How to Use Data When Negotiating Salary

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Salary data can be an invaluable tool in your arsenal when you’re trying to negotiate the best possible salary with an employer. However, like other kinds of information, salary data need to be gathered correctly and interpreted well in order to have any influence. With that in mind, consider the following tips for using data when you sit down with your employer to hash out a salary:

Choose the right data

It can be tempting to cherry pick data that support the highest possible salary for yourself, but fudging the numbers can backfire and undermine your whole proposal. Look at salary information that corresponds as closely as possible to the work you’ll be doing. Don’t take into account qualifications or experience you won’t use, and don’t look at salary numbers for workers higher up the career ladder than you.

Use data from reputable sources

Where your data come from matters immensely. Trade association surveys are often discounted by hiring managers, because those associations have a natural desire to want their members’ salaries to rise. Instead, look for third-party surveys that collect salary information from your employer’s direct competitors or from the entire industry.

Look at total compensation

Not all positions compensate their employees entirely in salary. To get the full picture of your salary versus the market rate, you’ll need to take into account other forms of compensation, like stock options and bonuses.

Make data part of an overall presentation

You’ll need to do more than flash numbers at your employer to get them to approve the salary you want. Use salary data to show where the compensation you want ranks compared to that of others, then explain why you deserve it. If you want to be paid the median, show the employer why you’re as valuable as any other employee in your position. If you want to be paid in the top quartile, show that your results are in the top quartile as well.

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