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To ask you clever ladies advice on negotiating salary

(19 Posts)
LaBette001 Mon 05-Jan-15 21:59:01


I'm a long time lurker, emerging from the shadows to ask for some advice! I've often been blown away by the quality of advice offered here - especially in relation to work issues - so I'm hoping someone can help me.

I left a well paid job that was making me stressed (in combination with family commitments) in July to shift down a gear, taking a role in a start-up business in the education sector.

I took a pay cut for the role - as a start up they can't afford large salaries and let them know that income was somewhat less of a priority to me than regaining some time - to collect son from childminders etc. To be clear I wasn't asking for part time or flexible working, just an understanding that I have a family and can't always stay late in the office.

My initial salary was agreed, and the range I could earn after my probation period was set at £32k - £35k.

Having been at the company now for 5 months it's clear that I am to be afforded very little understanding about leaving early (and I'm only talking about 5:30 pm here!!). In fact i would say the hours are longer than in my previous job, with more stress and an expectation to answer emails at the weekend etc.

We are just about to open negotiations about my salary increase and suspect they'll try to offer me £32k.

Does anyone have any advice about how I can negotiate the top end of the range? I know it's not a huge difference but to be honest it's more about the principle.

In my probation meeting they were very pleased with my performance. Of course it wasn't perfect and they did offer areas for improvement but gave me no sense that I hadn't met their expectations.

So ladies - how do I approach this one?

nottheOP Mon 05-Jan-15 22:03:52

Is there a specification for the job? Can you show that you are meeting and potentially exceeding this specification?

simbacatlivesagain Mon 05-Jan-15 22:06:15

education sector?

LaBette001 Mon 05-Jan-15 22:07:59

There is a spec - but I would say it has evolved since I joined. So I am delivering against some of the points but not against others. But then also doing some things that are not on the original spec IYSWIM

LaBette001 Mon 05-Jan-15 22:11:46

Simba - that was poorly expressed but I'm trying not to be too specific for fear of outing myself.

TiredButFine Mon 05-Jan-15 22:17:29

You have two issues- the time/committment they want, and the salary. You could research the salary of similar jobs to evidence that you are being paid too low. You could point out some efficiencies that you bring/talent, to show how valuable you are. You could point out the extra unpaid "weekend" hours you do. You also need to have a conversation about what work you do and when, and nail it down (I must leave at 5.30 prompt unless there is a major crisis) as a start up it's normal that you do a but extra, don't say you won't but do say what you will do (I will log on for 30mins at 8am on Sat and Sun to reply to emails but must leave at 5.30. If needed I will do emails for 30mins that evening from home) email to "log" when you are working from home so you have an audit trail.

LaBette001 Mon 05-Jan-15 22:30:27

Thanks Tired, that's very helpful. I will try to disentangle the two issues and treat them separately.

DodgedAnAsbo Mon 05-Jan-15 22:44:09

I actually think you are wrong LaBette on the basic premise. This is not about principle. it's about the money.

On the face of it you are talking about 3k pa, which is just less than 10% (of 32k)
so you might be a bit blasé about a 10% differential.

BUT, after you take out costs, 3k will not be 10% it will be massively higher, in terms of profits. If your costs are 29k, for example, 3k represents a 100% difference, not 10%.

How to approach it ? you need to play hardball. tell them you deserve it, you earn it and you will get it, either with them, or with a rival company.
and mean it

MiddleAgedandConfused Mon 05-Jan-15 22:58:58

Not a lot you can do now - this needed to be defined at the start against agreed performance targets.
Do you know what other people are earning - can you draw any comparison to other roles in the company?
If money is not an issue for you - and a startup may be strapped for cash - what else can you ask for? Could you say that £32k only gets them 4.5 days a week? Can you ask for flexitime? How about more holiday? Good luck!

