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Six Ways to Achieve the Salary You Deserve

Negotiating salary with a potential employer can be tricky. If done right, both sides can walk away happy and the working relationship can get off on the right foot. The key is to be open but firm, confident but not arrogant. Don’t feel you shouldn’t negotiate either: Everyone should be offered a salary based on market value (even salaries are supply and demand based). A good and fair salary is a key motivator to excel in the workplace. This is true whether in China, the West or anywhere.

Below are six ways to ensure you get the salary you deserve.

1. Be Confident and Professional

Tone is key, and the wrong tone can easily turn an employer off. Let the employer know through a positive tone that your goal in negotiating your salary is a win-win situation for both sides. Avoid a “give-me-what-I-want-or-else” tone. That won’t work, and could convince the employer you aren’t that interested in the actual job.

2. Aim High and Negotiate a Compromise

Ask for more than you think the employer is willing to pay – but don’t ask for anything outrageous. The employer will counter your offer (or even accept it) and you then counter the counter offer until a middle ground is reached.

It’s like asking your neighbor to borrow her car for the night. She says no. Next time, you ask to borrow her bike. Remembering that she declined your request for the car, she agrees to let you borrow the bike, not wanting to turn you down twice. However, all along, it was the bike you really wanted.

Six Ways to Achieve the Salary You Deserve China's currency, the renminbi or yuan


3. Seek Alternatives

Walk into a salary negotiation with a few tricks up your sleeve in addition to coming up with a dollar figure.

Holidays. Ask for more, or ask to receive them earlier than entitled (usually, holidays don’t come into effect until six to 12 months into the employment contract). Ask for an early salary review. In addition to requesting a sign-on bonus, you may be able to negotiate a performance bonus.

4. Continue Selling Yourself

As you negotiate, remind the employer how the company will benefit from your services. Let’s say, for example, that the employer balks at giving you $8,000 more in compensation. Explain how you will recoup that amount and more for the company. For instance:

“I realize you have a budget to worry about. However, remember that with the desktop publishing skills I bring to the position, you won’t have to hire outside vendors to produce our monthly customer newsletter and other publications. That alone should produce far more than $8,000 in savings a year.”

In other words, justify every additional request. Remember to do so by focusing on the employer’s needs, not yours. After all, you want the employer to win during a salary negotiation too.

5. Ask A Fair Price

Be sure that your requests are reasonable and in line with the current marketplace. If the salary offer is below market value, gently suggest that it’s in the company’s best interest to pay the going rate:

“The research that I’ve done indicates that the going rate for a position such as this is $4,000 higher than this offer. Although I’d really like to work for you, I can’t justify doing so for less than the market demands. I think if you reevaluate the position and consider its importance to your bottom line, you’ll agree that it’s worth paying market price to get someone who can really make an impact with your firm.”

6. Be A Confident Negotiator

Body language and speech will determine whether you walk away from the negotiation happy. Make your salary request direct and to the point. Don’t ramble on explaining why it’s justified. Make your request short.
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