How To Negotiate Your Engineering Salary – 4 Effective Tips

Negotiate Your Engineering Salary

Negotiating your salary can be terrifying, especially if you have not done it before and have no idea where to start and what to say. What if you say something wrong and miss your chance of getting a raise? Luckily we have been working as engineers for a long time and have been through different salary negotiations; this post will give you all the tools you need to get the salary you deserve.

Salary negotiation takes skill and practice to argue why you deserve to be paid a specific salary, whether you are starting a new job or negotiating your current salary. It also requires an understanding of your market and what people pay for engineers in your position.

Negotiating your salary requires knowing several different techniques. Negotiating your salary when you start a new job differs from negotiating your salary in an existing job. Below, we have included those two senators with step-by-step instructions on how to negotiate and what to say. But first, you need to learn how much people in your position are paid in your industry.

Find The Salary You Deserve.

To negotiate your salary, you need to know what is the number you deserve. You do not want to ask for a high number above your position average which will sound over ambitious and will not be taken seriously by your bosses. Or, worst, you ask for a smaller number under the market average for your opposition, which means you will be underpaid.

What you need is to find a salary range for your position. This range is usually within 5% (Give or take). This can give you more confidence when negotiating your salary.

There are a few ways to determine the average of your engineering salary.

However, finding an average engineering salary is not always easy as not everyone is comfortable sharing how much they are getting paid on the internet.

The best thing to do to find the average salary for your position is to leverage all of the following tools to come up with a fair average. You can also check our Average Engineers Salary guide to see how much engineers are paid in different stages of their careers for all engineering fields.

1- Online salary sites

The following are a few sites that can give you an estimate of your salary. However, do not be surprised if you cannot find a lot of resources, as not everyone is willing to share how much they are getting paid. The following are some of the best tools to compare and find average engineers’ salaries:


2- Job listing

Job listings are an amazing way of finding how much is the salary average of the position you are looking to get into. Most job listings on websites such as seek or indeed have a salary range for the job posted.

3- HR department

You can establish relationships with some people in the HR department; they might be willing to show you the salary range of the position you are looking for.

4- Your co-workers

While salary discussion is encouraged between co-workers, it is not something you want to have casually with anyone in the office. If you have someone you can trust and who is willing to disclose each other salaries, it can help you tremendously when the time comes to negotiate your salary.

Negotiating New Job Salary

Negotiate Your Engineering Salary

When negotiating a new job salary, you need to have good insights into the average salary you are looking for. You need to get a few things right when negotiating a new job salary.

1- Avoid discussing salary until you get an offer

When going into a job interview, you should avoid discussing salary until you receive a job offer. In the interview, the interviewer will likely try to find out how much salary you are looking for; in any case, you should avoid giving any information, and if they insist, you should decline politely and say, “Is it okay if we discuss salary after I the job offer If my application is successful”.

This way, you will avoid any disadvantage if your requested salary exceeds what the employer is willing to pay. Also, you still keep an advantage over other candidates. Once you get a verbal job offer, you can begin to discuss salary.

If you are going into a job interview soon, you might want to check the Top 50+ Engineering Interview Questions With Answers.

2- Do not discuss salary by email

Discussing salary by email is a bad idea. You can not negotiate things over email, and it takes a while till you reach an agreement. The best way to discuss salary is by phone or face to face. This way, you can reach an agreement quickly.

3- What to do if the offer is low

Most employers will try to hire you for the below-average salary for your position, as many are not prepared to pay new employees a lot. If you are faced with this situation, you should explain that the average salary for your position is higher than the offer and politely decline their offer.

Typically when you are giving a counter offer, the offer should be your salary market average + 5% more. For example, if your average market salary for your position is $85,000, your counteroffer should be $90,000. This way, if the employer returns with a counteroffer, it will not be below the average.

So what to do if the employer comes back to you with a very low offer? Because you know the market average for your position, you should politely decline their offer and stand your ground, as there is no point in going for a job where you are underpaid.

4- What to do if they gave you a fair salary

If the employer gave you a fair value for your salary. In that case, it is up to you if you want to take the job or negotiate for a higher salary. It can also be tough to negotiate a higher salary as the employer knows exactly how much your position is worth.

Negotiate Existing Job Salary

Negotiate Your Engineering Salary

There are two situations when it comes to negotiating a salary in your existing position.

Negotiate your salary during the performance review

If you have not received any substantial pay raise in the last 1-2 years, you might be due for a fat pay rise. Companies run annual performance reviews for their employees to determine how they can maximise their output and discuss salary. There are three things you should be aware of:

1- Prepare a speech

Going into a performance review, you must prepare a speech about why you deserve a pay rise. You first need to reflect on your achievements in the company. These are things you are prowed of and have achieved in the last 12 months. Especially the things you did with minimal supervision that had outstanding results.

2- Show your potential

After discussing your achievements, you need to show your potential; these are things that you realise that you could be doing and can do. This shows your potential to take on more responsibility. This will help your employer realise your potential.

However, you should avoid boasting about your abilities; for example, you should not hint that you can now do your boss’s job but merely show that you can help them make their job easier by doing some tasks within your abilities.

3- Present your offer

When you give your offer, you should be reasonable. Most companies will accept a 5% -10% increase in annual salary for current employees, especially if they are in the same position, so be careful of asking for a ridiculous salary you do not deserve.

4- What to do if your offer was declined

Sometimes employers might refuse your offer, especially if you are getting a fair value for your salary. In that case, you should keep it professional and ask things such as, “What can I do to earn such a salary” This shows that you are trying to seek feedback on what you can do to improve yourself, which you can use that as a base to negotiate your salary next year if you were able to overperform the expectations.

Negotiate your salary during a promotion

If you are getting a promotion, you are moving up the ladder within your corporation. This also means that you are getting a fat pay rise. When getting a promotion, you have more advantage of asking for a higher salary because a promotion means you are a valued employee of the company.

1- Do not accept the position immediately

When you are given a promotion, you will also get a salary offer. Most employers will expect their employees to accept the position immediately; however, in your case, you should ask for time to think. This will give you more time to go back home and research the position’s salary.

The promotion usually happens suddenly, which means that you do not want to accept something you do not know much about, so best to politely ask for time to think and come back with a decision.

2- Present your offer

If the offer given to you was low. Your counteroffer should be the average market salary + 5%. If the offer presented to you has a fair value to you, your counter offer should still be the offered salary + 5% on top of the offer.

Since the employer has given you a promotion, it means they value you as an employer, and they do not want to lose you. This means that the odds are pretty much in your favour, so asking for more is the right move.

In any of the situations above, you should not be afraid to give a counteroffer; worst case, they reject it, but if they accept your offer, you get a pay rise.

Joseph Maloyan

Hi, this is Joseph, and I love writing about engineering and technology. Here I share my knowledge and experience on what it means to be an engineer. My goal is to make engineering relatable, understandable and fun!

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