How Can I Ask for Higher Pay When Starting a New Job?

Congratulations! You’ve gotten a job offer! You’re excited to start the job but the pay the employer offered is lower than you want. Lots of people think they must accept the pay an employer offers but it’s important to know that you can negotiate your pay and benefits. In fact, employers often do not offer the highest amount they can pay with their job offer

Asking for higher pay from an employer can be hard, but it can help you earn more money. Here are some ways to prepare to negotiate your pay:

  • Recognize that employers have invested a lot of time and effort to recruit the best candidate for the job—through marketing the position, reading applications, interviewing candidates, contacting references, and doing a background check—and they don’t want to have to start the process over
  • Research the usual pay for the job and industry in which you’re working as well as the area where you live. That will give you a good idea of the amount the job should pay. The Bureau of Labor Statistics website is a good place to start your research:
  • When you get the job offer, ask the employer why they picked you. You can use that information in your negotiation to highlight what makes you stand out
  • Based on your research of the usual pay for the job and industry, think about a 3-point range:
    • The minimum amount you would be willing to accept
    • A middle range number
    • The ideal pay you would like to receive.
  • If the employer says no when you ask for your ideal pay, you can ask for your middle range number
  • Find more tips at

If the employer says they can’t pay you more money, then you can:

  • Ask for increased benefits, like health, dental, or vision insurance, more vacation time, or, depending on the job, the flexibility to work from home one or two days a week
  • Ask that a 3- or 6-month salary review be included in your offer letter

It is also important to know what not to say or do when negotiating. Here are a few things not to do:

  • Don’t ask about pay before you receive a job offer
  • Don’t negotiate through email or phone/in-person without knowing the benefits and challenges of each. Using email gives a written record of the communication between you and the employer while negotiating by phone or in-person can help you get answers quickly
  • Don’t give a specific number if the employer asks for your desired pay before they offer you the job. Instead, you can say that your desired pay is negotiable or that you expect an amount that reflects the market rate for the position

Negotiating your pay is a normal part of the hiring process and many employers are not motivated to offer you more money unless you ask. If an employer makes you an offer it is because they think you are the best person for the job. After you receive the job offer, it is up to you to ask for the pay and benefits that you want.

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