Anything you can do, I can do better…


 Negotiation. It is a word that appears quite frequently when you’ve been offered a new job and negotiating a salary can be very overwhelming and quite challenging. When it comes to the interview process, this is usually when the dreaded discussion of salary emerges. I say ‘dreaded’ because, especially for women, it can be a little intimidating negotiating your worth to your future employer. It is also said that women are less likely to negotiate than men. So let’s show them guys that we can negotiate and get it right! Because anything they can do, we can sure try to do better.

How can you put a price on your skills and abilities without any guidance or support from the other end? This is where preparation comes into the question. Your new boss will sometimes withhold a figure in their mind but keep it from you, because it is most likely that they will be trying to save money.


It has also been found that 31% of women, who don’t negotiate their salary, choose not to because they feel uncomfortable to ask for more money. Is it all about the money though? What about extra days holiday, flexible hours, a yearly bonus, it doesn’t always have to be a figure increase. If you are unable to commit to that position that has been offered, without some extra support then express it! It is probably a lot worse to not express this, end up struggling and eventually find yourself having to leave the company, than it is with telling the truth.

So, it is time to think logically. You might be wanting a private jet and a higher salary but come on… I mean be realistic!

So follow these key steps to negotiate:

No. 1: Plan and prepare your case, don’t go into the discussion without knowing the limits.

No. 2: Define the ground rules, where, how and when will the negotiation take place?

No. 3: Clarify what has been said and justify negotiations. There is nothing worse than leaving the discussion thinking you have succeeded and you haven’t.

No.4: Try to bargain what has been offered, can you substitute a lesser increase in salary with an extra week of paid holiday instead?

No. 5: Now it is time to close the negotiation and make sure it is implemented. Try to get a new contract drafted and get both parties to sign it. Make it official!


If you go in strongly with your case and don’t be over the top with your needs, then you’ll be successful. Proving to the boys once and for all, you do have the guts to drive that negotiation meeting into your court.


Have a look at this handy video with negotiation tips: (Video from


19 thoughts on “Anything you can do, I can do better…

  1. charlie hislpp says:

    You left out one important thing. Join a Trade Union and get a professional to do it for you. You will save your subscriptions and way more every year in the benefits membership gives you – cheaper insurance and holiday deals, offers and discounts. Even if your union doesn’t have negotiating rights, it will advise you, defend you if you are harrassed, get sick, or are unfairly sacked.

    • paigehileypr says:

      I had never thought of that Charlie, thank you for bringing it up – it is probably because i was writing it in the mind of a soon to be graduate who will potentially have to negotiate my first salary with an employer. However, for future reference a trade union like you said can be very beneficial. It is always good to have someone their as an independent voice to help you along the way.

      • Charlie Hislop says:

        Showing my age – although when there was someone to help, work was a lot more structures, less casualised, better paid, (and an expectation that employers paid for job-related training rather than expecting everyone to do an unpaid internship ! We could do with some of that now!

        Yes I realised the graduate bit just as I pressed the button. Understanding the size, structure you would be in, and the level of support/ level of responsibility is important in working out your pitch. Sometimes pitching a (very) slightly lower salary to start while expressing an aspiration to grow and take on more responsibility to achieve the level you want to get to in a few months, when it comes up at job interviews, is more appealing to a potential employer because they get a good initial financial deal to close the recruitment, may give you an edge in consideration and gives off an ‘I want to grow here’ vibe, and probably paint you as a thinking realist.
        Good post, Paige
        (and remind me to spellcheck when i type my name quickly 😉

  2. Richard Bailey says:

    Good for you.

    I admire this post a lot and it chimes with a separate conversation I was just having about the possible reasons for a continuing gender pay gap in PR.

    I’ll share it with my correspondent (a prominent female public relations academic and writer).

    • paigehileypr says:

      Thank you Richard! I am glad you like the blog post!! It was written because a lot of the jobs i’m applying for at the moment say ‘salary = negotiable’ – it is very daunting but with the research I have done and the advice everyone has given me I think I will have the skills now to be able to do a good job.

