4 Tips to Negotiating Salary During Economic Uncertainty

During times of economic uncertainty—like now—it can be tough to envision yourself asking for more money, let alone getting it. “With many industries struggling economically during this time, many professionals may feel like it isn’t a good time to negotiate their salary,” says career coach Hallie Crawford. You may assume the company isn’t willing or able to increase its offer.

If you’re afraid to negotiate your salary at this time, your fears aren’t completely unfounded. As millennial career expert Jill Jacinto explains, “Unemployment is the highest it’s been in years, so your average salary negotiation will not be as strong as three months ago.” But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. So, if you’d like to negotiate your salary during economic uncertainty, here are four tips to help you come out of a negotiation with more pay—or at least a few more perks.

Develop a timetable.

Because your company might not be poised to increase its offer right now, Jacinto recommends looking toward the future to argue your case. “Develop a timetable map of certain milestones you plan to hit during your first she says. For example, you might set a goal to increase sales by five percent in the third quarter. Then ask for a raise contingent on hitting that target, she says.

Get creative with what you negotiate.

There are ways to increase your worth without increasing your pay, Crawford explains. In tough economic times, employers might be willing to move on things such as more time off, a title change, additional benefits, paid training, bonus structures, or retirement contributions, she says. You can also negotiate perks that save you money, which effectively increases your pay without costing your employer, says Jacinto. For example, asking to work from home is a perk that saves you not only time on a commute, but gas or public transit expenses. So, when you’re negotiating, consider asking for these kinds of perks in addition to asking for a bump in your base pay.

Express your appreciation and loyalty to the company.

Any time you negotiate your salary, it’s smart to reiterate your commitment to the company—but it’s especially important to do so during tough economic times, says Crawford. “Make sure your manager knows that you are dedicated to your role and helping the company through this tough time, with or without a raise,” she says. While it may seem counterintuitive to say that you’ll stick with the company without a pay increase, Crawford says it’s key. Even if they can’t offer one now, “knowing your dedication isn’t dependent on money may make your employer more likely to give you a raise later on even if they can’t right at this moment,” she explains.

Share your unique skills.

During times of economic uncertainty, companies sometimes lay off employees and ask their remaining roster to fill those holes—without any additional pay. In a negotiation, you can “use this to your advantage,” Jacinto explains. Here’s how: Let’s say you’re applying to be an editor. In your negotiation, you should mention the other skills you’ll bring to the team, such as graphic design or web analytics—skills that might not be directly applicable to your role but that could come in handy if the company’s workforce was reduced, she says. By offering up these skills, you could save the company from “hiring for these positions or contracting the work out to freelancers,” Jacinto says, and the company may be willing to pass some of those savings to you.

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