March 28, 2021

How to negotiate a fair salary package

By ellen

SINGAPORE – A Workforce Singapore career coach says:

Research industry salary trends as the first step. Consult career coaches, industry veterans or even friends who have been working in the sector to find out how much people are being paid for the role you are chasing.

Then prepare for the negotiation. Know why you deserve the pay you are asking for by highlighting the value you can bring to the table. This includes your track record, skill sets – especially if these skills are in demand within the industry – experience and certification, if any.

As long as the company perceives that you are worth the salary you expect, they will have no qualms offering you the amount in return for the anticipated contributions that you can bring to the company.

However, stating a figure that is beyond a company’s paying ability could potentially remove you from the race. Be realistic about whether your value, skills and experience do command your asking salary.

Finally, engage. Enter the negotiation with confidence, professionalism – be factual, not emotional – and sincerity. Do not negotiate for the sake of negotiating, and do not pitch one employer against another to drive up the offer with no real interest in the role.

Salary negotiation will take time and effort for both parties. It is important to demonstrate your interest in the role and explain your key decision points and boundaries when it comes to your salary package.

You should also seek to understand the employer’s constraints, as this not only shows your appreciation for his or her efforts to work out a win-win package for both parties, but also ensures a good wrap-up even if it does not work out in the end.

Beyond remuneration, organisations also provide staff benefits such as leave, medical and dental benefits and flexible work arrangements, and these all form part of your pay package. Consider intangible factors as well, including experience and the skills you would gain on the job to move further along your career path and enhance your employability.

For current employees who are looking for a pay increase, focus on why you deserve one and not why you need one. Too often, people argue that a pay increase is important to cater to rising expenses.

Have a frank conversation with your supervisor about how your pay can be increased; you may have to take on additional responsibilities or a new scope of work. Assess your existing skills and if you find some gaps, be proactive to learn new skills. You can tap government-subsidised courses and your SkillsFuture Credits.

If the conversation with your supervisor does not yield the result you want, use that conversation to identify areas you can work on. Establish specific goals and timelines so you have an idea of when to revisit the negotiation.

For trainees, take the initiative to speak with your supervisor to determine your prospects with the company. If they ask about salary, demonstrate maturity by telling them that you trust them to work out an offer that is reasonable to both parties.