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When negotiating salaries,
follow these tips

In your professional life, you will often be confronted with salary negotiations. It doesn't matter if you ask for a salary increase after the probationary period or if you have been employed by your employer for several years and have already made a career. And even right at the beginning, when you apply for a job, the interview is already about money.

But what strategies are there? How much more salary can you ask for after a successfully completed probationary period? What are you actually entitled to on average compared to all other skilled workers? And how do you convince your superiors in salary negotiations to pay you more?

 

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We present the best tricks and tips for your salary negotiations that we have collected for you over the last few years - and show you mistakes that you should avoid at all costs. Get closer to your desired salary increase.

Make sure to prepare—and research—for a salary discussion

Before embarking on a salary negotiation, be sure to know exactly how much you are worth. There is no one-fits-all answer to the question “How much more money can I ask for?” or “What is a reasonable request?”. There are too many differences in professional and personal backgrounds, industries, existing additional qualifications and company sizes. And a company’s location and profitability also matter for the wages they pay.

Be sure to know that when you start your career or change jobs, different factors will influence your salary. University degree, specialisations and also previous practical experience from internships during your studies or different placements as a working student will ultimately influence your starting salary.

Previous (professional) experience will also play a role for future salary discussions when changing jobs. Other levers are your positions at previous employers, your managerial experience, regional differences in salary and the size of your new company.

Previous (professional) experience will also play a role for future salary discussions when changing jobs. Other levers are your positions at previous employers, your managerial experience, regional differences in salary and the size of your new company.

Also keep in mind that salaries can vary greatly between industries. According to research, pharmaceutical and medical technology companies and organisations as well as banks and capital goods industry firms pay the most attractive salaries. In comparison, jobs in retail, hospitality and trades are less lucrative.

Therefore, you always need to be aware of the current economic situation when assessing your salary potential.

Our tip: Do comprehensive research. Use salary calculators and gather all the information to compare positions and companies you can find—no matter whether you have just finished your probation period or have been working in the company for ten years.

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Research is essential

Use our salary calculator and gather all the information you can find on comparable positions and companies. Only then will you be able to articulate your salary aspirations realistically and confidently:

A salary negotiation is a skill...

Not everyone is well-versed and experienced in the subject of salary negotiations or salary increases. And often a successful salary discussion only succeeds in the second or third attempt. Basically, we can give you an effective tip for this: Use the company principles and values of the respective company for your argumentation.

Is your employer always committed to satisfied customers? If you have managed to acquire them or have made existing customers very satisfied with your performance, you should also communicate this in salary interviews.

Improving the workflow is a goal that your company is permanently committed to? If it was your idea to implement new processes and systems internally that increased the efficiency of the team, you should not withhold this from your employer.

If you managed to contribute to the success of your company through demonstrable achievements, share this confidently and proudly. This will help your superiors to better understand your desire for a salary adjustment.

Salary negotiations: 4 tips for your future salary increase

Although you should always talk about “salary adjustment” and never about raising your current pay, you still need to employ some negotiation skills. Use our tips to be well equipped for salary discussions.

Did you miss the moment during your performance review or salary discussions when you could have mentioned your expected salary? Our tip: Never agree to the first offer your boss makes. You are in a negotiation, which is why both parties should agree to an offered salary. Keep this in mind: The fact that you are in a negotiation signals your employer’s basic willingness as well as a certain leeway with regard to your salary.

So even if you are e-mailed your employment contract, you don’t have to accept this first draft immediately. Both negotiation parties need to be happy and agree on the possible salary before you accept the suggestion.

Did you miss the moment during your performance review or salary discussions when you could have mentioned your expected salary? Our tip: Never agree to the first offer your boss makes. You are in a negotiation, which is why both parties should agree to an offered salary. Keep this in mind: The fact that you are in a negotiation signals your employer’s basic willingness as well as a certain leeway with regard to your salary.

So even if you are e-mailed your employment contract, you don’t have to accept this first draft immediately. Both negotiation parties need to be happy and agree on the possible salary before you accept the suggestion.


Many salary experts purposefully pause in conversations. Why? In such discussions, silence is often difficult to bear for the dialogue partners. Instead, they talk without beginning and end, thereby minimising their chances of a salary increase. Using silences on purpose is a technique only few people master in a negotiation. Communicate that you imagine a 15-percent salary adjustment to be justified. Then stop and don’t add reasons for your requested salary. This underlines what you have just said and also your determination. If your boss inquires further, you can directly tell them your sound and prepared arguments.

Many salary experts purposefully pause in conversations. Why? In such discussions, silence is often difficult to bear for the dialogue partners. Instead, they talk without beginning and end, thereby minimising their chances of a salary increase. Using silences on purpose is a technique only few people master in a negotiation. Communicate that you imagine a 15-percent salary adjustment to be justified. Then stop and don’t add reasons for your requested salary. This underlines what you have just said and also your determination. If your boss inquires further, you can directly tell them your sound and prepared arguments.


Many superiors respond to salary requests with a reflex—using catchphrases or sometimes spurious counter-arguments you cannot refute. You can prepare yourself very well for them.

They claim that there is no budget for it? Counter that by saying that your recently completed project in particular led to an 8-percent sales increase in the past three months. This will nip counter arguments straight in the bud.

 

Many superiors respond to salary requests with a reflex—using catchphrases or sometimes spurious counter-arguments you cannot refute. You can prepare yourself very well for them.

They claim that there is no budget for it? Counter that by saying that your recently completed project in particular led to an 8-percent sales increase in the past three months. This will nip counter arguments straight in the bud.

 


Applicants, but also active employees, often start out rather defensively and shy in salary negotiations. Never apologise for your request to adjust your pay; don’t say that you feel uncomfortable about the discussion. As a negotiation partner, you are on an equal footing here with your superiors. What you can expect is an equivalent value for your performance. Communicate your value with self-confidence and actively push for what you're worth: “I think that EUR 54,500 is an appropriate salary for my current position.” Try to find a balance here: Don’t be rude, but don’t beg for more money, either. In addition, make sure to avoid using the conditional tense such as “I would say that this is an suitable salary” as it reduces your chances and leaves no room for argumentation.

Applicants, but also active employees, often start out rather defensively and shy in salary negotiations. Never apologise for your request to adjust your pay; don’t say that you feel uncomfortable about the discussion. As a negotiation partner, you are on an equal footing here with your superiors. What you can expect is an equivalent value for your performance. Communicate your value with self-confidence and actively push for what you're worth: “I think that EUR 54,500 is an appropriate salary for my current position.” Try to find a balance here: Don’t be rude, but don’t beg for more money, either. In addition, make sure to avoid using the conditional tense such as “I would say that this is an suitable salary” as it reduces your chances and leaves no room for argumentation.


Also be prepared for this standard counter argument:
 

  • “Unfortunately, I cannot meet your salary request because of the current financial situation.” Your reply: “I recognise that. And that’s why there are potential benefits we should discuss.”

  • “Your current salary is already much higher than those we usually pay for such jobs.” Your reply: “My research into the job as an online marketing manager with ten years of experience, plus the successes I already achieved for our company suggest otherwise. According to that, my salary is…”

  • “Your salary request exceeds our department’s current budget. I’m not authorised for this; our CEO needs to decide about that.” Your reply: “You are the head of this department and are in the ideal position to gauge my performance. What kind of salary adjustment is appropriate in your eyes?"

And it all comes down to that: practice, practice and ... practice. Be as meticulous here as you were when preparing your application documents.

Apply now

You haven’t yet found your dream job and would like to meet more employers? Upload your CV to our portal and send a speculative application.

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