Don’t settle for the first offer – how to negotiate your salary properly

Women’s earnings in the UK are still lagging behind men’s. Find out why you should never settle for the first salary offer – and how to negotiate a raise. 

Congratulations! After what seems like a gruelling and intensive interview process, you’ve finally been told you’ll be receiving a job offer.

You can’t wipe the smile off your face or shake the excitement… until the offer arrives. Wait, how can this be? It’s £10k less than what you thought would be offered.

But hey, the role is with a fantastic company and exactly what you wanted, so you take the offer and tell yourself that as soon as they see how great you are in the job, they’ll give you the wage you deserve. Right?


The wage gap in the UK between men and women currently stands at around 18.4%. There are many factors that contribute to this, but one of those comes down to that, as females, we typically don’t have confidence to negotiate our salaries the same way men do.

Five tips to help you negotiate the salary you want

Negotiating a salary can seem intimidating to some people, but you owe it to yourself to ensure you’re paid the amount you deserve by your employers. Here are five tips to help you do this.

1) Research

Before you’re even offered the position, research the market rate of the job you are going for (this is fairly easy to do online).

When conducting your research, look for comparison for not only the job title, but location and size of company. If you know anyone currently working in the company you are applying for, ask them if they know what the salary averages are, too.

2) Know what’s important to you

Many of us are willing to compromise on salary for the right role and benefits. Make a list of what’s important to you, for example, flexible hours, bonuses, learning opportunities or ability to work from home. Know what your bottom line is, too. Perhaps you can accept a lower salary if the role has other great benefits.

3) Don’t sell yourself short

During the interview process, it’s likely you’ll be asked what salary you’re looking for. If you are asked that question, turn it back to the interviewer and explain it’s dependent on the role. Then ask what salary range they are looking to offer. This way you’ll know what numbers you have to work with during any negotiations.

4) Be confident and know your achievements

Women can often be quite modest, particularly when it comes to selling themselves and talking about their achievements. But it’s extremely important to highlight your achievements during your interview.

Why? Because it’s not just crucial to getting a job offer, but it also ensures the organisation understands your value and makes it easier when negotiating your salary.

5) Understand the expectations for the role

It’s also important to ask what your KPIs will be, or what milestones you’ll be expected to achieve in the role during the interview process.

Once you have this information you can explain how these are very similar to the expectations of your previous role, and give real examples of when you’ve exceeded expectations.

Again, this won’t just increase your chances of landing the position; it will also put you on the front foot when asking for a higher salary.

Employers expect you to negotiate

The most important thing to remember when negotiating your salary is that employers expect it. Don’t be afraid; be confident and believe in yourself. By doing solid research and backing up your negotiations with market facts and examples of your achievements, you’re putting yourself in a great position to ask for more.

Finally, during a negotiation, know when to say yes. If your future employer has increased their offer, don’t be too aggressive and just try to get more and more for the sake of it.

And if you still need help gathering the confidence to negotiate your pay, just ask yourself this: “Would the person I am about to negotiate with do the same? If they were offered a role under the salary average, or for less than they were worth, would they ask for or expect more money?”

Yes they would. So don’t feel bad or awkward about asking for the correct salary for the role you’ve been offered. After all they know your value because they offered you the role.

Read more tips to help you earn the salary you want

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WORK180 is an international jobs network that connects smart businesses with talented women.

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