    • Heather Yaxley says:

      Page/Richard – I am said ‘correspondent’ and have just written a post at PR Conversations where I linked also to this post:

      The issue you raise is an important one and you are right about the value of being informed. Confidence is a key selling asset both in the negotiation stage, and in getting a job itself. Having the confidence also to turn a job down is equally important. Good talent is actually hard to come by even though there are plenty of job seekers – so don’t settle for the first job.

      When I used to do a lot of recruitment in a PR consultancy, what I tended to find was that if you asked a candidate what salary they were looking for, 9 times out of 10 it wasn’t far removed from the figure we had in mind. The benefits of being able to meet someone’s hopes included great motivation and were worth it compared to someone accepting a job but having an eye out elsewhere for a better salary package.

      • paigehileypr says:

        Hi Heather,

        Thanks so much for your comment and linking my blog post into yours. Appreciate the support, as I too believe it is an issue that effects a lot of people especially women nowadays. Support and advice needs to be in place for soon to be graduates like myself and I’m lucky to be within a university who provides that support. Not a lot of people have that.

        You are right and thank you for sharing your experience with me. It is daunting having to negotiate your worth…

        Great to see your support on the matter.


  3. Richard Bailey says:

    To add one thought to the discussion: money isn’t necessarily the most important factor in an early-career opportunity.

    It might be better to choose an organisation that offered better training and development opportunities than one that offered a higher salary but less support.

    So negotiations don’t only happen with one employer; they take place in the choices we make between sectors and specialisms.

    Many of us become self-employed and so by definition we are negotiating with ourselves. At this point you need to know if your main goal is money, or work-life balance, or interest and variety, or opportunities to develop.

    There are multiple decisions we have to negotiate.

    • paigehileypr says:

      I completely agree – if the company looks like a temporary situation with a quick turn over of staff, it could potentially be not as good at developing your employment skills and pushing you up the ladder within the company than say an in-house position with the potential to move from a junior exec role to an account exec role. All great advice, so thank you again Richard.

  4. Steve says:

    Nicely put Paige.
    To me, it’s about understanding what you what out of life and a career at that point in time (as it will change over the course of your career). You are very right about understanding, as best you can, what you and the job is worth and to base the negotiations of your ‘package’ around this.

    I think both you and Richard have it right as well in that pay/salary should not be the be all and end all of any negotiated. You have to look at the overall packages worth to you and your long term career path. Life balance, training and career opportunities should be taken very much into the overall negotiation.

    It is also worth noting that negotiation skills are not just used in negotiation your contract, they are used every day, both inside and outside of the company, with work colleagues, friends, family and ever total strangers, about just about everything we what, need to do, or what other to do for us. So, it is a skill you can practice.

    You need to learn:
    • When you have the upper/winning hand
    • When to back down or not push
    • Not to negotiate yourself into a corner that leave you no room to manoeuvre
    • And also when to ‘walk away’.

    Negotiation, the one skill we use all day, every day, but still the hardest to learn!

    • paigehileypr says:

      Hi Steve, Thank you for your comment. Great advice and I’m glad you liked my blog post. You are right about understanding your limits and knowing when to back down and not push too far. I think some graduates going into their first job role see it as an opportunity to get the most financially out of the company but like you said you need to know your limits; especially if you are a graduate with little work experience. I think I would be satisfied if the company would be able to compromise, not necessarily provide an increase in salary but like you said the opportunity to develop your role – as those skills and training can easily see you moving up the employment ladder at the company fast – resulting in a pay rise.

  5. Dave Sillett says:

    Interesting stuff – well done. I agree with the comments that other people have made but a few thoughts come to mind.

