Salary negotiation has slowly become a lost art. The idea of asking for more money in an interview or on the job is often seen as unprofessional, and it's not something you talk about with your co-workers. However, the tech industry is in demand, and figuring out how to negotiate a higher salary to match the competitive nature of the industry can help you earn more.
According to a survey by ZipRecruiter, 64% of job seekers accept the first offer and choose not to negotiate for higher. Not negotiating salary can cause an accumulative loss of pay throughout your working career. If you miss out on negotiating at the beginning of your career, it could cost you $750,000 by the time you retire. Worry and anxiety often prevent people from negotiating, but a little bit of confidence can have a lifelong effect on your earnings.
Here are 11 things to keep in mind that will help you negotiate a higher salary in the tech industry.
1. Understand the Market Value of Your Skills
The first step is figuring out what the market rate for your position is so you know what amount of money will be considered reasonable when negotiating a new pay package. To get the salary you want, be prepared to do some research.
First, get a sense of what the going market rate for your position is—the salary range and benefits package—in your geographic area. This can be tricky depending on where you work, but there are online resources that list salaries by company. You can research on sites like Glassdoor, PayScale, Salary.com, or jobs boards with companies that have posted their desired salary range.
Don’t be afraid to ask your recruiter about reasonable salary expectations for your skills set; they’re interested in getting you the highest salary possible! You can also ask people in your network what their salary range was when they were hired. If you have a friend who recently got a job in the field you're going into, reach out and ask. They will most likely be glad to share this information with you. You want to find a company that ranks well in pay compared to other companies on the market.
Once you know where the pay level lies for your position, consider why you would be worth more than that amount of money. No matter where in the tech industry or job function you work, there will likely be factors that make you more valuable than your salary range. These factors are often called your "value add" or your "unique value proposition." Document them and prepare to speak about how you add value in your interview.
2. Document Your Accomplishments
When negotiating salary, the employer will ask why you are worth the money you're requesting. Asking will only establish that you are looking for more money; by demonstrating the value of your work, however, the company will be better positioned to offer you more.
You'll need to be able to explain why your skills, experience, and education make you a fit for the position and deserving of higher pay. The easiest way to do this is to have actual numbers in front of you that support your case. Make sure you’re able to showcase what you've accomplished with past employers and discuss how they relate to the new position.
Your resume should reflect your technical skills and present your work experiences professionally. Seek opportunities where you create products or applications from scratch. If you cannot find such opportunities at your current employer (this occurs often for software developers in the non-software industry), consider taking online courses to build up a portfolio that represents your true value.
You can showcase your portfolio on websites like GitHub and provide links to prospective employees so they can see the work you’ve done so far.
3. Be Upfront About Your Desired Salary
There is always a worry when negotiating that you might be asking for less than what your employer budgeted for the posted position. However, a popular negotiation technique advises to use the anchoring effect to your advantage and be the first to mention a number.
Anchoring is a common cognitive bias where people tend to give too much weight to the first number presented. Use this technique and mention what you want to get paid before they tell you their range. This bias arises because people rely too heavily on the first piece of information that they receive when making decisions.