You won’t get the pay you deserve without negotiating salary
Getting a job offer from a company you want to work for is one of the best feelings that a professional can have. However, too often people get caught up in the excitement of having landed the job and are too quick to accept the existing terms of the offer without negotiating. This is especially true if you have been looking for a job for a long time.
What you need to remember is just because you get a job offer, doesn’t mean the interview is over. In fact, you are now entering the most awkward and difficult part of the job process – talking about money.
You may be thinking that maybe the employer will change their minds about hiring you if you ask for more money. Or maybe it’s better to wait until you’ve worked at the company for a year and ‘proved yourself’, to ask for the salary you really want.
But here’s the thing, the employer picked you for a reason – you are the person they want to work with. As a result, they would prefer to negotiate and accommodate your requests rather than pick a ‘cheaper’ candidate. Also, why not try and get the salary you want now, and earn even more a year later.
Simply put, getting the salary you want is highly dependent on your self-confidence. If you know your worth, and what value you will bring to the company, then you will be able to effectively communicate this to potential employers. Nonetheless, beyond confidence, here is a strategic way to negotiate salary after you get the job offer.
Do your market research
Researching the current salary rate in your industry and for your position is something that you should do before your first interview, as many employers will ask you about salary at some point in the first or second interview (if they are interested in working with you).
Unfortunately, Tanzania doesn’t have a local database for salary ranges, so you can use a U.S. based one like Glassdoor, and do a general estimation of how much the average salary would be in Tanzania (based on cost of living) . So for instance, a job that pays an average of $26,000/year is considered a low-income job in America and would be the equivalent of an average income job in Tanzania – probably around TZS 600,000 to TZS 800,000.
Also, while most people are unwilling to talk about how much they earn, this is a good way to learn how much people in the same industry, job role, or career status as yourself are earning. So if you have acquaintances or friends who are in similar positions, then you should ask them for an estimation/benchmark of how much they earn. They most likely won’t tell you the exact amount, but may give you a range.
Once you have an estimation of the salary you should earn in your position, increase it by 30% so that it gives you room to negotiate down but still earn the amount you want.
Negotiate benefits first
So once you get the job offer the employer will probably give you a breakdown of your base salary, benefits, and bonuses. Once they do this, it’s now your turn to bring up your demands.
Don’t start with the salary or bonus, instead start off by asking some follow up questions about the benefits. Any seasoned recruiter will tell you, the best time to negotiate perks and benefits for your employment is when you get the job offer, and not after you start the job. The reason is pretty logical, when you get offered a job the power scales tip to your favor, now it’s the employer that has to impress you so that you accept the position, and this gives you some room to ask for things you want.
Benefits you can talk about include:
- Your National Social Security Fund (NSSF) package: What percentage of your salary would it be? How much will the employer contribute to it?
- Is your health insurance comprehensive? What health conditions doesn’t it cover? What’s the amount?
- What type of laptop will you get? If you have preferences, ask if they can accommodate you.
- Other perks like, free lunch, gym memberships, free online courses, housing etc.
- Can you work from home? How many days of the week exactly?
- If your job requires you to work outside office hours will you get an internet modem?
- Will you be reimbursed for transport to meetings and activities related to work?
Another reason to start with negotiating benefits is that these are the easier things to talk about with the employer, and you can even be lenient on matters that are not that important to you (for instance, transport stipend, internet modem etc.) The goal is to get the employer comfortable before you tackle the big question of base salary.
What to say when negotiating base salary
Once you’ve got the benefits clarified, it’s time to bring up the base salary. To help you state your claim with ease, say something like,
“I’m sincerely excited to start working with you and the team, and I’m confident I’ll bring a lot of value here. I appreciate the offer of TZS 2,000,000 but given my 5 years of experience in this industry and the client’s I’ll be bringing here; I was expecting an offer of TZS 3,500,000. Can we work something out?”
The thing to remember is that the employer is probably expecting you to negotiate, and they have prepared themselves to pay you more than what they offered. However, they will surely put up a fight as who wants to pay more if they don’t have to. So they may say something like,
“We are also very excited to have you join the team. But to be honest, we budgeted for someone who costs TZS 1,000,000 and had to make a lot of compromises on the budget to offer you the TZS 2,000,000 as we really value you. We think this is fair, and we cannot strain our budget further.”
You may feel awkward at this point but don’t let that deter you. Follow up by saying,
“I appreciate the efforts you made to give me the offer and understand that budgets can be tight. I’d just like to emphasize my earlier point that I know the value I will bring to the company is well worth the TZS 3,500,000.”
At this point, there may be a long awkward silence. Remain confident and calm, as at some point the employer will say,
“We have a tight budget but we will see what we can do”.
Usually, they will regroup and give you another offer later via email or phone call. However, they may also try to make another offer right then and there. If you still feel like they can go higher, then simply ask,
“Can you go any higher?” or “Can you do any better than that?”
If they say no, then ask them for time to think about it.
Don’t forget about your bonus
In addition to your base salary, your bonus is negotiable also. Use the same approach as you did with negotiating your salary, however, you should also bring up:
- How will your bonus be calculated? Is it through KPIs or other factors?
- Who is responsible for evaluating and determining your bonus?
- Is your bonus quarterly or yearly?
If you never ask, then you’ll never know
Tanzanians are generally modest people, and many of us are uncomfortable communicating how much we think we are worth (basically our value) in monetary terms. However, none of us would object to being paid more than we currently are. So the best way to get more money from your employer is to simply ask.
As mentioned before, people often convince themselves that they should accept the salary they are offered. However, unless it’s way above the market price and your expectations, you should always try and negotiate for better pay. While most businesses are always happy to lower operational costs, they tend to try and offer fair pay to their employees and are willing to go the extra mile for a great one.
So in addition to learning how to negotiate, you have to work at being your very best in your career –and the confidence boost you get from this will trickle down to the salary you receive.