A job offer is the make-or-break point of the application process, the point when prospective employees decide whether to join a company based on how it fits into their career paths, and equally important, whether it meets their expectations on salary.
Nothing kills the excitement of a job offer like a salary package that undervalues what the applicant can bring to the company or is simply insufficient in the post-COVID era of expensive living.
When the offer doesn't cut it, job applicants should know how to properly negotiate for a higher salary so they do not have to pass up on a role that they really want, a human resources practitioner said.
“If you can quantify the kind of work that you've done in your previous employer, and you can show a track record that proves that you can really support the company, pwede mong gamitin yun to justify why you want a higher salary,” human resources consultant Rhonadale Florentino told reportr.
“You can negotiate na this is what I have done in the past, this is what I can bring to your organization,” she added.
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Why some employers can’t give higher salaries
Although some companies may be in high-paying industry, not all of them can provide the salary that a prospective employee expects. A firm’s capacity to provide compensation to its employees typically depends on its size and net revenue, Florentino said.
“For example, the whole IT industry is capable of paying. But that's not always the case. You have IT companies that are small and you have IT companies that are big and generating significant revenue,” she said.
“Let's say the applicant applies for a BPO position, pero yung ina-applyan niya is not a well-known BPO. Hindi maibibigay yun ng kung saan siya mag-aapply kasi masyadong magiging mataas ang expectation niya compared doon sa kayang bayaran ng company,” she added.
Another reason why companies sometimes cannot match the salary expectation of an applicant is that they don’t have a salary structure, which means they lack a standard process to determine how much they can offer a prospective employee, Florentino said.
“If the company doesn't have a strong recruitment process, a strong salary structure in place, hirap sila to make an offer na significant or competitive compared to other companies,” she added.
Sometimes, if the position being applied for is “cost-generating”, companies may also be a bit hesitant to offer bigger salaries, Florentino said.
How to negotiate for a higher salary
When trying to negotiate for a bigger salary, Florentino said applicants can try either the “passive” or “active” approach.
The “passive” approach, for one, can be applied during the job interview stage, where the applicant can ask the hiring manager about the prospects of salary increases and other bonuses.
Applicants, she added, should not focus too much on whether their starting salaries are high enough. What matters is how much their income can grow overtime.
“Itanong mo, 'What's your performance management policy like? Do you have guaranteed increases every year?' Kapag sinabi na 'Yes, we have guaranteed increases', then you can be sure na every year tataas ang sweldo mo,” Florentino said.
“Next question mo would be: 'Do you have bonus and incentive schemes for the position that I am applying for?' Kapag sinabing yes, then that means aside from the increases every year, you can also expect short-term rewards in terms of bonuses and incentives,” she added.
The “active” approach, on the other hand, requires actual negotiation. When negotiating a salary with the hiring manager, make sure to place the amount above your salary expectation. This way, you can still lower the amount if the hiring manager finds it still above what the company can afford, Florentino said.
“Huwag agad hihirit ng non-negotiable. Taasan niyo but always say na negotiable naman yan depende sa kung ano yung salary structure ng company at kung ano pa yung ibang benefits na ino-offer nila,” she added.
Will the increasing prices of goods and service be a justifiable reason for a salary increase? Not so much, according to Florentino, as the employer itself may be experiencing these issues as well.
“Kung sasabihin mo sa kanila na kasi may gastos ako sa pamasahe, the employer will not budge kahit pa sabihin mong mahihirapan ka kasi you will always have options,” she said.
“You can apply sa other companies na mas malapit sayo, or you can apply with a company na mas mataas yung ibibigay sayo na starting salary,” she added.
How to move past the salary dilemma
It’s important to remember that you are applying for a job not because of how much you will earn from it, but also for the benefits you will receive and the growth it will contribute to your career. Also consider these aspects of your employment when accepting a job offer, Florentino said.
“Kung yung basic pay mababa, yung benefits parang hindi siya ganun kaganda for you, huwag niyong ipilit, apply sa iba. You should know your worth,” she said.
At the end of the day, what will make employees happy is not just a high salary, but also the experience they will gain and the friends they will make on the job.
“Also ask for career growth, development plans," Florentino said. Kahit na masaya ka sa sweldo mo, sa benefits mo, kung hindi ka masaya sa mga katrabaho mo, wala rin, mabu-burnout ka rin. So always balance everything out."
Rhonadale Florentino is a human resources consultant and strategist who serves as CEO and President of UpRush Social Geekers, an HR consultancy company. Access their services here.