Preamble: I'm somewhat new to the workforce (only 2+ years worth of employment - with 1+ years being on my current position).

Context: I always have problems with salary negotiations and I always feel like I'm getting the low end of the deal.

I was offered a 1-year term position last November 2015 which got extended for another 6 months because they liked my work/output etc. When they took me in, both parties (employer and me) agreed that I will get the low end (down to the dollar) of the budget allotted for the position because I didn't have that much experience and the position isn't really a Junior position. They didn't want to over-compensate me if my lack of experience would become a problem later on.

Anyway, I'm getting close to the end of my term but my boss says she wants to offer me a permanent position. I think that would be the perfect time to re-negotiate my salary since they now have an idea of how I work and my output/result. My senior told me I exceeded their expectations because I finished all the work they intended me to finish during my term in like 5-6 months which resulted in more projects being assigned to me later on.

Long story short, once they offer me a permanent position I want to renegotiate my salary but I have no clue how to give an ideal range. I have a range in mind but I don't know if it's too narrow (giving the idea that I'm not too flexible with the amount) or too far apart (giving the idea that I have no clue as to what I should be compensated with and just giving random amounts).

Note

My question isn't about determining what I think I should be paid but more like how to provide a range. Would a range that has a difference of $5,000 be good? Something like that.

  • related - workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/12765/… – Adel Jan 20 '17 at 21:47
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    ... I want to renegotiate my salary but I have no clue how to give an ideal range. - I don't think I buy this statement. Do some research online. What's your major, and area in country? Citizenship status may play a part . Find out what others make, see where you fit generally. I may not know if I'm worth $36,255 to you ; but I know I'm worth more than $20,000 and I'm certainly below $88,888 . Get an idea. But you can't know your employers price max. But you negotiate – Adel Jan 20 '17 at 21:51
  • @Adel My very last statement says this: I have a range in mind but I don't know if it's too narrow (giving the idea that I'm not too flexible with the amount) or too far apart (giving the idea that I have no clue as to what I should be compensated with and just giving random amounts). That means I already did my research and I have an amount in mind but I prefer to give a range instead of an exact amount. – uom-pgregorio Jan 20 '17 at 21:56
  • You need to add a country tag to this question. – Mister Positive Jan 20 '17 at 21:56
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    @MisterPositive done. – uom-pgregorio Jan 20 '17 at 21:56
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Using a range in salary negotiation can work, but it can also be limiting.

In a best case scenario, a company will propose an amount in between those numbers, to signal that they want to work with you and provide a reasonable offer.

In a more realistic scenario, you've just given away the lowest number the employer has to pay -- you've essentially shown your hand.

If you intend to provide a range, make sure that you provide what you really want as your bottom number, and add a reasonable amount (anywhere from 10-30%) to make your top number.

If you were asking for $50K for example, your top number could be 55K or 65K.

The top of the range is whatever you're comfortable asking for, and what you think truly represents the top range of your worth as an employee. There's no real hard and fast rule.

Sometimes the better strategy is simply to come up with your top number, and ask for that, instead of providing a range.

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    Definitely that last bold line, and all this is predicated upon having a good idea about the local market value of the position being applied for. – ThisClark Jan 21 '17 at 1:00
  • @ThisClark agreed -- if you don't know that, you are far more likely to accept whatever they offer. Finding that information is definitely the hard part. – mcknz Jan 21 '17 at 1:53

In my experience providing a range means you'll get the low end of the range at best. For example, if you say you want a salary of $50K to $60K the employer will offer $50K at the most; they may offer less.

Usually, it's best to let the potential employer make an offer and then counter that. Of course, some employers insist that you make the first move. If they do that, give them the highest number in the range you are seeking.

With the above in mind, I try to get the employer to make the initial offer and then make a counter offer with a specific amount. If there are other things I want to negotiate, I may send two amounts with those other things mixed in. For example, let's say the employer offers $50K and 2 weeks of vacation, but I really want 4 weeks of vacation and a $60K salary; however, I'd also accept 3 weeks of vacation and $70K. So, my counter would be something like "The position interests me and I'm glad you want to hire me. However, that offer is unacceptable. Instead, I want either 4 weeks of vacation and a $60K salary, or 3 weeks vacation and a $70K salary.

  • I have never made a counter-offer, do you mind giving some good ways to do it? – uom-pgregorio Jan 23 '17 at 18:23
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    @uom-pgregorio: Given time (which I don't have at the moment), I wouldn't mind ... other than to say I've always done it via email so I have time to consider my counter offer and try to get it right. However, that seems like a good topic for another question, as answers are probably going to be too long to fit into comments. – GreenMatt Jan 23 '17 at 18:30

Don't give a range. If you give them a range, they know you will happily work for the low end you give. And if they offer your low end, you can't argue with them for the high end, because you already said you would accept that amount. It's really no different than asking for the lowest value in your range. Find out how much you are worth, then ask for that.

  • So let's say I wanted a salary of $55k, I should just flat out say $55k? Why not $55k-$60k? Same result isn't it? With a slim chance that they'd give me $58k or something in between. – uom-pgregorio Jan 23 '17 at 18:26
  • If you're hoping for higher than 55k or think they might go higher, why not just ask for 60k? It's much more likely to work. Really you shouldn't be naming a number at all before they do, but if you have to, a range is pointless. – Kat Jan 23 '17 at 18:34

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