In Austria it is still true: People don't like to talk about their salary. Let's be honest: When was the last time you talked to acquaintances about what you earn? In this country, money is still a topic of conversation that makes many people uncomfortable.
In 2017, the job portal StepStone published a study asking about salary satisfaction in Austria among around 1,000 employees between the ages of 20 and 55. Almost one fifth of all respondents are rather dissatisfied with their salary. Among younger employees, dissatisfaction is even higher.
As a consequence, a change of job is usually considered. This tendency has been strengthened by increasing globalisation and networking as well as a development towards stronger fluctuation. According to the report of the Public Employment Service, this averaged 50 per cent in Austria in 2019.
In most cases, before a salary negotiation even takes place in an employment relationship, you need to be proactive. But how often is it common to ask for a salary discussion? The rule of thumb is that negotiating salary once a year is fine. If you are new to the job, this question is unnecessary for the first salary negotiation anyway.
We'll show you what to look out for when preparing for the interview and at the appointment itself.
1. WAIT FOR THE APPROPRIATE TIME
Not every moment is the right one for salary negotiations. Of course, if you're just starting out in your job or you're changing jobs, you can't necessarily choose the right time for the interview. But if you are looking for a salary increase, the timing is important.
For example, you should not confront your superior during a stressful phase. Better: You were instrumental in the success of a project that has just been completed? Perfect timing! This way, both parties go into the interview with a good feeling.
2. PREPARE YOURSELF AND YOUR ARGUMENTS IN DETAIL
The be-all and end-all in the run-up to a salary negotiation is preparation. What have you achieved, what qualifications do you have, what are you particularly good at? In the existing employment relationship, you should have successful projects and your value for the company in your luggage. If you can also show concrete success figures, it is of course even better.
3. KNOW YOUR VALUE
There are now various portals and websites that show you exactly how much you can earn in which job, where and in which position. We at Schulmeister Consulting can also show you what salary is possible at which point in your career.
So before you go into the salary discussion - especially when you are just starting out - know your value. This way you can better determine what is an appropriate salary for your job and your performance. StepStone has developed a little helper for this: With the salary calculator, you can find out approximately how much you can ask for
4. DON'T BE AFRAID AND BE CONFIDENT
Easier said than done: Be self-confident and get rid of the nervousness before the salary interview. The more you get into these situations, the more experienced you will become. Realise that it is a normal situation for the person on the other side of the table and go into the negotiation relaxed and with the necessary amount of self-confidence.
After all, you have nothing to lose. Especially in times of a shortage of skilled workers, talented employees are desperately needed.
5. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR RHETORIC
There are lots of rhetorical tricks you can use in a salary interview. The first tip is to avoid the term "salary increase". It sounds demanding - the word "salary adjustment", on the other hand, triggers a feeling of appropriateness.
Also, try to elicit a "yes" from your counterpart as often as possible before you get to the all-important salary question. Also, stay calm and don't speak too quickly. This is how you radiate confidence and that you know what you want.
6. SET THE FIRST ANCHOR
Once you have received a few affirmations and the small talk is coming to an end, it's time to get down to business. Take the initiative and set the first anchor in front of your boss when it comes to the amount of your desired salary.
7. THINK CAREFULLY ABOUT THE NUMBERS YOU NAME (H3)
It has been psychologically proven that a high, not entirely serious anchor - for example 250,000 euros for a job as a junior IT consultant - works. It's important to mention such a high figure casually and in small talk.
Remember one of the first tips? Know your value. It's rarely a round number. Demonstrate with an exact figure, for example 42,460 euros, that you have given it a lot of thought and researched it online.
8. DO NOT ACCEPT THE FIRST COUNTEROFFER
Normally, your counterpart will now come up with an initial salary proposal. This is often far below what you have in mind. Important: If the other party counters your first figure with another, significantly lower offer, stay cool.
Tip: Do not accept the first numerical counterattack offer that comes your way. The negotiation really starts now. Most of the time it will not go back and forth like a bazaar. However, stand firm and do not jump too far in the direction of the other side's proposal.
9. BE FLEXIBLE
There is no salary increase or your demand for the desired starting salary is not met? It happens. But stay flexible. What about tax-free meal allowances, special leave, flexible working, travel allowances and other benefits for you? Your counterpart will usually agree to some of these.
10. PRACTISE TALKING IN PRIVATE
The last tip is one that always helps: practice, practice, practice. If you are unsure about how to approach the salary negotiation, talk it over with friends, your partner or other confidants. Simulate different conversation scenarios so you are prepared for all eventualities.