Many of us hate to talk about money, and we may get this from our parents. We may feel embarrassed that we have too little or not want to impress with how much we earn. It can be worse for artists who feel that what we do is above money and see it as two different things.
People value different things and artists value money less than creative freedom, they prefer to make things than sell things.
If you have applied for a job, the best time to negotiate salary is once you have been offered the job. So wait till you get an offer. Some employers will ask about salary quite early on in an interview as it’s a reason to screen you out. They don’t want to proceed with an applicant they believe will turn them down due to the salary being too low. But also be aware that if you ask for too little, you may get the job, but at a lower salary than they were willing to pay. This can result in a loss of thousands of pounds over a number of years.
Think about what you may lose if you settle. Imagine two of you are offered a job paying £25k. You accept, but the other person negotiates their pay to £28k. Then let’s say you both continue to get pay rises of 3% per year. The amount you could you lose over time is substantial.
We need to know what we are worth, so keep an eye on job ads, talk with friends and remember for freelance assignments you should be paid more than as an employee.
Go into the negotiation from a “win-win” perspective. “I really want this job and I really want to work with you, so let’s see if we can work this out.”
The company may ask you how much you want. Rather than being specific, it’s better to say something like:
- “I’m really interested in working with your company and I’m sure whatever you offer is going to be a reflection of the job and my skills and abilities.”
- “I’m glad you are bringing up salary, I want to discuss this, but first of all, can we see if I am right for the job and the value I can bring.”
- “I’d like to earn what other people of my calibre are earning here. What is the salary range of the job?”
- Don’t say what you want, wait for them to make the offer.
- Be silent, be reflective, take notes but don’t rush to say yes.
- A silence could bring you an extra £10 per week, or £500 per year or even more.
- If you are being paid at an hourly rate, it may be easier to negotiate. For example, 30p an hour doesn’t sound like a lot to the employer, so they might agree on a 30-hour a week job this could bring you in an extra £468 per year. But over the course of a year it could be a useful increase in salary.
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