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Negotiation - Lesson 6 - Negotiating Salary and Pay Rises
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Listen to the audio file


An important area where people need to use language for negotiation is in negotiating salary and pay rises. In some careers, salary may be non-negotiable as the pay scale and contract terms are pre-set by the government. In these cases, salary negotiation is not expected, so it is best to find out beforehand whether a job’s salary is negotiable or not. In other private sector careers, however, negotiation may be expected, so knowing how to negotiate salary politely is an important skill for these careers. Lack of experience and knowledge can have far-reaching consequences upon one’s well-being and living standard, so it is important to learn the strategies and language needed to confidently and successfully negotiate salary and pay rises.

This lesson will focus on the strategies and language needed for successful negotiation of salary and pay rises in the work place.

Pre-video Vocabulary Building

Task 1a: Vocabulary matching exercise - Part 1. Drag and drop the definitions on the right to the appropriate vocabulary item on the left to better understand the video below.

Task 1b: Vocabulary matching exercise - Part 2. Drag and drop the definitions on the right to the appropriate vocabulary item on the left to better understand the video below.

Task 2: Watch the video a few times then write the correct step number next to the summary of each step below.

Video @ Howcast – (You Tube.com)
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUQB1_MSWno /

STEP 7  This involves negotiating for benefits such as vacation time, a shorter work-week or the freedom to work from home.
STEP 3  This involves asking about the salary range to avoid being the first person to suggest a salary amount. Requesting information about the salary range gives space for both parties to negotiate.
STEP 2  This involves waiting until an employer has offered you the position before negotiating salary to avoid frustrating him or her.
STEP 4  This involves suggesting a salary calculated from market value research, as well as experience and salary history with a little extra added on top of that.
STEP 6  This involves remaining quiet after a counter-offer is made to make the employer feel that you are not completely satisfied with the offer.
STEP 5  This involves pushing an employer’s offer higher by giving a short statement of your potential value to the company. This should be supported with numerical data.
STEP 1  This involves searching for websites that show local and national salaries for jobs similar to the one you are applying for.
Listen to the audio file

There is a great deal of variety in the language that can be used in the different steps of salary negotiations. Complete Task 3 to learn a wider variety of language and expressions.

Task 3:

Vocabulary Practice

Task 4: Study the chart above for 5 minutes then complete the gap fill exercise. Try not to look at the chart while completing the exercise.

Asking about salary range and pay packages

  1. I imagine the company has an established salary range for the position. Could you tell me more?
  2. I’m sure you have a competitive pay package. May I ask what that is?

Expressing concern that a salary is not high enough

  1. That seems like a good starting place, but can we negotiate on the details ?
  2. May I suggest we look again at the salary to allow forreflect my skills and experience?

Suggesting a salary based on experience, history and market value research

  1. Based on my experience in this field, I would expect my compensationsalary to be in the vicinityrange of $XXX.

Pushing higher by stating your value

  1. Having volunteered for several organizations, I have insight into how institutions are run which qualifies me for a 5% higher offer.

Backing up your argument with quantitative evidence

  1. My experience in managerial accounting brought a savings of over $50,000 last year, so perhaps the salary could be 10% higher.

Negotiating other benefits / perks

  1. In lieu of a higher level on the pay scale, could I perhaps be compensated with… …health and dental plans/ life insurance/ flexible scheduling?

Task 5a: Reconstruct the first part of the negotiation by writing the correct letter of James’ missing sentences and questions in the spaces provided. (James’ missing sentences and questions are in the table below.)

Ms. Davis: Well, James. We feel your background and qualifications make you the right fit for our company, so we would like to offer you the position.
James: Oh! That is wonderful news! Thank you very much!
Ms. Davis: We’re confident you will work hard to fit in as quickly as possible and help the company in any way you can. Do you have any questions?
James: D
Ms. Davis: Well, what salary were you expecting to earn?
James: So…, you would like me to suggest a number first?
Ms. Davis: Yes. If you don’t mind. We’d prefer it that way.
James: G
Ms. Davis: $6200 per month for a new employee is quite a bit higher than we pay our new employees James, especially for someone whose experience is not very extensive. We were thinking closer to $5000 per month would be a fair income for someone of your experience and skill set.
James: E
Ms. Davis: Well, I’m afraid that we can’t go very much higher than $5000 for a new employee.
James: Hmmm… (remains silent for a few seconds).
Ms. Davis: But, as a measure of good faith, perhaps we could start you at $5250 per month, which is a higher salary than other new employees we have hired recently.
James: Hmmm (silence for several seconds).
Ms. Davis: …and, after a 6-month probationary period, we can review your situation and if your performance meets our standards, we can discuss a pay rise then – provided that your performance meets our requirements.
James: A

  James’ Missing Sentences and Questions
A Well, that does seem like a somewhat better starting point. May I ask what else is included in the package?
D Well, I imagine the company has an established salary range. Could you tell me more about that?
E Hmm. $5000? (hesitates) That is lower than I had anticipated. Having volunteered for several organizations, I have gained insight into how institutions are run and I feel that should be worth more than $5000.
G Well,…as I have some experience, I feel I’ll be a strong asset to your company. I am confident my extensive knowledge of computer systems will help you significantly, so I feel that $6200 per month would be a fair salary.

Task 5b: Reconstruct the second part of the negotiation by writing the correct letter of James’ missing sentences and questions in the spaces provided. (James’ missing sentences and questions are in the table below.)

