Negotiating Your Worth

Negotiating Your Worth

Of course finding a job where the employer is willing to pay you a salary commensurate with your worth is often just the start.

You have to first evaluate yourself to know your worth

In the current employment market there are essentially two types of organizations looking to fill "highly specialized important roles such as CIO or CTO": those who see IT as a cost centre, and those who believe IT can add value. So if you want to get paid what you feel you are worth, says Chris Mead, general manager NSW for recruitment firm Hudson, seek positions with employers that see IT as a value add to the business that can differentiate and make the business money.

"The question I would ask any prospective CIO is [about] the reporting line: Does the CIO report through to the CFO, as is often the case, or does the CIO report through to the CEO or the MD? You are more likely to be seen to be of great value to the business and therefore be rewarded and remunerated better if the CEO or the MD of the organization sees IT adding value," Mead says. "If you are able to demonstrate [an ability to add value] convincingly to the CEO and you are one of her or his direct reports, then you are more likely to be paid your marketplace [value] or indeed above."

"The CIO is part of the executive management of any business and usually reports directly to the CEO," says one recruiter. "They would therefore expect to have a package commensurate with the other senior managers in the business, including bonus linked to their performance and executive share options."

Of course finding a job where the employer is willing to pay you a salary commensurate with your worth is often just the start. While many people find it hard to ask for more, chances are you will not get the salary you truly deserve unless you ask for it. That means finding a way to justify that amount, and then carefully constructing your case, experts say.

Start by knowing your worth. Check out the job market. Look at salary surveys. Query professional associations in your specialty. Read advertisements for comparable positions in the classifieds; peruse salary surveys online and in print. Find out the salary ranges of co-workers and colleagues in your department and other places in the company. Talk to human resources professionals. Research is vital because it increases your bargaining power during the hiring process.

"The salary and terms of CIO roles are very much taken on a case-by-case basis but can include profit share, milestones that are incentive-linked or a direct monetary reward," says another executive recruiter.

"Negotiations are best approached by offering the prospective employer a genuine value proposition through examples of success, where positive outcomes have been actively facilitated and achieved, and providing tangible examples of these scenarios. The key elements a prospective employer might examine would include where a candidate had saved time or money, made time or money, had proven extreme efficiency, maintained accountability, implemented a flagship operation and examples of the subsequent recognition."

Timing Is Everything

Experts agree that you are never more powerful than when you get a job offer.

"This is a power few people realize they have when they receive a job offer," Nick Corcodilos says in his book, Ask The Headhunter. "If you have used information effectively, and you proved you can do the job, the ultimate outcome of your job search will depend on how you exercise the power of the job offer. Don't feel excited or relieved that you've been offered the job; instead, use the power you have in areas like salary negotiation."

Successful salary negotiations also rely on knowing when to begin negotiations, says Michael Toohey, manager Career Services with Melbourne University's Melbourne Business School. Never start your negotiations before you have been offered the job, and if possible, avoid telling executive recruiters how much you are currently earning, he advises.

"How much you are on now has no relevance to any new job and should be avoided because it's a different situation. If you get forced into a corner, the way you answer that question is to say: 'This is what I am getting for this particular job, but I don't necessarily see that transferring to the job we're looking at here because it will be a different job.'

"If they try to force you into saying how much you are really looking for, never quote a salary figure or a remuneration figure or a package figure. Always give a range, because if you give a range you've got plenty of ways to move. So you might say: 'Just knowing what I know about the job so far, and this may change as they get more information, it looks to be between a range of between $150,000 and $200,000 for the package'," Toohey says.

"I'd be inclined to say: 'I'm looking to be compensated for the value I bring to the organization and the package can be structured in a variety of ways, and there can be an incentive component'," says Rob Rowe, lead consultant, DBM Consulting. "Depending on how risk averse the person is, I then encourage them to talk about that because being prepared to take on an incentive, a fairly sizeable incentive component, means you're prepared to back yourself, which is always well received.

"If you're pushed into it I would certainly give a range and I would say something like: 'From the conversation we've had it sounds to me like I should be at the upper end of that range but put something on the table and let me see the whole package'," Rowe says.

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