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Do’s and Don’ts of Negotiating a Pay Increase at Executive Level

Whether you are preparing for an imminent executive progress review, are entering salary negotiations with your CEO or are simply surveying your executive career options and would like to master the art of negotiating executive compensation before making your next big move, it is never too early to begin your research into what you are worth, and how to attain your financial goals.

executive_salary_negotiation_adviceWith online salary comparison websites making it easier than ever to see if you are being paid fairly, it is worth mastering these top executive do’s and don’ts before taking your next step towards negotiation.
 

Reason and Logic

Do: When beginning your negotiation, it is important to think about your demands from the perspective of your employer. Asking yourself why you deserve it, what financial benefits you will bring and how the pay rise will help the company overall is a great way to help you create a case that will be compelling and appealing to your employer. It is vital to convince your employer that your services are worth more than you are currently being paid, and that your future services will easily justify the pay increase that you are requesting.

Don’t: Avoid making your salary increase request centered on highly personal issues. Telling your employer that you need the extra money to buy a house, because you are expecting a baby or because you need more money for personal expenses will not do you any favors during at the negotiation table.
 

Timing is Everything

Do: Timing can have a huge impact on the result of your salary negotiation. It is important to make sure that your employer does not feel ambushed by your request, so arranging a meeting and giving them some idea about what you want to discuss is vital. It is also a great idea, if possible, to time your meeting to coincide with the completion of a profitable project, particularly one that you contributed heavily towards.

Don’t: Approaching your employer at an ill-thought-out time, without notice, such as prior to a board meeting or just after the release of negative financial forecasts, is likely to lead to a dismissal of your request. Waiting for the right moment can be frustrating, but is more likely to lead to success.
 

Due Diligence

Do: Make sure you do your homework in advance. Equip yourself with a clear, informed idea of what you want, what you are prepared to settle for and how you are going to get it. You can use a variety of online resources to find comparable positions and their average compensation level. Rehearse and be prepared to present your recent achievements in a clear and concise manner to make your case without boring your employer with too much detail. Another effective technique is to include testimonials from happy customers, directors and senior managers within your organization.

Don’t: Being underprepared can not only lead to a rejection of your salary increase, but can also be damaging to your professional reputation. Before you enter any kind of salary negotiation, have a very clear idea of what you are worth and how to communicate that worth.
 

Open-minded Attitude

Do: Salary is only one part of your compensation package and it is worth keeping this fact in mind during the negotiation process. If you are unable to increase your fiscal compensation, remember that occupational pensions, private medical coverage, vacation, life insurance, bonuses and employee share plans can also be brought into the conversation.

Don’t: Many executives who feel frustrated in their current situation end up making sensational threats such as saying that they will “walk out of the company” if they are turned down. Statements like this are incredibly damaging to your negotiation and career trajectory as it demonstrates a key lack of commitment and loyalty to the company. If you are rejected, one alternative way of handling the situation could be working with your employer to agree on ways to progress the conversation in the future, which might include a set timeframe for a pay review in three to six months.

If you would like to receive more helpful advice regarding your executive compensation negotiation strategy, join us on Wednesday, March 23, for a complimentary webinar led by a panel of senior-level executive search consultants from some of the world’s leading executive search firms. Click here to find out more.

The Ultimate Executive Career Guide: Compensation Negotiation

As a senior-level executive, you can use this guide to:

- Figure out your compensation value
- Navigate compensation questions during interviews
- Strategize how you counter and accept employment offers
- Negotiate a pay raise from your current employer
- And more!

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About the author

This article was written by Lisa Marsh, Marketing Manager at the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC).
 

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants

Since 1959, the AESC has set the standard for quality and ethics in executive search and leadership consulting worldwide. Because AESC members must commit and adhere to the AESC's industry and government recognized Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, clients can be assured that AESC members are able to serve as trusted advisors for their most important engagements. As the voice for executive search and leadership consulting worldwide, today the AESC is comprised of more than 350 member firms, representing 8,000 executive search professionals in 75 countries. To learn more about the AESC and its membership, visit www.aesc.org.

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