Table of Contents
COVID-19 has caused an abrupt shift in the way companies operate. Remote work that used to be a perk for some companies has now become the norm. In fact, remote job postings have doubled during the pandemic and continue to rise. With the pandemic and profound changes in work conditions, salary negotiation has become more intimidating for some remote job applicants. In this article, we will walk you through some guidelines you can adopt to successfully negotiate your salary and receive the best possible offer.
Why should you negotiate your salary?
A study revealed that 89% of organizations are open to negotiating salary for either some or all positions once a job offer has been made. This means a remote position is not an exemption. So, if you are apprehensive about negotiating, then you’re leaving money on the table.
Negotiating your salary is essential in ensuring you get the compensation you deserve, whether that’s salary or non-monetary benefits. Moreover, it shows employers you know your value and what you can bring to the table even if you’re working remotely. We recommend considering your salary expectations early in the process. This helps determine alignment between your expectation and the actual job offer, allowing you to make an informed decision in terms of what to negotiate during the job offer stage.
How to negotiate a remote job offer?
Negotiating a satisfactory salary is a critical aspect of accepting a new position. Hence, strategizing and preparing are imperative to maximize your chances of getting what you deserve. In this section, we will talk about how to approach salary negotiation for remote jobs.
1) Identify your worth
In most cases, employers provide a salary range for each of their vacancies. As a remote worker, you can use different criteria, including your skills, company’s location, and industry to gauge the employer range. You may also utilize platforms like Glassdoor, Salary.com, and PayScale to identify what this range looks like versus market average and similar roles in the same or comparable location. Having the right data will enable you to set a realistic anchor for creating your salary range.
The salary range you can request will be based on your candidate profile. Hence, understanding your value is also crucial in getting the salary you deserve. To determine where you stand, evaluate how the job’s responsibilities and requirements align with your level of expertise and experience. Are you new to the role? Do you have limited experience? Have you mastered all the essential requirements?
For example, you have been selected for a remote marketing role, and the employer’s range is $80,000 to $100,000 per annum. If you have zero relevant experience, you can bid for a lower-end salary range or $80,000 to $90,000. If you have less than three years of relevant experience, your range should be somewhere in the middle. On the other hand, if you have mastered all the essential requirements, you can negotiate for a high-end salary. In this instance, your recommended salary range should be $100, 000 to $110,000.
2) Evaluate the job offer
When you finally get a job offer, it can be tempting to jump into it especially if you’ve been out of a job for a while, feeling unfulfilled at your current role, or anxious to change careers. After all, isn’t that the main objective of all your weeks or even months of dedicated job search? While this seems logical, rushing to take an offer diminishes your chances of receiving an optimal offer. Hence, careful assessment of the job is imperative before deciding to move forward.
Before saying yes to a job offer, you need to identify your motivation for getting the remote job. Is it a flexible work arrangement? Are you looking for a higher salary? Do you aspire for a better work-life balance? Creating a list of must-haves is an excellent way to ensure you are evaluating an offer from an overall perspective. Once you have set your priorities, you will have the clarity you need to make an informed decision about whether the job offer is the right one for you.
3) Consider your cost of living
Saving money is one of the biggest advantages of hiring a remote employee. Not only because companies don’t need to pay for office space-related expenses, but they also get access to a wider talent pool at a lesser cost. For instance, a company is looking to hire a software developer. It will make more economic sense for them to look for a remote software developer in Houston than hire someone in New York. This is because New York is twice more expensive than Houston with an equally or even more qualified talent.
When negotiating a salary for a remote job, you can use the cost of living (COL) index to your advantage. Let’s say you’re applying for the remote software developer position mentioned in the above example. You’ll see that there is a difference of over 30% between New York and Houston in terms of the COL index. Then, establish a benchmark based on the 70% of the comparable salaries you discovered in step number one above. When the employer sees that your proposal covers your needs and is still less expensive than hiring someone from New York, you will likely achieve a favorable outcome.
Apart from using the COL index and average market salary data, you also need to establish the amount you need to live comfortably. Some of the things to consider include how much you require for your personal needs, savings, and other activities. This will help you establish and calculate the right amount of pay you require from your remote work.
4) Create and practice your salary pitch
As they say, practice makes perfect. The same is true for salary negotiation. As you practice your negotiation pitch in advance, you become more comfortable communicating your talking points in a conversational setting. This can help boost your confidence, maximizing your success in negotiating the specifics of your salary.
As discussed in step one, bring together your research and the value you can offer as a remote worker to establish credibility. Your value as a potential employee should detail the results you have accomplished in your previous jobs. These may include the number of projects you completed, profits generated or time and cost saved. Practice your pitch using a mirror, video, or with a friend. This helps you become more organized with your thoughts and improve your key talking points, leading to favorable negotiation outcomes.
5) Negotiate beyond salary
Benefits typically make up 32% of an employee’s total compensation package. Hence, benefits are worth considering when making negotiations. While the flexibility of working remotely can already be considered a perk, there are other non-monetary components you can negotiate as part of your compensation package. Below are some examples of other perks you can negotiate beyond your salary.
- Home office set up reimbursements
- Internet and co-working space reimbursements
- Vacation days
- Professional development budget (conferences, training, courses)
- Healthcare benefits
- Retirement savings options
- Signing bonus
Some companies may not be able to afford flexibility when it comes to increasing your salary but might be willing to accommodate requests for additional benefits. When calculating your ideal compensation, contemplate how the above benefits contribute to your life. As a rule of thumb, your compensation should satisfy both your monetary and non-monetary needs.
6) Don’t hesitate to walk away
Working remotely doesn’t make you any less of an employee. Keep in mind that the value of your role will be the same regardless of your working location. Hence, you are entitled to get the salary you’re worth. If you are unable to establish a mutually beneficial salary agreement with the company, it may be wise to consider walking away. As a remote worker with access to a global market of employers, you’ll surely find the right remote job for you.
Even if you didn’t get a favorable outcome, you should never burn bridges. Remain professional and express your gratitude for the opportunity. The company will appreciate your professionalism and might even consider contacting you in the future when there is another opportunity that meets your criteria.
Salary negotiation is a discussion of you and your potential employer’s needs with the goal of coming to a conclusion that is favorable to all parties. By following the salary negotiation strategies outlined in this article, you will be in a better position to walk away with what you are worth. If you still feel like you lack confidence and need help improving your negotiation skills, you can always reach out to us.