It is that time of year again.

You have your annual salary review with your Manager. However, a lot of people do not prepare for their reviews and walk into the meeting cold with no plan or strategy. As experienced recruiters, we have helped hundreds of candidates negotiate their offers over the years. As such, we have a lot of experience when it comes to negotiating salaries. Here are some strategies you can use during your next salary review.


Be Non-Combative

This may be common sense to a lot of people. However, common sense does not always lead to common action. You want to make your salary negotiations as friendly and non-combative as possible. Start off by telling your employer how much you enjoy working there and you hope to continue working for them going forward. Always be polite and thank your employer for any salary increase they make.


Emphasise Your Value

The Salary Review is a good time to remind your employer of some of your key achievements over the past year. Have 3-5 examples of your work, where you have earned praise by your manager, peers or clients. It is hard to argue with numbers; so make sure to include some quantitative data. For example, perhaps you exceeded your budget by 50%. Also, try to highlight how your achievements benefited the company. Going back to the above example, by exceeding your budget by 50% you generated an additional $200,000 in revenue of the company which allowed your team to hit its annual target.


Do Your Research

Find out what the market is paying for people with your level of experience in your industry. For example, if you are a lawyer in Sydney with 3 years of post-admission experience at a top-tier firm, find out what other lawyers with a similar experience are getting paid. You can find this information out by looking at various salary guides or talking to an experienced Recruiter.


Have a Specific Number in Mind

When you do your research, you will likely find that there is a salary range at your level. For example, a 3 year lawyer at a top-tier law firm in Sydney could be earning anywhere from $120,000-$140,000 incl super. However, never present your employer with a range because they may end up picking the lower end of the range. Instead, have a specific number that you are happy with and present that number to your employer during the salary review.


Determine Your BATNA

Prior to the meeting, you need to determine your BATNA (Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement). In the case of a private practice lawyer, your BATNA would be getting another job with a higher salary. This could be at a competitor law firm in Australia, an in-house legal role or an overseas law firm role. Depending on your experience level and practice area, there likely will be a number of viable alternative jobs. You can find this information by looking at online job boards, law firm career pages or talking to a Recruiter. The stronger your BATNA, then the more bullish you can be in your salary negotiations and you can push for the higher end of the salary range.


Think Outside the Box

Let’s say you follow all of the above suggestions, but you do not get a salary increase that you are happy with. It is time to think outside the box. Start off by asking for a bonus, which could make up for the difference in salary which you wanted. I would recommend starting off by asking for a guaranteed bonus that is paid bi-annually or annually. If this is not accepted, then ask for a bonus that is conditional upon you hitting certain KPI’s or milestones that are agreed upon by you and your manager.

If you want to get very creative, you can tiers to your bonus where if you hit certain milestones it will be X but if you exceed that and hit additional milestones, then it will be X plus an extra 10%.

You can, also, ask for an additional salary review after 6 months. Again, this could be guaranteed outright or conditional upon you hitting certain KPI’s.

Ask your employer for any additional increased benefits that they could offer. This could be discounts on health insurance, additional paid annual leave, payment of educational courses, a parking spot, etc…


If you would like to have a confidential chat about salary negotiations, then contact Najeeb Nawab at Eaton Search on 0401 803 700 or