In this post I wanted to discuss what you need to do, for effective salary negotiation, after you receive a job offer in Singapore.
Don’t give the impression that you are accepting the offer right away. Thank the employer for making the offer and mention that you are excited about the possibility of working with the company. However, also state that you would like some time to think about the job offer, go over the details and discuss with your family. After that you will get back to them.
Go over the job offer letter a few times and ask a family member to do so as well. Make a note of key points and in case it’s not provided, make a list/table of the entire compensation package in one place. This should include base salary, possible bonus, allowances, perks and so on.
As a thumb rule, assume that the initial offer provided by most employers in Singapore is not the most they can give. There is usually up to 20-25% of an upside, depending on the company, industry and economic situation.
Fix a meeting (not a phone call) with the employer to discuss the offer. Don’t state explicitly that you want to engage in salary negotiation. Position it more as a discussion on the overall offer and an opportunity for you to ask them a few questions.
During the meeting start by asking any questions you have about the job offer. That serves as a good warm-up.
After that you can get to discussing the salary. Remember to think of it as a discussion and not a demand that you are making. That will help you project the right attitude and also make you more comfortable with the process. So don’t say something like “I want XYZ.” Instead say, “I wanted to discuss the possibility of increasing XYZ by X%.” Don’t ask, Discuss.
Try to keep your request short and sweet. Don’t go into verbose explanations of the reasons behind your request. Put the employer on the spot and let them do the talking. Silence and talking less are the best negotiation techniques.
In case the employer says No, try and understand the reason behind that. This will give you a better picture of their perspective and limitations, which can help you suggest/arrive at alternative solutions.
Speaking of alternative solutions, don’t limit your salary negotiation objective to getting a higher basic salary. Think of compensation in a broader sense, in terms of what you can get from an employer. Often employers in Singapore find it harder to budge on basic salary but it might be easier to give more bonus, allowances, insurance, perks, leave days, formal/external training and so on.
Amit is the Managing Partner at Sandbox Advisors and is an experienced career, business and HR professional. Previously, he has worked with organisations such as Bain & Company, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. Amit has advanced degrees/qualifications in Career Counselling, Organisational Psychology & HR, Occupational Psychometrics, Career/Life Coaching & Business.