Tips for  Negotiating Salary During a Pandemic

A recent poll we conducted on LinkedIn asked, what common interview question do you stress over the most? Forty-two percent of respondents said salary negotiation and expectation questions were the most stressful questions to answer. It’s not surprising that most people are uncomfortable asking for more money from an employer or potential employer. And as if negotiating pay wasn’t stressful enough during normal times, now amid the economic downturn, many people are wondering if it’s an appropriate time to be asking for a pay raise. 

You may feel lucky just to have a job right now but, despite the current market, data shows 84% of employers will deliver pay raises in 2021. The chances of you earning a higher compensation this year is completely feasible. To help you confidently discuss this topic with your employer or future employer, consider these tips.

Do your research

Knowledge is power when it comes to negotiating pay. Before your discussion, research how COVID-19 has impacted the organization. What is their financial situation? Did they experience layoffs, furloughs, or hiring freezes? How have they helped employees during the pandemic? Knowing what the organization has endured during the pandemic, will help you determine what you want to say and how you say it during your discussion. If you believe the option of a raise isn’t possible at the moment, you can make mention of that. Such as, “I do understand that at this time the option of a raise might not be possible, but here’s what I’ve accomplished this year…” 

Take time to research industry salary trends and any salary information you can find about the organization. Find out what other people with the same job title are making at the company. If you have in-demand or unique experiences and skills, you may have a better chance of negotiating higher pay.

Another way to figure out your professional value is by contacting a trusted recruiter. At JOHNLEONARD, we have over 50 years of industry knowledge and experience. Throughout the entire pandemic, our staffing experts have worked with a broad range of clients and know what organizations are paying. Give us a call to learn what your experience and expertise are worth.   

Provide a salary range

After thoroughly researching your market value, you’ll be prepared to present an appropriate salary range. Asking for a salary range rather than an exact number gives you more flexibility around what the employer might offer. You’re not pricing yourself under or over; showing you’re open to negotiating. Typically, you should ask for a 10% – 20% increase than what you’re currently making. For example, if you’re making $60,000 a year the range you would present is $66,000 – $72,000. But be sure to ask for a salary range that you’d be comfortable accepting, in case the employer offers the lowest amount. 

Negotiate benefits

If an increase in salary isn’t an option right now, consider your benefits and perks. The pandemic has taught us that employee benefits are crucial for retaining and attracting top talent. Gallagher’s 2020 Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey showed, following the viral outbreak, more than 8 in 10 employers (83 percent) have more strongly emphasized the role of specific benefits within total wellbeing, including emotional wellbeing (65 percent), leave policies (47 percent), medical benefits (39 percent), and physical wellbeing (36 percent). Employees are now prioritizing specific workplace benefits that weren’t as important in the past. Here are just some benefits you can negotiate:

      • Mental health 
      • Telehealth 
      • Student loan repayment
      • Remote work and flexible schedule
      • Sign-on bonus
      • Leave benefits
      • Caregiver benefits

You can negotiate more than just pay. If you’re working from home, you can ask for new equipment that would make you more productive. Try asking for a new laptop, an extra monitor screen, any office supplies, etc.

Tips for  Negotiating Salary During a Pandemic (1)Don’t leave money on the table just because the economy is tough right now. If you’re job seeking or looking for a better compensation package or raise, you can negotiate! You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how amiable employers are being in today’s employment landscape.


Looking for more career advice? Subscribe to The JOHNLEONARD Blog below!