Ten Rules for Negotiating IT Pay

Tech pros are sometimes underpaid because they don’t know how to negotiate with management. Here’s the quick guide.


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All too frequently IT professionals are prepared to accept what they are offered as a starting contracting rate, salary or annual increase on blind faith. The reason? This varies from not having the confidence to lacking the skills and not putting in much time preparing for what is effectively a negotiation.

So if you know you're worth more then why not ask for more? Negotiate!

Not sure how? We've prepared 10 point cheat sheet designed especially for IT professionals to help smooth your way to being paid your true worth.

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1.) Always be prepared to negotiate. By Simply being ready to negotiate any aspect of your job you've already elevated yourself higher in comparison to the majority of your competition. An assessment, conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, revealed that 80% of employers were prepared to engage in negotiations over wage and entitlement issues. From what we've seen, the remaining 20% of employers who were not willing to negotiate were uninviting as employers, started with their highest wage and benefits proposal, or had to reconsider their position with the preferred candidate later on. Conversely, this assessment revealed that only 33% of job applicants expressed willingness or the confidence to negotiate with a prospective employer.

2.) Be confident and ambitious. Have you raised the bar high enough? In today's competitive workforce, the majority of IT workers don't do so. Recruiters and companies usually make a proposal, and as they wait for the candidate to make a counter offer, they are astonished by the applicant's timid compliance. The reason? Most IT professionals suffer from low aspirations.

Don't be afraid to ask for a higher salary. You will practically never risk losing the job or damaging your career trajectory by asking for more. We understand such an approach might first appear as an inconsistency, but consider the following: a prospective employer will be measuring your suitability based on how confident you appear. If several suitable applicants with comparable resumes are being judged by an employer, and you stand out by sticking your stake in higher salary ground, which one do you think they would prefer to entrust with a challenging project or responsibilities? Raising your aspiration signals your confidence, and confidence is rewarded with job offers and higher salaries.

3.) Request More. Senior Managers despise being wrong. When your manager has decided to employ you, they have a personal stake invested in the decision. If you succeed, your boss shines in the wake of your success. Were you to stumble and fail to perform, your boss is also tarnished. Nobody wants to back a loser, you are an asset that your employer will invest in. They have a vested interest to reward those employees they value, as this proves they backed the right candidate. See how this process works? The higher the wage you receive, the more likely you will be promoted. The only place for you to go is ever higher in the organization. The concept is nothing more than simple psychology, so use this approach to your advantage and make yourself stand out from the crowd.

Visit JupiterWeb's new site, IT Career Planet, for comprehensive news, advice and information on IT jobs, salaries and staff management issues.

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