By Nomali Cele
Knowing the compensation you want and how to ask for it is a skill all its own and, at last check, there wasn’t a class at school dedicated to teaching you all about negotiating your salary. You have calculated your education, experience and expertise and feel you know your worth but how do you get a prospective employer on the same page with you? What do you need to know before negotiating your salary?
The money you negotiate for yourself before starting a new job is important because it also determines your increase potential within that organisation. Not only that, but future employers will also try to use that earning bracket as a reference. So while you are within your rights to withhold past pay slips, most potential employers ask, and want to use that earnings history as a starting point for your negotiations.
You can never be too informed or have all the tactics when it comes to negotiating remuneration. My Money and Me regular contributor, CEO of Hesed Consulting and Career Coach Vumile Msweli, recently joined Thuli Magubane to talk all things that are key to negotiating your salary. According to Msweli, negotiating your salary is an art. She says to do your homework and go into the negotiation already knowing your number. However, on that same point, Msweli cautions that “round” numbers (such as 35 or 20) rarely get thumbs up.
For those who are starting new jobs, Msweli encourages asking for a “dummy” payslip, which will show you in black and white the deductions the company makes. You can then add on the PAYE tax and work out what you need to be earning in order to accommodate both the deductions and your ideal take-home sum. This is a great way to avoid agreeing to a number only to find that by the time all the big and small deductions are taken, the money that enters your account is still a world away from the amount you wanted.
Vumile Msweli also touched on the important consideration of negotiating cash in the bank versus benefits. Will it work out better for yourself if you get a lower remuneration package but higher benefits?
“Are you looking for short-term benefits or are you looking for long-term benefits?” is the question Msweli says to ask yourself.
Putting her career coach hat on, Msweli says she advocates for job-hopping to improve earning prospects but doesn’t advise actually saying that money is why you left. “It shows a lack of loyalty, lack of discipline and a lack of understanding your long-term career strategy.”
Don’t downplay your experience in relation to qualifications. And as Msweli says, go in prepared! Listen to My Money And Me every Tuesday from 8 – 9 PM for more personal finance and career tips.