Congrats! You’ve landed a job offer. Now it’s time to talk money. Negotiating your salary can greatly influence how much money you make in the long run. Many women unknowingly contribute further to the gender pay gap and unequal pay because we are less likely to negotiate our salaries than men. Discussing salary is always a sensitive subject and often causes anxiety for both employee and employer. To some, salary isn’t the most important factor in accepting a position. There are times when an employer such as a small business or start-up company can’t afford to pay you more. Here are some perks you can negotiate when the employer is strapped for cash.
Accepting a job offer can come with some penalties if you don’t review the fine print of standard vacation policies. Many companies offer time off but require an extensive waiting period before you’re eligible to enjoy those vacation days. Nobody wants to leave multiple weeks of vacation time on the table. When you’re sacrificing over a month’s worth of PTO or already have a dream getaway planned, including this time in your job offer may be your best bet. What you gain in relaxation can settle the score with what you lack in your paycheck.
Your job title may not be a big deal to you initially, but if you’re finalizing sales with high-dollar clients and executives on a daily basis, your title can make all the difference in whether or not they’ll agree to meet with you. Remember, an external client has no clue of the value you bring. Self-marketing is crucial when building relationships to sell your employers’ products and services. Your job title can also work in your favor with a potential employer. It can produce growth in your career and added responsibility. For example, being called a manager or director versus an assistant helps distinguish your skillset and hierarchy in the department. Also, many job titles are standard in certain industries. You’ll need to research your job duties and how they compare to employees with similar or seemingly upper-level titles to validate your case. A title promotion from Marketing Coordinator to Marketing Director won’t cost the company a thing, but could yield a significantly higher salary should you decide to ask your current boss for a raise or move on to a new organization.
Flexible or Remote Schedules
Work schedules with 9-5 or 8-5 hours are the norm across various industries. With outside factors such as traffic, childcare and workout sessions, having a 7-4 or 6-3 schedule could dramatically change your commute time. If you can show your employer how adjusting your work schedule by an hour or two won’t affect your work output, you could very well be on your way to improved work-life balance. Companies across the globe have added work-from-home options to their employee work schedules. You’ll need to prove your boss she can trust you with limited supervision and this perk won’t hinder your performance. In some cases, employees have shown how working from home can ultimately save the company money by freeing up some much-needed office space. Whatever you do, avoid using this newfound freedom to work remotely as an opportunity to goof off on the company’s dime.
The employer’s goal should be to provide a happy and safe environment for its employees. Offering low cost perks that make employees feel valued increases morale, retention and loyalty. Employee parking fees can be as high as $100 or more per month. If your potential employer is unwilling to budge on salary, maybe she’ll view covering your fee at the downtown parking garage as an even trade. Your next option could be negotiating a parking spot. It may sound simple, but I’d much rather claim a spot out front than have to walk blocks in the cold or rain. When parking isn’t an issue, ask if the company could offer an allowance for transportation. Before you say yes to the deal, research the employer’s commuter benefits policy to gauge any other areas that could be up for negotiation.
Office space or equipment
Workspace is a biggie for many employees. You could easily upgrade from a noisy cubicle setting to a small tucked away office if you ask the right questions. Consider your need for a private space to conduct private calls or an open-office feel to hold impromptu meetings. What equipment the company provides can also be negotiated. Jobs that require long hours reviewing online reports or various databases may find having access to an additional monitor or a laptop versus desktop setup more of a valuable option. Having a company cell phone or vehicle may also be something worth the bargain.
Confidence is key in offer negotiations. According to a 2013 CareerBuilder survey, 45% of employers are willing — and expect — to negotiate salaries, but only half of job seekers actually do. When you don’t negotiate your pay and benefits, you potentially miss out on thousands of dollars. Once you reach the decision to negotiate, be sure to lead with facts over emotion. Focus on the goal of making yourself invaluable to the organization to land the job you want with the salary — or perks — you deserve.
Ashley Watkins, Career Coach and Nationally Certified Résumé Writer with Write Step Resumes, LLC, provides high-quality résumé writing, interview preparation, and career coaching services to help job seekers get more interviews and salary offers. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com.