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4 Tips for Negotiating Salary During COVID-19

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​COVID-19 has drastically changed the job market in Ireland and abroad with huge increases in the numbers of people now looking for new opportunities. A rise in the number of applications for open roles means in turn, an increase in competition but there's still scope to negotiate a good salary package.

While salary shouldn't be the only motivator for applying to a new role, it is definitely an important factor that you need to consider.

It is also important to explore factors such as your commute, work/life balance, company culture, and career progression. All of which will make a drastic difference to your day-to-day life.

Some job seekers may be open to what salaries are being offered, whereas others may have a specific salary in mind. Whichever category you fall into, it is important to be upfront and honest regarding your salary expectations during the interview process.

There is always flexibility on an offer for the right candidate. In the current job market employers are working with much tighter budgets so that flexibility may be more limited. If you have a strict salary expectation discuss it before you are invested in the process.

If you wait till the end of the process you may be presented with an offer that is lower than you can accept. For example, if you have a strict salary expectation of €50,000 it wouldn’t be worthwhile to interview for a role with a top-level budget of €40,000. You shouldn’t be afraid to walk away from a role if it doesn’t meet your requirements. If there is room for negotiating follow our tips below.

4 Tips for negotiating salary during the COVID pandemic 

1. Know your worth

Consider your level of seniority and the experience you have to offer. If you are an entry-level candidate, you might need to be more flexible on salary at the beginning. Whereas if you are moving into a more senior role it’s reasonable to look for an increase in salary.

Overall look at your current salary and your current level of responsibility and don't forget to consider what factors are important to you. For example, would you be open to flexibility on salary for other benefits, such as remote working or a really strong benefits package?

2. Give a salary range

When asked for your salary expectations or desired salary on a job application it is best to give a salary range. Consider what your ideal salary would be and what is the minimum you would need for a move to be viable for you.

While some job seekers may be hesitant to give their desired salary, as it may take them out of the running, it is important to be open regarding your expectations to ensure the employer can offer what you’re looking for.

You can always mention you are open to negotiating, but it is still a good idea to give a range so you are both on the same page.

3. Don’t just focus on the salary

  • Given the current climate, it may not be possible for potential employers to offer a huge increase in salary but they might offer additional bonuses or benefits.

Some companies may offer a company car, pension, health insurance, free food, flexible hours, gym membership, or employee discounts as part of their packages. Other employers may also be able to offer a performance-based bonus structure along with your base salary.

An employer could also offer flexible working hours, shorter commutes, or remote working which may compensate for a drop in salary. Look at the full picture.

4. Consider your long term plans

The salary is just the starting point, especially in the current market. Employers may be offering lower starting salaries than before but may be able to compensate for this down the line. When negotiating your package, you may ask to have your salary reviewed once you have passed probation or reached milestones within the company.

Consider what opportunities there are for you to progress within the company. Perhaps moving to a new company now and taking a slight drop in salary will allow for more opportunities to grow and take on more responsibility in the future.

Looking for a new job this year is unlike any other time in our lifetime. It’s important to focus on what you really want from a job and align your skillset and salary expectations with a realistic figure in mind. Do your research, download our salary guide and have a look through job ads to see what salaries are on offer for the types of roles you’re applying for.

If you’re unsure what opportunities are available or have questions on salary, particularly within the Retail market which I specialise in, get in touch, I’d be happy to advise.