How to negotiate your salary – top tips for HR

Looking for a new job or a pay rise? Here’s some advice to help you get the best outcome.

Negotiating a new salary or a pay rise is always a delicate situation, even for HR professionals who are often experienced in sitting on the other side of the fence in salary negoations. 

New salary negotiations can be a challenging experience for many job candidates, as they are yet to have an opportunity to prove themselves and their worth to the company, says Lisa Morris, Senior Regional Director of Hays Human Resources.
“In our experience, many people are unsure how to negotiate salary from the position of job applicant rather than an existing, proven and valued employee,” Morris told HC Online.
“In fact, the main reason that people run into trouble at offer stage is usually because they are unhappy with one or more aspect/s of the offer - typically the salary - but are uncertain how to proceed,” she says. 
The best time to open the floor to salary negotiations is when a job offer is made verbally, and before a formal written offer is received, Morris says.
“As a job applicant, this verbal offer stage is the best time to negotiate, if the employer has not already raised the issue of salary, since you are now firmly positioned as the employer’s preferred candidate,” Morris says. 
She reminds HR professionals to keep the lines of communication open during their negotiations.
“Tell your recruiter or the hiring manager that you are very interested in the position, but that you would like to negotiate,” Morris says.
“Discuss openly and professionally your opinion and desired outcome, and support your salary view with evidence from a Salary Guide to show that your expectations are aligned with current market rates,”
“Do not expect an immediate response; the hiring manager will need to gain approval from their manager for any revision to an offer. But once they respond, you should accept or reject the offer in a timely and professional manner.”
When you are already an established employee and seeking a pay-rise, it is important to have a fall-back position, Morris says.
“If your employer cannot afford to increase your salary, can you agree a date for another pay review in three or six months?  What about additional annual leave, study or other benefits?” she says.
Above all, HR professionals should ensure they use their accomplishments and the value they add to the organisation as the basis of their negotiation.
“In this way, you’ll clearly demonstrate your worth and will be in a stronger position to secure the maximum of the salary increase on offer,” Morris says.
Right now, HR professionals based in NSW, Victoria and QLD are in hottest demand across the construction, healthcare, technology, education and finance industries.
Salaries depend on location and job function, with NSW, ACT and Victoria leading the way.
In South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland salaries are remaining steady, with general national salary ranges (exclusive of superannuation) are as follows:

  • HR Business Partners: $80,000 – 140,000 
  • L&D Consultant:  $70,000 - 120,000
  •  Remuneration & Benefits Consultant: $65,000 – 130,000  


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