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You have probably accepted at least a few job offers by this point in your career, but how often have you negotiated for a higher salary before taking the job? If your answer is “not often” or “never,” you’re not alone. Negotiating is tricky, and how much difference can that extra few thousand dollars make, anyway? The answer is, a hefty difference. According to one study, assuming an average annual pay increase of 5 percent, an employee whose starting yearly salary was $55,000 rather than $50,000 would earn an additional $600,000 or more over the course of a forty-year career. So clearly, it’s worth negotiating, every time—even when you’re switching careers.

Recently, during an evening with friends at the local club, the topic of compensation negotiation emerged as a dominant theme amidst discussions on various topics. It got me thinking and based on an analysis of various pieces of advice doled out by others over the years, and my own research, here’s a dossier on this important aspect of our corporate lives:

Ask! Are you aware that barely one-third of candidates even negotiate? And less than half of internal candidates talk about raises during annual appraisals? While people may have their own inhibitions for not doing so, it’s important to remember the old adage that you miss 100% of the shots you do not take!

It has been reported by Forbes that executives who changed jobs last year increased the amount of compensation they received by 17 percent. But it is not always necessary for executives to change jobs in order to fulfil their compensation goals.

It is not uncommon for executives to love the job that they are in, but feel that they are underpaid and could make a lot more money somewhere else. In fact, a reported 65 percent of the working population feels the same, according to a survey conducted by Salary.com.

At today’s Annual Meetings of public corporations across the United States, the media, investors, and stockholders have placed executive pay and compensation practices under their microscopes. As executive compensation and incentive plans continue to command attention, the SEC, IRS and the US Congress each have created new disclosure rules and regulations. It is imperative that HR professionals, compensation specialists, and corporate counsel be aware of the upcoming series of SEC and stock exchange listing requirements affecting how compensation committees approach pay practices.

It’s a fact that salaries haven’t kept pace with inflation. While the economy seems to be recovering from the slump over the past years, employers are still very cautious when it comes to executive salary increases.  When you are ready to ask for a raise, the best position to be in is one of power. Leveraging your resources such as professional accomplishments, personal and professional network, industry expertise, and more could put you in a much better position when negotiating your salary.

Region

Recently, a colleague of mine who I will call “John” successfully negotiated a highly favorable executive relocation and compensation increase from his Fortune 100 technology and communication company who wanted him and his family to move to Singapore. In a global economy that continues to send mixed signals into the market where heightened expense pressures, elongated recruiting processes, and tighter access to jobs within corporations are juxtaposed with seemingly improved consumer spending and confidence, John secured everything he wanted to maximize his personal reward. I asked him to explain his strategy and I am pleased to share his top four recommendations as best practices.

BlueSteps hosted the #ExecCareer Chat: Negotiating Executive Compensation, featuring Tom Fuller, from Epsen Fuller Group.
 
Some of the questions asked included:

Anything that affects your confidence level negatively in negotiations is going to cost you and that’s just a fact. And while it certainly may be difficult to keep your confidence (and chin) up in an economy that’s this down, there are still always some things working in your favor. I’m going to explain one of them, a technique I call the lockdown maneuver.