8 Tips for Salary Negotiations for Project Management Professionals

8 Tips for Salary Negotiations for Project Management Professionals

Nearly 47 million people resigned from their jobs last year. As a result, academics and many media publications have acknowledged this era as "The Great Resignation."

If you're a mid or late-career project management professional, you may be thinking about either switching positions or requesting a salary increase.

Negotiating your salary can feel like a tense and stressful activity. However, it's possible to reframe this process to one that you know benefits you.

If you're concerned about the salary negotiation process and need some help coming out on top, check out these tips for how to effectively negotiate your salary:

Do The Research

Whether you're preparing to start a new job or want to ask for a raise, it's essential to do your homework so that you know what to ask for. Today, websites like Payscale.com, Salary.com, and Glassdoor can give you the information you need to put yourself in a great position to negotiate from.

You can research the standard salary for your industry on those sites by including factors like education level, years of experience, skills, and location in your search. From there, you can feel confident that you're walking into a salary negotiation with the knowledge you need to ask for what you're worth.

Offer a Salary Range

You want to ensure you're giving yourself and the company some wiggle room when you're offering a potential salary. You may be tempted to offer one number based on your research, but it can be helpful to provide a salary range instead.

Any negotiation aims to come to a mutually beneficial solution so that both parties feel like they are walking away with what they want.

Offering a range makes it easier to come to a salary number that both of you can agree on. Again, researching salaries that correspond to your job, location, education, and skill level will give you the information you need to create a reasonable range for negotiations.

Be Confident in What You Bring to the Table

Again, it can be daunting to ask for more money, especially if you're new to negotiations. However, remember that you have valuable skills, talents, and ideas to bring to the company. Your manager, team members, and the entire company will benefit from your knowledge, and you want to make sure you're putting a fair market value on the skills you have.

It's crucial that you treat your qualities and skills like any other product. You want to price them for what they are accurately, and whatever the value is, you should feel confident in asking for compensation for them.

Write Out What You Want to Say Ahead of Time

Nerves can wipe out anything you want to say in an anxious moment, like salary negotiation. The last thing you want to do is walk into negotiations and forget everything you wanted to say. A way to overcome this is by preparing your statements ahead of time. Organize all the research you did, the arguments for why a raise or a specific salary range makes sense, and any additional points before entering the conversation.

Also, make a point to practice what you want to say, as it's easy to get swept up with nerves, and practicing can help you overcome these feelings. Additionally, practicing what you want to say can help you notice if you need to alter any wording or change your approach before you have the conversation.

If you want to get someone else's perspective, practice what you want to say with a family, friend, or mentor, as they can also point out any issues they see with your argument.

Realize That Negotiations Do Work

It's possible that you already feel like the company will reject your negotiation and see you as difficult for asking — which can impact your confidence in negotiating.

Nevertheless, the stats show that you're more likely to come away with what you're asking for than you think. Research of 149 newly hired employees indicated that those who negotiated saw an average salary increase of $5,000 .

Also, don't forget to be flexible. While the goal may be to increase your salary, be open to other benefits like remote work, flexible scheduling, or more vacation time.

Negotiations can and do work, so don't count them out.

Listen for Ways You to Show You're An Asset

During the interview or around the office — if you already work at the company — you can pick up valuable information that can help you make an even more compelling argument for a salary increase.

For example, maybe the interviewer mentioned that they are working on a new project that perfectly aligns with your skills, or you've heard from your manager that your project management leadership skills have already benefited the company significantly.

You can use this information to your advantage as you discuss your salary. Point to ways that you can be or have benefited the organization. Also, if you have previous experience from a former employer that you can connect to what the company needs, bring attention to this.

Your main objective should be to show why it benefits the company to pay you more, and having the right conversations can help. Harvard’s Program on Negotiation staff mentioned some tips for negotiation they had put together, and “sharing information and asking the right questions,” was on their list. Always remember that the salary negotiation is a two-way conversation, so discuss your experience, but always listen for what you can offer.

Ask the Right Questions

You can strengthen your position of salary negotiations by understanding how the company does negotiations. Learn more about the hiring manager's viewpoint by asking about what factors they consider when giving pay raises, how often are promotions and pay raises reviewed, and any other questions you have about their compensation packages and approach to setting salaries.

The more information you have, the easier it'll be to prepare for these conversations and offer a compelling reason for why they should consider giving you a higher salary. It also gives you some insight into how to prepare for what to do if the next point happens...

Realize That a 'No' Isn't a Failure

If the company isn't able to offer you a higher salary by some chance, don't feel like you failed. You took the time to advocate for yourself, so you should feel proud of that. However, there are still some things you can do to benefit yourself.

Again, if money isn't an option, see if you can receive other perks or benefits. Also, talk with the hiring manager or your direct manager about re-evaluating salary negotiations within the next six months or one year. You've opened up these conversations, so use this opportunity to establish the next steps if a raise in salary isn't possible right now.

Also, take time to consider your position carefully. You may determine that you can be adequately compensated elsewhere — whether it's another salary offer if you're a potential new hire or a job at another company if you've already been hired on. If the other option meets your career goals, looking elsewhere could be better.

Salary Negotiations Don't Have to Be Agonizing

Negotiating for a higher salary doesn't have to be a scary process. While it may feel uncomfortable, it can be an opportunity for you and your company to understand one another and come to a mutually beneficial agreement.

As you begin to look at your options and prepare to either move up or move out of your company, the skill of negotiating salaries is going to become even more paramount.

If you do your research, listen for how you can be an asset, practice what you want to say, and go in with confidence, you can walk away with a favorable outcome.


Roughly 47 million people quit their jobs last year: ‘All of this is uncharted territory, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/02/01/roughly-47-million-people-quit-their-job-last-year.html

Salary Negotiation: How to Ask for a Higher Salary, https://www.pon.harvard.edu/daily/salary-negotiations/negotiating-for-a-higher-salary/

Who asks and who receives in salary negotiation, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/job.671