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All employees are faced with tough salary negotiations at some time or other. Different criteria, arguments, and tips will help you to develop a strategy for the battle to get a salary increase.

Salary negotiation
tips and tricks for getting a salary increase

At some stage of their life, almost everyone has completed an apprenticeship or a degree and is let loose into the free world of work. Big money is in sight – or can at least be negotiated over the years. During the course of their working life, employees knock on the boss's door every two years or so to ask for a salary increase. Then it is a case of arguments, persuasion and tough negotiation.

What are the decisive criteria for a salary negotiation?

Regardless of whether you are about to start your career, are planning a job change or are taking on a new position within your company. There are a wide range of factors that can affect your salary. The comparison to identical jobs or industries is obvious, and be used as orientation for the required salary, but you can get a realistic assessment by means of the interplay of the following criteria:

  • Experience
  • The degree or training qualification, the choice of subject and previous experience from student employee activities or internships are decisive for career starters. In contrast to this, previous professional experience and the relevance thereof for the future position are much more important for people with professional experience in addition to having a degree.
  • Qualifications
  • Your training, additional qualifications and certificates achieved during the course of your life reflect your skills. The better and more specialised you are in a particular area, the higher you can set your salary requirements.
  • Management experience
  • Know your market value. As a specialist with management experience, you can provide your company with special added value.
  • Differences between industries
  • Various studies show that salaries in the pharmaceutical and medical engineering areas, the banking area or the capital goods industry sector are much more attractive than the ones that are paid than in retail, gastronomy or manual trades.
  • Location
  • Germany has regions which are economically stronger and structurally weaker, and the average salary in the regions has also been adjusted accordingly.
  • Tariff groups
  • In some industries, your salary and also all of the general conditions are defined in a collective bargaining agreement.
  • Company size
  • The bigger the company, the more salary can be paid on average.

In addition to these factors, it is always worth taking a look at the current economic situation and the competition on the job market – information which you should also include in your calculation.

The first salary negotiation for starters – this is what’s in it for you!

Particularly as a young professional, it is difficult to know your worth and confidently demand a salary that matches your qualifications. But also, or perhaps because you are just starting out, it makes sense to get some comprehensive information. What is the salary structure like in your occupational group or industry? Numerous professional associations, industry reports, tariff tables, salary calculators and the Federal Employment Agency provide a good basis for this. You can also use your experience from job interviews to correctly assess or adjust your salary expectations. If you had to provide a salary expectation in the cover letter beforehand, your future employer can already assess whether or not your expectations are the same. If your demands are higher or lower than the employer’s, you would probably not have been invited for an interview in the first place.

A small tip: When you are asked to state your expectation in terms of gross annual salary, bear in mind the fact that the net salary that is paid depends on too many personal factors.

And also: Money isn’t everything – think about your lower limit, whether you should negotiate a salary increase after the probationary period or whether your employer might be of interest to you with attractive additional benefits.

Examples of attractive additional services might be:

  • Free meals, meal vouchers, discounted meals in a canteen
  • Free drinks
  • Job ticket
  • Employee sports programmes / discounted memberships in sports clubs or fitness studios
  • Home office
  • Company car
  • Free parking space
  • Childcare allowance / company kindergartens
  • Employer-funded pension

Salary negotiation – tips for a job change

Good preparation is the be-all and end-all in salary negotiations You are the best judge of what you can do, the successes that you have achieved and what you are worth. So be self-confident, think about your arguments carefully, find the right moment and persuade your boss to want to pay you more. Your choice of words may also play a part in your manager’s decision. Try asking for a salary adjustment and not an increase!

10 salary negotiation tips for your salary increase:

  • Make the first move!
  • Compare your required salary to the average salary in your industry!
  • Play your cards right!
  • Be confident!
  • Pause at the right times!
  • Listen and ask clever counter-questions!
  • Mirror your counterpart!
  • Take the wind out of the sails of counter arguments!
  • Be flexible – a salary package may also be worthwhile! !
  • Be patient!
  • Never accept the first offer!

As well as all of the considerations with regard to arguments, successes, experiences and goals, there are a few rules of thumb that you can use as a guide when asking about a salary increase:

  • Salary negotiation within one year: plus 3 to 5 percent
  • More responsibility and new tasks: plus 5 to 7 percent
  • In the event of a promotion or a change of position: plus 10 to 15 percent

Before the salary negotiation, think about what your lower limit is, and plan for possible concessions. You are negotiating, so be aware that your counterpart may negotiate you down or not accept your demands at all. If your ideas are not achievable, keep looking around the job market, but don't sell yourself at less than your worth.

If you take these tips to heart, you will have more chance of a successful salary negotiation.

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