to remember that a salary negotiation is a conversation, not a confrontation. You should come to the table prepared to listen to the employer’s needs and negotiate in good faith.

To have a successful salary negotiation that doesn’t result in you losing the job offer:

  • Be prepared to compromise: There may be some areas where you’re not able to get exactly what you want. Be prepared to be flexible to reach an agreement.
  • Don’t make any threats: Threatening to walk away from the offer will only make the employer less likely to negotiate with you.
  • Keep your cool: Getting emotional during the negotiation will not help you reach an agreement. Remain calm and focused on finding an amount that works for both of you.
  • Don’t be entitled: Remember that you’re not entitled to the salary you want just because you want it. Be prepared to justify your request with data and examples.
  • Express gratitude: Thank the employer for the opportunity to negotiate and express your appreciation for their time. Throughout the process find ways to authentically show gratitude by saying things like “I appreciate your flexibility to work with me on X” or “The details you outlined are helping me better understand the offer. Thank you.”

Negotiating your salary can be a tricky process, but by following these tips you can increase your chances of success. Just remember to stay calm, be prepared, and be grateful, and you should be able to reach an agreement that works for both you and the employer.

In the case you followed these tips and do happen to lose a job offer by negotiating salary, don’t take it personally. It’s not a reflection on you as a person or an employee. It just means that the company wasn’t willing to meet your needs. Keep searching for an employer who is willing to negotiate and align the salary and job duties to be performed with your skills, experience, education, and track record of success.

    Do you want to figure out how much you should negotiate salary?

    PayDestiny can help! Create your PayDestiny account to access tools to figure out how much you should negotiate salary and to maximize your pay.

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    How Much Should You Negotiate Salary (FAQs)

    FAQs | How Much Should You Negotiate Salary

    Do employers expect you to negotiate salary?

    Many employers expect job applicants and internal candidates to negotiate salary, and some may even low-ball their initial offer to leave room for negotiation. If you’re not sure whether or not you can negotiate salary, the best course of action is to directly ask by saying something like “Thank you. I am excited by the possibility of joining as your new [Insert job title]. Is this offer negotiable?”

    How much can you realistically negotiate salary?

    How much you can realistically negotiate salary depends on several factors, including the initial offer you received and how it compares to what the market is paying, your level of experience, if you have competing offers to use as leverage, how much the company needs to fill the position, the company’s budget, and more.

    What are some red flags to watch out for during salary negotiations?

    Some red flags to watch out for during salary negotiations include the employer becoming emotional or appearing annoyed. Seeing these red flags doesn’t necessarily mean that the value you are negotiating for isn’t fair but signals that the employer is triggered by something. In this case, it’s best to try and de-escalate the situation by maintaining a calm demeanor and focusing on finding alignment.

    Other red flags include:

    • The employer making threats
    • The employer trying to rush you into a decision
    • The employer offering you less than what was originally offered
    • The employer not budging on their initial offer

    If you see any of these red flags, it’s important to trust your gut and proceed with caution.

    What is a normal salary negotiation?

    The answer to the question “What is a normal salary negotiation” varies depending on who you ask but, in general, most people believe that a “normal” salary negotiation involves some back-and-forth between the employer and the job applicant (or employee). The employer usually makes the first offer and the applicant responds with a counteroffer. From there, the two parties negotiate until they reach an agreement on base salary, job perks, stock options, job title, bonuses (including a signing bonus and merit bonuses), and benefits.

    How much should you counter in salary negotiation?

    How much you should counter in a salary negotiation depends on a number of factors, including the initial offer, what the market is paying, how much the employer is willing to budge, your level of experience, if you have competing offers to use as leverage, how much the company needs to fill the position, the company’s budget, and how much you need the job. The right amount to counter is based on these variables as well as on market data, professional achievement data, and what you’re willing to accept.

    How Much Should You Negotiate Salary (Key Takeaways)

    Key Takeaways | How Much Should You Negotiate Salary

    • Salary negotiations are a common occurrence and, in most cases, are expected.
    • How much you can realistically negotiate salary depends on many factors such as the initial offer, how the company calculates salary, what the market is paying, your level of experience, your track record of success, and more.
    • To have a successful salary negotiation, be prepared to compromise, don’t make any threats, keep your cool, don’t be entitled, and express gratitude.
    • To negotiate a salary increase, prepare a narrative that persuades the employer by presenting researched market data, your professional history, the job’s duties and responsibilities, successes you’ve had that detail your success performing the duties and responsibilities, and that asks for a specific base salary based on market data and professional data.
    • To ensure you don’t lose the job offer when negotiating your salary, be sure to not to be entitled and to express gratitude. If you sense your negotiation is going off track, be polite and professional, trust your gut and proceed with caution.

    Negotiating your salary can be a tricky process but, by following these tips, you can determine how much you should negotiate for, avoid losing a job offer, and get the salary you deserve.

    If you’re still feeling nervous about negotiating, remember that preparation and practice make perfect. For step-by-step help to figure out how much you should ask for in your salary negotiation, create your PayDestiny account today.

    Now I’d like to hear from you: What aspect of figuring out how much you should negotiate salary do you feel most comfortable with? What aspect feels the most nerve-racking, if any part?

    Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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