Negotiating Job Offers and Salaries

After the interview

After the job application, there are still a few steps before accepting an offer. You may be lucky enough to need to evaluate competing offers from multiple firms, or if you have been unsuccessful, you may wish to seek feedback from the employer on how you can enhance subsequent applications. 

Evaluating job offers 

Try not to choose between two or more job offers on the basis of salary alone. Many graduates regret being lured by attractive salaries into roles that are too demanding, not developmental or just plain boring. 

When considering an offer you should ask yourself the following: 

  • What opportunities are there for promotion, transfer, development and training, attending conferences?
  • Is further study encouraged and supported through study leave provisions or refunds of fees?
  • How well will you be able to relate to your supervisor and colleagues? 
  • Do you sense there will be mutual respect? 
  • Is there an internal mentoring program? 
  • Will you be able to cope with the workplace culture? Is it individualistic or team-based, structured or disorganised, competitive or cooperative? 
  • Is the organisation democratic or authoritarian? Will being new or at the bottom of the organisational structure allow you to take part in the planning process or in voicing your opinions? If so, what processes are in place to ensure 'bottom up' communication is sought and valued? 
  • Are there other fringe benefits or incentives, eg performance bonuses, commissions, car or telephone expenses, gym membership, childcare, health insurance, etc? 
  • What are facilities are provided, eg parking, childcare, canteen, gym? 
  • Are there opportunities to travel for work? 
  • Are the organisation's values compatible with yours, eg prestige, value of product or service, social conscience, environmental considerations, etc? 
  • What are the provisions for taking leave, flexible work hours, working from home and time off? 
  • How long will it take you to get to work each day? Is it accessible by public transport? Is parking available? 

Making the Decision

If after asking the questions above, you are still not able to decide, you may want to draw up a table listing in order the factors that are most important to you. Then, give each offer a rating out of 100 for each factor. The following is an example: 

FactorCompany ACompany B
Promotion Opportunities2080
Colleagues6090
Training support3040
Salary8020
Location6030
International opportunities1060
Prestige of company8050
Corporate values1070
Workplace culture2060
Total380500

 

Negotiating Your Salary 

Many people feel anxious and uncomfortable when the time comes to negotiate salaries and benefits. When looking for work try to leave any serious talk about salary until as late in the recruitment process as possible. You will be in a much stronger position if the employer is keen to employ you.

How negotiable are graduate and entry level salaries?

Salary negotiation can depend upon numerous factors including the position, the hiring person, the organisation or company, your perceived value and your experience.

  • Entry Level and Graduate Positions have salaries that are either set or have defined salary ranges. The range may be as much as $3000 – $5,000
  • Mid-level Positions typically have salary ranges and benefits that are more open to negotiation.
  • Higher-level Management and Executive Positions offer the greatest negotiation opportunities, and may build in benefits like company cars, share options, etc.
  • Government Positions have relatively set salary scales that are based upon education and experience. Often salaries are negotiated collectively, for example through an Enterprise Agreement.

What to Research?

Market Trends

Information about salaries can be gathered from a variety of sources:

  • Job advertisements
  • People who work in the industry
  • Other job seekers and people you know
  • Recruitment agencies and recruitment professionals
  • Professional associations
  • Internet resources, for example Graduate Careers Starting Salaries

What You Think You Are Worth

  • There are a variety of factors that influence what you are worth:
  • Your aptitudes, skills and experience
  • The value you can add to an employer in terms of objective criteria
  • Your needs in terms of living requirements
  • Your ambition

Use this information to determine an acceptable salary range. For a graduate position a range of $5000 would be suitable, eg. $43K to $37K.

Remuneration

Remuneration takes into account both salary and other benefits. Consider the complete package in the salary negotiation process. Some examples of benefits include: 

  • Flexible hours
  • Company vehicle
  • Share options
  • Study support in pay and or leave
  • Payment of professional memberships
  • Additional superannuation contributions

Salary Negotiation Tips 

  • Show confidence and be prepared to support your worth
  • Do your research before you negotiate
  • Be honest about your skills and experience
  • Let the employer mention the salary first
  • Only discuss salary when you know the employer wants to hire you
  • Request time to consider a salary offer, ask for a day to think about it
  • Remember to look at the complete remuneration and opportunities the employer has to offer
  • Once you have agreed on salary, ask for it in writing