Negotiate Wisely: It’s Your Job and Your Salary
November 15, 2010 Dan Burger
The biggest mistake IT professionals can make is to assume they have no bargaining power with their current employers. Fear of having your job outsourced; fear of being downsized to death; fear of sounding too arrogant, too dissatisfied, or too ungrateful keeps you harnessed to the plow while your boss treats you like a rented mule. You may think you have to play the game of more work for less pay, but you may want to think again. Your boss might be more worried about you walking out than you are about him kicking you out the door.
The door of opportunity is open for many of you, according to an August-September survey conducted by CareerBuilder. Don’t bother reaching for the door knob if you’re a slacker. You can’t very well bargain if you don’t have anything to bargain with.
According to the CareerBuilder survey, 43 percent of hiring managers are losing hair, losing sleep, or both as they worry about their top talent jumping ship for offers of better pay and better benefits. To avoid shooting themselves in the foot by loosing a key employee, almost one in three indicated they are willing to negotiate 2011 salary increases with current employees. And to get the right person from outside the company, more than half (51 percent) plan to leave some negotiating room when extending initial offers to new employees; 21 percent are willing to extend the negotiating process to two or more offers so they can get (or keep) a valuable employee.
If the pessimistic side of you is sneering at such numbers and explaining them away as being from careers other than IT, you are correct. The CareerBuilder survey shows that 45 percent of IT employers say they are open to negotiating salary increases with current employees for 2011. That’s a higher number than employees in retail, sales, and professional and business services.
Those percentages reflect a general uneasiness of losing key individuals in all areas of business. But as companies get rolling again after an economic downturn, they look to build human resources and they know skilled people have been undercompensated during the traumatic past few years. Now is a great time to snatch talented people who are being abused by their current employers.
To successfully negotiate a better salary, here are several items that you should be ready to lay on the table: a list of specific accomplishments and results you achieved, a salary range that can be justified (know your market value), an understanding company objectives and goals, and a history of performance reviews. As backup to your salary negotiations, be prepared to use other bargaining chips that are of value to you–things like: more flexible work hours, bonuses, education and training, or additional vacation.
Salary negotiations seem to bring out the best in a few people and the worst in most people. Some exaggerate the effects of their leaving a company, while others dramatically underestimate themselves. Make the effort to back up what you say with proof. Inflated opinions of yourself will not be taken seriously. Do not be shy about tooting your own horn. If you’ve played a role in helping your organization reach goals, quantify those giving credit to yourself where credit is due.
Along with its survey results, CareerBuilder last week also announced a new method for matching employable individuals with employers seeking talented hires. It’s called the Talent Network and its success will be based on how well it builds convenient and effective pipelines. It uses social media such as Facebook (CareerBuilder has a Facebook referral app) and Work@ in order to find job/candidate matches. And it has technology which is said to funnel jobs requiring specific skills–like IBM i system administrator or RPG programmer–to the people who have those skills.
For more information, visit CareerBuilder here.