Salary negotiation can be an awkward part of the business world. Regardless of your engineering or construction specialisation, there’s a high probability that at some point in your career you’ll have the opportunity to discuss the remuneration that comes with your potential role.
We understand that can be an uncomfortable prospect. When the job offer is in front of you, it can be daunting to potentially jeopardise the opportunity when you’re so close to the finish line.
But, as published in the Professional Engineers Employment and Remuneration Report 21/22, the average wages for Engineers rose by 1.6% over the last 12 months, on the heels of a 2.4% increase the year prior. The survey also showed that 49.2 per cent of Engineers had changed employers seeking an increase in remuneration, while 51.7 per cent did so for professional development opportunities.
Similarly, as mentioned in the latest Patch Personnel Subsurface Oil & Gas Employment Insights Report, there are predictions that the Oil & Gas sector will soon move into a candidate-led model where there will be more companies trying to hire people than candidates to fill roles.
With strong demand for specialised skills and experience continuing across the engineering and construction industries, hiring has reached or even exceeded pre-pandemic levels. The shortage of skilled professionals is adding to this pressure, increasing competition for top talent and driving up salaries.
If you possess these sought-after skillsets, you could be missing out on higher remuneration by choosing not to engage in conversations surrounding salary.
Here are our five top tips for negotiating salary respectfully and confidently.
Do Your Research
Before you enter salary negotiation, ensure you obtain as much relevant information on industry salary trends as possible. Data is your strongest ally throughout this conversation.
Understanding what your role and skills are currently worth in the wider market will give you a strong starting point to begin your negotiations. Bring copies of salary benchmarks and comparable job earnings to your interview or meeting. The more evidence you can present, the better position you will be in to secure the best compensation.
If you’re unsure where to begin researching or collating information, consider reaching out to a specialist recruitment company like Patch Personnel. As specialists in Oil & Gas, Engineering and Construction recruitment, the team at Patch Personnel has the network and resources to provide customised assistance for securing and negotiating the next steps of your career.
Factor in Perks and Benefits
When engaging in negotiations, remember that salary isn’t the only factor that can be discussed. This is your opportunity to discuss any of the perks that were offered to you along with the job.
Salary negotiations often include some give-and-take on employee benefits and perks. For instance, your potential employer may be more open to offering extra annual leave, flexible hours, or health insurance cover than a salary increase. Not every employer can offer more money, but they may be able to offer different/more benefits than before.
List any potential perks and benefits that would be valuable to you prior to the conversation and consider how they might ensure success.
Be Confident in Your Skills
It can be easy to begin negotiations with the mindset that you’re fortunate just to have a job offer. However, you should remember that in industries like construction and engineering where competition for top talent is intense, you bring invaluable skills and experience to the table. Your skill set can undoubtedly benefit your new potential company – and it only makes sense to be fairly compensated as such.
If you’re unsure about how to present a confident front, try practising your delivery. Ask a friend or a mentor to practice the conversation you’re likely to have with the Hiring Manager. Ideally, find someone who can coach you on projecting confidence and answering unexpected questions.
Wait to Hear the Offer
If you’re interviewing with a company for the first time, they may ask you for the salary range you are looking for. We suggest holding back on naming your desired range and waiting to see what they are willing to offer.
Once they have named their number first, you can then counteroffer with a higher salary or ask about additional benefits. If you name your desired number before they do, it can be seen as negative to then try and negotiate it higher if they immediately agree to the figure. By waiting for the offer first, you hold much greater leverage.
Always avoid divulging your last salary if possible; instead, tell them what you believe you are worth based on your skills, experience, and research.
Understand When to Walk Away
Most reasonable employers wouldn’t consider withdrawing their job offer because you tried to negotiate. However, if the employer is holding firm and salary negotiations aren’t getting anywhere, continuing to push is likely to frustrate both you and the Hiring Manager.
If the company cannot meet your requirements, it’s best to politely turn down the opportunity and wish them well in their search for the right candidate. It’s important that you understand your worth – the right remuneration is out there and your time is better spent pursuing opportunities that can match your salary expectations.
If you decide to accept the new role and the negotiated salary, ensure you have everything documented in writing.
As you engage in salary negotiation for your job offer, remember that you are responsible for advocating for yourself. Negotiating salary can be difficult for even the most confident people, but the good news is that the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
If you’re looking to negotiate your way to a new career or a better salary, talk to the team of experts at Patch Personnel today. Our Oil & Gas, Engineering and Construction recruitment specialists have a wealth of knowledge on how you can secure a significant role in Australia that will match your salary expectations. Get in touch with them today.