Ms. Davis: Well, we offer extensive medical coverage, pension fund contributions and 2-weeks’ paid vacation per year.
James: H
Ms. Davis: Hmm…well, we might be able to work something out, but I don’t think you can expect a new phone each year. Perhaps one every 2-years would be sufficient. We do supply smart phones to several of our employees, but I think we should wait 3 months and if how you are progressing and we can provide a smart phone and unlimited data plan for you? Would that be acceptable?
James: Yes, that sounds fair.
Ms. Davis: Is there anything else James? I really must get to my next meeting.
James: B
Ms. Davis: Yes, James, that is standard for new employees. I can’t offer you more holidays because it wouldn’t be fair to other employees. But, the longer you work for us, the more time off you will earn.
James: F
Ms. Davis: Hmm. We were hoping you’d start sooner than that as we do need someone immediately…but, I understand your situation. I think that should be fine. Now I must get to my next meeting James.
James: Thank you. Just very quickly…, would it be possible to put all of this into writing? Then I will be very pleased to accept your offer.
Ms. Davis: Certainly. I’ll have my secretary draw up the contract this afternoon and send it to you later today.
James: C
Ms. Davis: You’re welcome James. See you in 3-weeks’ time.

  James’ Missing Sentences and Questions
B I’m sorry…, yes, just one last question. You mentioned that there is 2-week’s paid vacation each year…
C Thank you very much for this wonderful opportunity Ms. Davis. I deeply appreciate it and I am really looking forward to working for you.
F Yes I see, but I was wondering if instead of having more vacation time, whether I could postpone my start date. So, instead of beginning next week, I would begin in 3-weeks’ time? I haven’t had a vacation in my current job for almost 2 years. When I start working here I want to be as refreshed as possible in order to do my best work for you.
H I see. But what about reimbursement for mobile phone use? Can the company provide me with a new smart phone each year with a data usage plan as I will be needing to use one regularly to contact and help customers?

Task 6: Watch the video about how to negotiate salary then complete the following video summary. Use words from the box below.

  • range
  • specific
  • salary
  • blind
  • negotiated
  • worth
  • understanding
  • benefits
  • consider
  • bracketing
A person’s future can be greatly affected by the outcome of a 1)salary negotiation, so carefully following the speaker’s instructions could help viewers earn a higher salary.

Before entering negotiations, it is important to have a clear 2)understanding of how much pay is appropriate for the position being applied for. Talking to knowledgeable people and doing research on average salaries must be done before entering negotiations in order to gain a clear understanding of the position’s salary range. Going into the negotiation 3)blind without knowing how much money to ask for is unwise and inadvisable.

When a salary is offered by an employer, it is best to ask for 24 hours to 4)consider it. It should not be accepted immediately, despite needing or wanting the position. This should bring greater 5)benefits in the long run.

When making an offer, employers usually have a salary 6)range in mind, which is 20% higher and 20% lower on average for that position.

Most employers hope to hire workers for the lowest amount that they will accept, so it is best to target the largest salary the employer is willing to pay. This is done through 7)bracketing, which means suggesting a salary amount that is between 110% and 130% higher than the amount the employer offers. For example, if the employer’s offer is $2000.00, a clever negotiator might state that outstanding performance is 8)worth between $2200.00 and $2600.00, thus raising the ‘bracket’ – or salary range – in the employers’ mind. This often results in the employer accepting an amount within the higher bracket, and higher than the amount the employer had originally intended to pay. If 9)negotiated this way, some employers may offer the higher salary.

When a new employee has no choice but to settle for a lower salary than her or she had originally hoped for, he or she should inquire about what needs to be done to receive an increased salary. These terms should be 10)specific and put into the employer’s acceptance letter.

What was covered in Lesson 6? Take the summary quiz!

Task 7: What did you learn about negotiating salary and pay rises?

1. To ‘tip one’s hand’ means to reveal one’s own intentions without intending to.
2. Another way to say ‘space to negotiate’ is ‘wiggle room’.
3. ‘Cough up’ means to be in debt.
4. ‘to budge’ means to move slightly from one’s original position; to compromise.
5. ‘Perks’ means extra pay/salary.
6. ‘Dough’ is slang for ‘benefits.
7. During a negotiation, if you must suggest a salary that you would like to earn to the employer, it should be based on your research, salary history and market value?
8. After suggesting a salary based on research, salary history and market value, you should add a suggested extra 25 percent for ‘good measure’.
9. Once an employer suggests a salary, you should try to negotiate it higher by briefly stating your value to the company, and support it with statistical evidence.
10. When an employer makes a salary offer which you feel is low, it may be appropriate to remain silent to let him or her know your displeasure and to increase the chance that the employer will offer something more.
11. Other benefits should be asked for if the employer will not negotiate a higher salary.
12. Saying ‘I have assessed your current offer, but I feel that further negotiations are necessary’ is one way of pushing higher by stating ones’ value.
13. Saying ‘If I were to accept a lower salary, could this be compensated with…’ is a way of negotiating other benefits or perks.
14. ‘Bracketing’ means suggesting a pay range which is lower than what the employer had originally wanted to pay.
15. If an employer insists on a salary that is lower than you had hoped for, it is best to ask immediately what you need to do to earn a higher salary.
16. It is not wise to ask the employer to put the details of the negotiated salary into writing.
(Correct answers are highlighted in yellow)
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