Career Woman

Negotiate salary in the tech industry: How to get what you want


This guide outlines strategies and tactics to successfully negotiate salary arrangements for technology roles.

Tech is a very lucrative industry, particularly for new graduates and entry-level staff who are routinely earning over $100k for a starting salary. Whilst this sounds attractive, many aspiring tech employees are underselling themselves and missing out on potentially huge compensation packages. We all know that salary negotiations can be awkward discussions to have with recruiters but you could be losing out on a lot more if you’re not bold enough to broach the subject.

Negotiate salary in the tech industry

If you want to ensure you’re being paid your worth, check out these practical tips to help you negotiate your tech salary more effectively.

Make sure you understand your package

It can be tempting to say yes to the first offer made by a recruiter, particularly if you’ve just been offered your dream job in tech. It is important though, to take the extra time you need to thoroughly peruse your contract and package to be 100% clear on what it consists of before you negotiate salary arrangements. Apart from your base salary, your entire package could include an ownership stake in the business, annual bonuses and of course employee benefits.

If the offer made is slightly less than you expected, take a look at the benefits to see if they go some way to making up what may initially appear to be a salary shortfall. Practical benefits like health and dental insurance can be a huge lifesaver financially not to mention gym memberships, daycare benefits and remote working options.

Other additional perks like professional development shouldn’t be sniffed at either as these will help you upskill and as a tech employee that is critical for keeping you ahead of the trend. Do bear in mind that all these benefits have a monetary value and make up a significant part of your package when you negotiate salary arrangements.

So whilst you may not be able to negotiate all the benefits offered, you may have the option to negotiate on perks like flex time, signing bonuses and even shared parental leave if your company is more progressive. If you do a calculation of the benefits, you should have a better idea of your complete package when you kick off negotiations.

Ask questions and stick to a script

If the offer on the table is much lower than expected, you are well within your rights to delay any negotiation talks until you’re comfortable with the job as a whole. It can be intimidating and uncomfortable to negotiate salary arrangements, but you’re not obliged to reveal your previous or current salary.

Instead, you can ask questions about salary ballpark figures and the recruiter may well ask about your own salary requirements but you can politely refrain from sharing that information if you choose not to. Don’t be scared to ask for a salary that is higher than what you actually expect; at least that way there’s still room for you and the recruiter to negotiate down to a figure you’re still happy with.

If you are happy to enter the negotiations by suggesting a salary first, that could actually work in your favor. Recruiters will be happy that you’ve set the expectation and they can have a much better idea if you’re both on the same page.

Don’t be afraid to ask for flexibility on any figure suggested either; this indicates to recruiters that you are open to salary discussions without coming across as too rigid. It can be harder to ask these questions on a call so make things a bit easier but referring to a script to ensure you are not led astray.

Timing and research is everything

You’ll want to make sure you’ve completed the necessary research ahead of when you negotiate salary arrangements so you are well equipped for whatever a recruiter may throw at you. Take time to conduct research into your sector to discover what the typical market salary rate is for your role.

Check out sites like AngelList, tech job boards and also refer to tech recruitment agencies who post job descriptions featuring expected salaries. Having these figures at the negotiation table makes it much easier to stress to recruiters why you’re asking for a higher figure since it’s based on accurate data. Timing is everything during salary negotiations so if you want to negotiate your offer, make sure you do it early.

You’ll have the most leverage after an offer has been made so take time to look over your offer and compensation before making any counter offer. Make sure not to delay for too long or you could risk alienating the recruiter and possibly even the company too.

 Women must know their worth

The statistics about women being woefully underpaid in tech are worrying, but you can buck the trend if you are equipped with the right intel to negotiate salary arrangements. In comparison to men, women typically struggle to negotiate effectively or ask for a raise but with the growth of women in STEM careers, it’s high time to reduce the gender gap.

With figures suggesting employees’ failure to negotiate costs them $1m over their lifetime, research shows it hits women a lot harder. Women are often anxious about coming off as selfish or greedy during negotiating talks, so to make it less about you, stress examples of how you’ve gone above and beyond in your role or have exceeded metrics set by management.

If you can confidently demonstrate to recruiters that your experience in tech has helped your previous companies increase profits or save money then that is a strong bargaining chip to reframe negotiations and justify an increased salary.


When you are finally ready to take a seat at the negotiation table, don’t forget these key takeaways to negotiate salary arrangements. Ensure you are doing plenty of research into your sector and compare your compensation package to similar offers on job boards to judge if you’re getting a fair deal. Stick to a script if negotiations intimidate you and be confidently bold in selling yourself. Be clear with the recruiter about the level and band you’re coming in at before signing on the dotted line.

About Natalie Eliason'

Natalie Eliason is a business and marketing specialist with a focus on women in the technology and industry landscapes.

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