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Negotiating with businesses: salary

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We’re going to assume that you’ve done your homework and have a very good idea of what the “average” salary window is for your upcoming role. If you’re not aware of the market here then you’re doing yourself a disservice.

You should also – if you can – apply this level of research to the company you’re about to start working for. What is the state of the company’s finances? How fast are they expanding?

With all that in your mind, your salary negotiation should be fairly straightforward, except for one likely variable: this isn’t the only job you applied for. You’ve either got a better offer from somewhere else, or you’re waiting on another offer that you think might be better than the one currently in front of you.

(Don’t lie about this stuff. It’s not necessary, and is the definition of bad faith negotiating. In a long enough business relationship most lies are revealed; this is unlikely to be a positive development.)

If you’ve already received a better offer, simply be honest without being confrontational. Mention that you have a higher offer and that you’re considering taking it. Try to keep the discussion confined to salary only – comparing the culture and benefits of two companies with a non-neutral party is only going to get confusing/off-topic. Keep your cards close to your chest.

If you’re waiting on another offer, you’re really trying to buy time right now. Again, be honest: explain that theirs isn’t the only opportunity your pursuing and that you’re expecting an offer shortly from a company you’re interested in. Suggest a realistic and respectful time to wait before finishing negotiations.  Obviously a business will want to move swiftly, but pressure to move quicker than is comfortable is a red flag.

Regardless of your situation, we recommend planning things further than simply “use higher offer as leverage.” There will always be a limit to what a business is prepared/able to do. Decide ahead of time what you will do if the business can’t or won’t match the offer and what you’ll do if they refuse to improve their offer at all.

Accepting that you can’t always get what you want isn’t a sign of weakness. If a business says they cannot increase their compensation and you think they’re arguing in good faith, pushing them or escalating to a confrontation just so you can get a “win” isn’t the mark of a good future colleague. Glengarry Glen Ross is a good movie, but you wouldn’t want to hang out with any of the characters.

We’ve collected our salary findings in the table below.

RoleSalary (£ 000 p/a)Rate (£ p/d)
FINANCE & OPERATIONS
Chief Financial Officer120-150700-1000
Finance Director80-120500-700
Bookkeeper25-35180-250
Finance Manager35-45250-300
Management Accountant45-55300-400
Financial Controller55-75350-450
Head of Operations60-80400-500
Operations Manager40-60300-400
TALENT & HR
Head of People100-120600-700
Head of HR70-90450-550
Head of Talent80-100500-600
HR Business Partner60-80400-500
HR Manager55-75350-450
Talent Acquisition Manager40-60300-400
Technical Recruiter35-55250-350
SALES & MARKETING
Commercial Director80-120Rarely contract roles
Head of Partnerships100-120Rarely contract roles
Head of Sales80-100Rarely contract roles
Business Development Manager35-45Rarely contract roles
Account Manager40-60Rarely contract roles
Head of Marketing70-90450-550
Head of Growth55-75350-450
Marketing Manager – Performance40-60300-400
Marketing Manager – Brand/Content40-60300-400
Content Manager/Copywriter35-45250-300

 

 

 

 

 

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