Salary Negotiation Event Recap

Last month, the Block Career Center hosted the workshop “Negotiating Your Salary.” Here some key highlights from the session:

Salary negotiation: What is it?

When you hear the phrase “salary negotiation”, how does it make you feel? Is your attitude combative? Many employees tense at the sound of salary negotiations, believing it is dispute between them and their employer. In reality, negotiating your salary is an opportunity to display your skillset and pitch your value proposition, and it doesn’t have to be emotionally charged. Your agreed upon salary ultimately lays the groundwork for your future pay, so it is important to start with a solid foundation. Employers expect this conversation from their new hires!

Why negotiate?

Often times, when a company makes an offer, they do so with the expectation that the new hire will negotiate his/her salary. Because of this, the company’s offer is likely at the lower-end of what has been budgeted for the position. It is particularly important that women negotiate their salary. Reports show that only 7% of women negotiate their salary, meanwhile 57% of men negotiate their salary. As stated above, the agreed upon salary lays the groundwork for future pay, and women who do not negotiate this number only experience future pay discrepancies in their career.

What affects my salary?

There are seven key factors that affect salaries: personal expectation of salary, company budget, job title, local/regional economy, industry and function, previous work experience, and your personal value. Many of these factors are out of your control. The things you can control are your expectations of the salary and the value you bring to the organization. These are key areas of negotiation; we’ll take a look at how that is done below.

How to best prepare to negotiate your salary:

How to negotiate:

The moment has arrived! It’s time to negotiate.

After doing research and prep work, you should have a desired salary range in your head. Present this range to your employer, and ask if it is possible for your compensation to fall within it. This negotiation should happen with good faith and class. Stick to the facts of your research, and be prepared to present your findings. This may also be a good opportunity to restate your value proposition. Remind your employer why they want you on their team! Finally, be realistic with your negotiation. Each role has a budgeted salary, and it may be unreasonable for a company to go above this budget. If you can get some more money out of the negotiation, that’s great! Ultimately, it is your decision whether you accept the position or not.

Final reminders:

  • Make the employer say the salary first
  • You don’t have to accept an offer right away
  • It is OK to accept the initial salary offered if it is not negotiable. But do you research first!
  • Play the long game
  • Be reasonable and know when to wrap it up

We wish you best of luck in your job researching and salary negotiations.


By Fangruo (Ingrid) Zhou
Fangruo (Ingrid) Zhou Student Ambassador