    1) Make sure you don’t waste any negotiating points – for example if you are dealing with a small organization it may well be possible to come up with a special deal on vacations but for sure this is unlikely in the corporate world. So if you try to trade salary against something outside of the gift of the other party you weaken your position

    2) Other people have said make sure you are aware of the ground rules – you can also discuss these at the negotiating table – consider such questions as:-

    “what is the pay RANGE for the job” – if answered this can give you a good gauge as to how you are seen against others and may give you fuel for negotiation

    “is there opportunity for advancement of position and/or salary available and how would you see this over the short to medium term” – gives a chance to discuss what you need to do to gain more even if starting low (so you get a longer term value of the job versus a snapshot)

    3) Leave money as the last thing being discussed – try to become indispensable before the salary word is uttered – has several effects – you don’t look desperate for money and you talk about content (hopefully about which you are comfortable) before giving it a value.

    Good luck!!

    • paigehileypr says:

      Hi Dave, Thank you for taking time out and commenting on my blog post – you have brought up some interesting things that will help me when negotiating. I particularly agree with the ‘leave money as the last thing being discussed’ part, because I feel you need to show them why they could increase your pay and not just ask for it; show them your worth!

      Thanks again!!

  6. JMAC says:

    Some things are not negotiable. My dog needs feeding at 6 every evening and offering him more at 6.30 does not stop him barking.

    Whilst you might have room to negotiate your very first salary with a new employer do not expect that every year. Most people who do real jobs are paid for their performance and increments are limited to what the company can afford.

    Unions have their uses, look at how useful the miners unions were to a government that had decided to get out of the coal industry. Look at how our ship building industry thrives because the unions collaborated with owners to maintain high standards and a competitive advantage over Germany and the far east. Think of the union that negotiated rights for workers to sleep through the night shift at Ford’s at Halewood, actually they did not negotiate that, they organised a strike because the management suggested that sleeping instead of bodging cars together was not such a good idea.

    You know you have been successful in a negotiation if you are satisfied with the outcome and so is the other party. You both might have secured more but at the other’s expense, and that is not negotiation.

    • paigehileypr says:

      Thank you for your comment and advice, it is good to see other peoples opinions on negotiation! You make some interesting points. Especially the whole win-win situation that you have mentioned! Some people might disagree with that and say that for someone to win, their must be a loser of some sort. Put you do pull up some interesting points.

  7. Bill says:

    Good posting Paige and a lot of good comments/observations.
    A lot of jobs state a salary range, which tends to suggest they have a wage scale linked to qualification/experience. In some industries you can find out what the going rate should be is by having a chat with a recruitment/employment agency that operates within this sector by having a general discussion over the phone and politely decline having an interview with them – inform them you are just enquiring what they potentially could do for you. Another area is comparing competitor company websites on the packages on offer – as you have stated, forearmed provides a much stronger negotiating position. And lastly, never be afraid to ask the awkward questions around the remuneration package, remember they are also there to sell the company/position to you.

    • paigehileypr says:

      Hi Bill, Thank you for your kind words. Your advice is great as well, I had never really thought about asking an agency for a salary range but I guess that is probably a great place to go as they see employment opportunities daily and can tell the going rate for any profession. Thanks again!

  8. catherinesweet says:

    I won’t cover ground already covered by others, but two things spring to mind. You are at your most powerful in terms of negotiating just after they have offered you a job. Then you can ask for something and as long as it is doable, they are likely to say “yes”. But salary isn’t everything- sometimes, it’s better to ask about how long it took for the last hire they made at the level you have been offered to get a promotion. You can put yourself on a “fast track” if you push for a review earlier than they might “normally” do.

    The other thing not mentioned above is asking for them to cover your CIPR membership, and to encourage/support your CPD with the CIPR. That can mean a big difference in your future earning with them (and others) as well as show your professionalism.

    Once you are inside a company, these tactics are harder. But, showing that you have another job offer at a higher salary can be very useful. I’ve done that on a number of occasions- show them that you are aware of your market worth in the most concrete way possible.

    • paigehileypr says:

      Hi Catherine,

      Great advice! Thanks so much for sharing your experience. You are right, money isn’t everything and for graduates, having an early review is quite a good thing to negotiate; especially if you have been offered an internship and are eager to get yourself that secure job sooner rather than later.

      I had never personally thought about asking them to cover your CIPR membership! I will take that onboard.


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