Career Woman

Salary negotiation: It’s not just about the money


I know what you’re thinking. You’re heading into your next salary negotiation meeting and you’ve got money on your mind. After all, that is what salary negotiation is about. Right? I’ve got news for you. Your salary negotiation meeting is actually the perfect time to negotiate about other things, not just your salary. In fact, I am a huge advocate of passing up a few dollars here and there in exchange for what will really and truly make you feel happy and fulfilled in your career.

The average 3% salary increase, equates to about $30 a week.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the average income for full-time workers in Australia is $1543 per week. If you’re eligible for a 3% increase on that, you might be cheering. Until you realise that after your tax is taken out, it only equates to about $30 a week. For some people, 30 bucks will make a huge difference to your weekly budget. But if the idea of $30 doesn’t excite you, what does?

Would extra annual leave tickle your fancy?

One strategy that I have seen work very successfully (I have used it myself), is negotiating additional annual leave, instead of a small percentage increase. This can be quite attractive to some businesses, because unlike a salary increase, it won’t cost them anything extra – assuming your work can be reallocated to other team members while you are out of the office. What would it mean to you, to be able to take an extra week or two off work each year, to spend with your family, or perhaps just put your feet up? I know for me, the extra time off is perfect for recharging my batteries and working on my passion projects.

How about negotiating part-time hours?

Maybe extra holidays aren’t really what you need. Would a nine-day fortnight, or a rostered day off once a month be more your style? Imagine being able to run your errands during business hours without having to try to squeeze appointments into your lunch break. Maybe you do your groceries while your kids are at school, or get your hair done, without having to compete for those exclusive after-work appointments. Your boss might be willing to fit a regular day off into your schedule, if it is going to engage you more than a little extra cash.

Flexible working might be your jam.

Perhaps you aren’t necessarily looking for time off, but you could do with a little more flexibility in your life and career. Lots of companies offer flexible working now (it’s the way of the future!), but there are still some business owners out there who don’t quite understand the benefits, and may need a little nudge in the right direction. Your salary negotiation meeting is the perfect time to bring this up – explore options and explain how flexible working will benefit you and the organisation.

What about professional development?

Some employers are nervous about paying for their employees to complete courses or attend networking events, as they are fearful that it might be your ticket to a bigger and better opportunity. This is a little sad, as it comes from a “lack mindset”, rather than focusing on the benefits of upskilling your team members. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t negotiate additional training and development as part of your remuneration package. Think study allowances, study leave, paid or subsidised training, access to events (tickets and the time off to attend) or even the chance to cross-skill with other members of your team. Put your negotiation hat on and sell the benefits!

How about shares or discounts?

Some employers allow their team members to participate in employee share schemes, but even if your employer doesn’t have something currently in place, it doesn’t mean they won’t allow it for the right employee. Also, although you might not be interested in discounts on the products and services your employer offers, they may be eligible for discounts through other businesses, that they could pass on to you. Think about who your employer does business with and whether there are special offers you could ask your employer to facilitate on your behalf. I used to work for a telecommunications business and received discounts on handsets, services and accessories – this added up over the year, reduced my personal expenses and was even great for buying gifts for Christmas and birthdays.

Or you could just take the money.

I’m definitely not opposed to accepting a pay-rise, especially if the extra money will help you and your family, or unashamedly go towards your shoe fund. What I am asking you to do though, is to think outside the square and consider what will really contribute to your feelings of career fulfilment. Please keep in mind that although I mentioned that some of these options might be available to you if you forego your annual pay-rise, there are some instances where you might be able to negotiate additional benefits as well as a salary increase.

Next time you have a salary negotiation meeting scheduled, take some time to think about it before-hand. Gather your thoughts and consider putting your request in writing, particularly if there is a way for you to present the facts, figures and benefits in a way that will appeal to your employer. Best of luck! Please let me know if any of these ideas help you in your next salary negotiation!

About Rebecca McFarland

Rebecca McFarland is a Career Coach, HR Professional and creator of Pop Your Career. Rebecca is committed to helping you discover, define and celebrate your own personal flavour of career fulfilment. You can connect with Rebecca through Facebook, Instagram of The Career Club, which is a free portal for Pop Your Career VIPs, packed with loads of practical resources to help you get ahead in your career.

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