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There are many different factors that equate to job satisfaction. The challenge, building your skillset, culture fit––these are some of the factors considered when assessing your position with a current or potential company.

A key one is also around salary. Talking finances in a job setting is still something even the most skilled negotiators can find daunting. It can be doubly difficult for those who have just finished their studies, or are at an early career stage.

Even if we feel we should be on higher wages––a study last year revealed 49% of workers feel underpaid in their current roles––many can understandably find these conversations anxiety-inducing. This can be especially true for graduates entering or re-entering the workforce.

And tricky conversations are only the first step: The same 2022 study said 31% would consider quitting their job if they didn’t get a pay bump, so obtaining that raise is crucial for employee and employer.

Know your worth

Whether you’re at the start of your career with a company or looking for your next step in your current role, it can be hard to know where to start when it comes to negotiating a salary.

The key is knowing your worth from the outset. Your salary should essentially be a fair reflection of the unique skill set and value you bring to any organization. When you can communicate this, you will have salary conversations with confidence.

Feel the fear

Many people are afraid of asking for more, particularly women, with a study revealing only 7% of women attempt to negotiate their first salary. If you don’t feel the offer reflects your role and responsibilities, it’s time to go back to the table. It’s a reflection of your confidence to do the role successfully and your financial worth. And remember, if you don’t ask, you definitely won’t get.

Research, research, research

Check the market rates for your position. Cite the average salary if it’s higher than the offer. Look for stats on employee turnover, internal promotions (LinkedIn is your friend here). Has the company recently had redundancies, for example?


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This will indicate the financial position they might be in in terms of what they can offer, and internal promotions are an indicator of the frequency of salary progression.

Know your baseline

If you go into a salary negotiation, or re-negotiation, without a number, you’re at the mercy of a likely experienced hiring manager who can simply control the conversation, and, ultimately, the numbers.

You can find an average starting number by searching Payscale or Glassdoor, or by asking others in your field (ideally, both men and women, to avoid falling victim to the gender pay gap).

Chances are, you might know a friend or former colleague who can advise if you’re on the right track. According to researchers at Columbia Business School, you should ask for a very specific number too. When employees use a more precise number in their initial negotiation request, they are more likely to get a final offer closer to what they were hoping for.

Prepare talking points

Negotiating a salary is all about communicating how much value you can bring to a company. Talk about your major accomplishments and how they differentiate you from your peers. Mention any additional qualifications and certifications, as these typically signify an ability to contribute a valuable skill you have, that others may not.

Have you gone above and beyond in your current or former role with actioned objectives to back this up? That’s a key factor as your employer can see you deliver (and then some). And if you’re new to the job market, demonstrating knowledge in your field of expertise speaks volumes to your potential employer.

Want to flex your negotiation skills? Start by exploring the Study International Job Board. Or browse the below sample of opportunities that could be waiting for your application.

Workday Financials Functional Architect, Accenture, Los Angeles

As a Workday FINs Functional Architect, you’ll be part of a team of advisory professionals focused on cloud-based data-reporting operations that integrate and optimize the essential corporate functions of finance, analytics, planning and HR. You will manage teams in the identification of business requirements, functional design, process design (including scenario design, flow mapping).. You’ll formulate planning, budgeting, forecasting and reporting strategies. Develop statements of work and/or client proposals and manage vendor relationships. Discover the full requirements or apply for the role here.

Systems Design/Architecture Engineer, Adobe, New York City

In the role of Systems Design/Architecture Engineer, you’ll play a key role in the definition and evolution of our platform architecture. The role focuses on our commerce capabilities: pricing, quoting, check-out, recommendations, and ordering. It requires coordination with your teammates focused on identity, provisioning, and licensing. Adobe will look to you to develop innovative and intelligent solutions as we expand our product offerings, adopt new monetization models, and scale revenue and transactions. Read the full job spec here.

TDT Project Manager, Genentech, San Francisco

The Technical Development Team Project Manager (TDT PM) partners with a Technical Development Leader (TDL) to manage technical development teams in defining and implementing CMC strategies and activities associated with developing clinical candidates from pre-entry into humans until launch. You will provide project and process management experience including project planning and scheduling, resource forecasting, performance monitoring, and facilitation of communication and decision making to help drive assigned projects to a successful outcome. More details of the role can be found here.

To explore even more opportunities at all levels of the career ladder, check out the Study International Job Board today.