Blondie1984 Mon 05-Jan-15 23:02:19

Do we carefu about how you position logging on outside of normal hours - it could come across as poor time management on your part

Blondie1984 Mon 05-Jan-15 23:02:42

Should have said be careful

LaBette001 Mon 05-Jan-15 23:17:50


So basically I'm going to need to grow a pair, play hardball and if they will not back down then consider what else I could negotiate for a lower salary, such as 4.5 days. Or leave grin

LaBette001 Mon 05-Jan-15 23:25:51

Ps I should say - because I think I might have made myself sound like an entitled witch - that it's not so much like money isn't an issue for us, we're definitely not rolling in it or even all that well off. It's just that with us both in pretty full on jobs which we're putting a strain on us, we decided i should take something less time intensive and pick up a bit of slack with family life, rather than prioritise earning right now. Oops... confused

MoonlightandRoses Mon 05-Jan-15 23:28:21

Also, when you are negotiating, do it not from a "how you personally will benefit" viewpoint, but from a "how the company benefits" one. E.g. Due to me implementing/actioning x, I have saved the company y.
Due to me identifying x process/opportunity/risk [delete as relevant], we (the company) are better positioned to grow the business in the medium term etc.,

Decide what you want (cash or days or combination) before you ask for it - go in with a very clear idea of ideal vs reaching an agreement vs exit point.

And good luck!

LaBette001 Tue 06-Jan-15 12:14:25

Thanks Moonlight. Practical advice on how to actually handle the conversation is great. This is the first time I've had a convo like this.

LiegeAndLief Tue 06-Jan-15 12:51:23

I think you need to decide what is more important to you, the money or the time. If it is the time (which it sounds like), get a clear idea in your head of what is acceptable to you and state it clearly. Mention good things you have done for the company as pp suggested and try to be clear, firm and unemotional.

It's not like you are dropping this on them, it sounds like you explained your situation in the interview. Remember a probation period (like an interview) is meant to work for both parties, not just the employer. They have put effort into recruiting and training you over the last 5 months, which is probably a big investment for a start up and they are not going to want to do that all over again with someone else.

Once you have reached an agreement, stick to it. Leave at 5:30 regardless. I pick my dc up from school 4 days a week so absolutely have to leave at a certain time or I will be late. I have walked out of meetings, stopped conversations mid flow etc and it is awkward and difficult sometimes, but I do a good job and finish things off from home if necessary and the really important thing is everyone knows I leave at that time and won't / can't stay ten minutes over.

Good luck!

sparechange Tue 06-Jan-15 15:29:40

Thee are two issues here, and you need to treat them separately.

The first is that you've passed your probation with very positive feedback and want to discuss your new salary with them. In laying out the range when you took the job, they've signaled to you both what they think the role is worth for a good person, and also how much they potentially have available to pay the salary.

So YOU need to open the negotiations by saying that as you've performed very well (did they highlight any areas for improvement?), you can't see any reason that you won't be getting a payrise towards the upper end of the scale. Put the ball in their court as to why you aren't worth it, and if they flag specifics, put a plan in place to address those specifics by your mid-year review.

The second and separate issue are your hours. I think you need to address this separately to the pay negotiations, but don't flag up your willingness to work the extra hours and the weekends to justify your payrise if you then want to move away from that.

Personally, I would leave it a few weeks after the pay discussion and then say that you would like to start working the hours you negotiated when you joined, and that means you won't be available in the office after 5:30, and they can't expect you to be available on email over the weekend, but you'd like to sit down with them after a month to discuss how this has worked for them.

MiddleAgedandConfused Tue 06-Jan-15 16:15:51

sparechange - great advice.

notauniquename Wed 07-Jan-15 16:19:08

I'm not so sure that you can just divorce the two issues.
effort and conditions and remuneration are linked.

How strongly did you put it across that you wanted to work less hours?
It sounds like you may not have made that clear, maybe said that you want to reduce long hours and reduce stress -but that's not the same as saying I want to be out of here at 5:30 every day.
And even if you did make it clear in what you said, it seems that you've made it even less clear doing this work and these hours inside your probation period...
(as brutal as it sounds, your employer may have had a very different report in your review meeting if you were packing up at 5:15 ready to be leaving at 5:30 each day, they may have decided that they could not actually accommodate that flexibility, may have decided that they could split the role to 2 part time people (and reduced your hours further)

I don't think that it's wise to walk into a meeting one week and agree to work a set week where the expectation of your employer, is that you're there till six, for a specific salary, and they turn up the next week saying that you want to keep the pay and work less hours.

Lots of jobs don't want you to catch up at weekends, the reason that they have office hours is that's what other people have as office hours.

you need to decide what is most important to you, pay or working hours. and drive your meeting towards that.

Make sure your first and most important conditions are met first.

if money is more important: then make sure that you talk about that first. then at the end talk about flexibility, can you start earlier, only have a part lunch etc.

If finishing early is most important: then lead with that. either reduced hours, starting earlier, working through lunch, making up time at weekends.

Once you are happy with that primary condition being met then talk about what else you'd like.

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