Once you spend some time on the other side of the negotiations table, you will realize that there is a pretty wide salary band of what the company would be willing to pay you and your peers to do your job. Some people are shocked to find out that two people that do the exact same job at the same company could be getting paid up to a 30% difference in salary. What is the main reason for the gap in salary? It really comes down to how well those people negotiated their salaries. If you think you are underpaid, don’t despair! By knowing where the band is, you can more easily get what you deserve.
1. Know how much you can ask for and still be in the Salary Band. The truth is that companies obviously don’t want to pay employees salaries at the high end of the salary band, but they can pay employees salaries at the high end of the band. This is why the band exists. Your job is to know where the band is so you know what kind of decision is just a matter of a manager paying you a little bit more (within the band) and asking to make a special request (outside of the band). If you know the high end of the band and you ask for a raise that brings you up to what your peers make, it can be as simple nod by your manager to get what you should be getting.
2. Know how much is too much because it is out of the salary band. On the flipside, if you walk in with confidence and ask for salary that is outside of your salary band, your manager could start seeing this as a request to move into another salary band (that may involve a promotion and title change). Although this is not necessarily a bad idea, it is just a different kind of negotiation in the eyes of your manager and would impact all sorts of other human resources issues for the manager (requisitions, open job searches, creating a new job description, impact on other members of the team, changing roles and responsibilities, etc). This may not be what you are actually asking for. Either way, it is really important for you to know where the lines are for your salary band so you can what you need.
Understanding salary bands is critical for negotiations when you are asking for a raise within a company that you are staying with and you have already tied to a specific salary band. It gets a little trickier when you are in a negotiation with a new company because the hiring manager may have the authority to pick you up and put you in an entirely different band. Again, this isn’t something to fear, it just means that you are going to need some more information in order to get what you deserve. Understanding the salary band is important, but again it is only a part of the whole picture.
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