UW Graduate School

August 17, 2017

Seven Strategies for Negotiating Salary

At a GO–MAP Power Hour, a group of women of color discussed salary negotiation strategies. Here are seven key takeaways from their conversation:  

1. Confidence is key

Believe in your abilities and strengths. Don’t sell yourself short.

2. Do your research

Use Glassdoor to figure out the salary ranges for the organization and position. If the organization is a non-profit, this information will be available on their 990 forms (tax returns). Don’t be afraid to ask for a salary range at the end of your first interview, so you have a ballpark going in. And research doesn’t need to be web-based – use your friends and networks to gather information about salaries at companies and industries that interest you.

3. It’s about more than salary

Look at your entire benefits package, not just your salary, when considering an offer. Use a list or spreadsheet to track the many facets of the offer. This can help facilitate comparisons between offers and aid in negotiations, especially for academic jobs where an offer will include line items for research, summer salary and the like. Not sure what a package might include? Here are some other important benefits and perks to consider:

  • Medical insurance, including dental. Pay attention to premiums and out-of-pocket caps.
  • Short and long-term disability
  • Life insurance
  • Vacation allotment
  • Maternity leave
  • Sick leave
  • Stipends for medical expenses
  • Transportation benefits

4. When asked how much you’re looking for…

You may want to give a range, which can help with negotiations later on (it can also be considered a risk, others said). If you give a range, the bottom of the range should be the minimum you would accept to feel comfortable at that job. The top of the range should be no more than 20% of the average salary of that position in the city. For example, if the average salary is $45,000, the top of your range should be $54,000.

5. Plan ahead

Don’t just negotiate for how much you need to survive — picture yourself thriving. How much will you need to earn if you want to start investing, or saving toward a major purchase?

6. Negotiate differently

Say the salary at the job you really want is too low, but totally fixed. Consider asking to work fewer hours — say, 32 instead of 40 per week — for the same amount of pay. Then use those eight free hours to start a side-hustle!

7. Continue the conversation

Organize a group of friends and peers to share tips and strategies for negotiating salaries and other resources on professional development.