How to Get the Best IT Salary

By Robert Half on June 27, 2017 at 3:19pm

You’ve completed the interview process and decided that this is the right job for you. The position is a great match for your skills and the work environment is exactly what you want. Now it’s time to negotiate your IT salary.

Before beginning a salary negotiation, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the objectives on both sides. Your goal should be to negotiate a fair, market-based compensation package that's competitive based on the unique combination of skills and expertise you bring to the new role, while maximizing your starting IT salary.

Use our Salary Calculator to find the IT salary range for your position and area.

Your potential employer’s objective should also be to negotiate a fair, market-based compensation package for your skill sets while being a good financial steward of company resources. In the best case scenario, both parties want the same outcome -- a salary negotiation that results in a win for everyone. 

How do you achieve that goal? Here are five salary negotiation tips to help you get the IT salary you want:

  1. Conduct your market research. Prior to your salary negotiation discussion, do your homework so that your salary requests are based on actual market data. Review salaries posted on current online job postings as well as reputable salary guides from industry experts. Your research is critical to your effectiveness and credibility in the salary negotiation process.
  2. Understand the landscape. While outside research is always valuable in the negotiation process, understand that there are equally important data points to consider based on the company’s budget for the role, IT salary of the previous candidate in this (or a similar) role, and an understanding of how much flexibility the hiring manager has in salary negotiations.
  3. IT salary is only one aspect of compensation. While starting salary is an important component of the overall compensation package, it’s not the only one. A successful salary negotiation should include a comprehensive view of the total package and an understanding that while there may be IT salary negotiation limitations, there also may be flexibility in negotiating time off, flexible work schedules or telecommuting options. Even if you can’t negotiate a higher starting salary, you may be able to get an extra vacation week, for example.
  4. Take emotion out of the equation. Negotiating your starting salary can become personal. Resist the temptation to dig in your heels or become emotional or defensive. Nothing can make a positive situation (like accepting a new, exciting job) turn south faster than an intense and frustrating conversation around the IT salary. Keep the conversation professional while remaining open-minded to the hiring manager’s perspective and potential limitations of their flexibility. Don’t let pride or inflexibility on your part prohibit you from getting the job!
  5. Set the stage for a future review. If you don’t get exactly what you wanted in the initial salary negotiation, set the stage for a potential compensation review in the future. Maybe the offer is a bit lighter than your original expectation. Rather than dismiss it, inquire about the possibility of a time-bound review. For example, if you accept this offer, can you both agree to review your IT salary in six months and potentially increase it based on the quality of the work demonstrated throughout that time period? Get the agreement in writing.

Good luck trying these IT salary negotiation tips. Check out this post on the keys to a successful negotiation from the employer’s perspective so you know what an IT hiring manager is considering when negotiating starting salary with you.

Get an overview of IT hiring trends right now, as well as information on more than 75 IT jobs in our Salary Guide.

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Note: This post has been updated. It originally appeared on 11/16/16.

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