Salary Negotiation Tips for Recent College Graduates

Accountemps salary negotiation college graduates

Did you just receive an offer for an entry-level accounting and finance position? Despite what you may have heard, you can consider salary negotiation even as a recent graduate.

You may feel apprehensive about requesting more money at such an early stage of your career. However, many employers are willing to negotiate salary with the right candidate, even if you are fresh out of college or university. According to a survey by Robert Half, 56 per cent of senior executives are comfortable with potential employees asking about salary during the interview process.

Not only are employers comfortable with salary negotiation, but your competitors in the job market are also unafraid to approach the subject. A separate Robert Half survey found that 81 per cent of workers said they were comfortable negotiating for higher pay or improved benefits. Forty-four per cent said they were very comfortable.

Negotiating salary can work to your advantage. People who start negotiating earlier tend to do so more often in their careers than employees who shy away from the subject with employers. Consequently, they are afforded greater potential for their salaries over their career as future discussions are based on their previous salaries. Employers won't lay everything on the table right away, so you have to make the right moves to secure a higher salary. Here are some tips:

Do Your Research

Take some time to review the average starting salary ranges for the position in your geographic area. Check data offered in the 2016 Salary Guide from Robert Half.

Research the company, as well. Determine whether it recently had any large layoffs and, if possible, find out how long management has been looking to fill the position. However, keep in mind that such information may be difficult to obtain. If the company has been making budget cuts through layoffs, your chances of a successful salary negotiation may be smaller. On the other hand, you may have more leverage in the discussion if the employer has had trouble recruiting for the position you are offered.

Consider Benefits and Perks

Employers often offer more than money. Excellent health coverage benefits, tuition reimbursement, an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan or telecommuting options can offset a smaller salary.

Negotiate with Quantitative Evidence

Describe how your skills and experience translate to a return on investment for the employer. Explain how your efforts improved operations at the organization where you interned. Show your value through concrete examples rather than vague descriptions.

Don't Make Demands

Speak in a friendly but firm tone, but don't approach a salary negotiation with a list of demands. Your task is to present a clear argument and persuade employers that you are worth a higher salary. Avoid appearing as if you are begging for more money, and rehearse your arguments and counter-arguments several times to address any holes in your reasoning.