According to a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, your first 10 years in the work force could determine your earnings for your entire life.
So, what are you worth? Are you paid what you deserve? Is there a figure you would stop at, or will you always be on the hunt for more, bigger and better?
Salary expectations differ from person to person: of course, we’d all rather earn a hefty wage and have fewer money concerns, but there are those who value quality of life over the career ladder, more free time over late nights in the office to merit a 6-figure bank balance.
You’ll rarely hear people say they earn what they think they’re worth. Try asking anyone if their salary matches their capabilities/education/ dedication etc. and more often than not you will find their salary doesn’t reflect their ability or the hours they put in.
What is fair and what is darn-right greedy? If you don’t ask you don’t get, but you want to make sure your employer takes you seriously right off the bat.
Bartering with confidence, is something that comes with experience, but getting off to the best possible start as a new graduate and first time employee is essential.
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
So, how do we calculate that all-important figure?
It’s true that the interview stage is the time to do your salary negotiations. Once you’ve accepted an offer, there will be little you can do to rectify it until appraisal time comes around, six months to a year later. Sooner or later the question: “what are your salary aspirations?” will be asked of you, and you’ll have to give a ballpark figure that won’t leave you strapped for cash later, or doing your work for little better than free.
Do a little market research for starter salaries in your chosen field, in the town you live in. Chances are if you’ve just graduated, for example, lots of your peers will be in the same boat, so join forces with them to discover what kind of money you’re looking at. You might be able to consult with a careers advisor at your college if your school offers this kind of service.
Ultimately, negotiating is a skill that will stand you in good stead in all areas of your life. Not questioning what you’re offered, not challenging the status quo, can never be good.
This doesn’t mean to say everyone’s out to pull the financial wool over your eyes and that you should always assume the worst, but it does put you firmly in control of decisions regarding your future. Not being in charge is definitely NOT a good idea. This goes for all areas of your life, not just salary.
“The biggest financial challenges Millennials face is not taking ownership.” – Erin Lowry
Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together stressed how vital it is to negotiate your first salary (and indeed all subsequent salary offers), as this is what will set the precedent for the future.
Armed with your market knowledge, add 20%, and be prepared to negotiate back to the average. Go in low and you stand to come in under people in the same role as you.
While you’re at it, you’d be wise to establish a good pension deal early on too; lots of top companies out there are happy to match your pension payments, putting you in great financial shape come the golden years.
They might seem like a while off, but you’ll thank yourself later!
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