How companies think you should negotiate your remote salary with them in 2020

Salary negotiation has always been the “moment of truth” when interviewing for a new job. How many times have you been low balled after 5 interviews and 2 months invested in the hiring process?

With the pandemic and recent news on remote work, the rules of negotiating salaries have been turned upside down and we’re all left wondering what the best strategies are when the conditions of work have changed so much. 

At Wanted, there is no wiggle room as companies commit to salary first, no matter whether you’re working remotely or from an office. But for those who still need to negotiate their salaries, we’ve asked companies to tell us how they can maintain their bargaining power while working remotely in 2020. 

Cost-of-living influences salary but doesn’t define it. 

It’s well known that salaries in bigger cities are higher, you will be probably always paid more in cities like New York  than say Paris, Texas or other more rural places. However companies pay the “cost of labor” in a location, but rarely the “cost of living”, which effectively means that even if you’re earning more in New York City -- you may not have the same living standards as someone earning less but living in a cheaper place.

This “logic” won’t be changing drastically in 2020 and even if remote work will become a new paradigm your cost of living won’t define your salary. Sarah Franklin, cofounder of Blue Tree AI confirms: “you may want to consider the cost of living of where your potential employee lives. [...] That being said, we base salary on the job requirements and the level of expertise for the individual we are hiring. Our pay is a set range regardless of where our remote employee lives, however offering a salary at the higher range of your scale for those who live in a higher cost of living could secure the hire.”

And let’s not forget that packages can include other monetary compensation than fixed salary, such as bonuses, work incentives etc. Based on your job, it can sometimes be easier to negotiate those variable elements, “you will have far more joy in negotiating them (personal bonus etc) if you are in a role that directly impacts P&L, so sales people will have a much easier time negotiating personal bonus targets” tells Ajmal Dar, founder of Mocassin Guru

If you don’t know where to start you can figure out the minimum salary you’ll need to maintain your living standards with the Relocation calculator. Simply enter your current salary, city where you live and the city you’re moving to and the tool will provide you with the base salary that ensures you keep the lifestyle you are used to. 

Remote work can sometimes be an advantage. Research and prepare your arguments. 

Working from home shouldn’t mean sacrificing the salary that you deserve.” says Jon Hill, CEO & Chairman of the recruiting firm The Energists, “Remote work has benefits for the company, as well, and your work is equally valuable no matter where you work from. Avoid the temptation to accept less pay because you have more flexibility. It doesn’t have to be one or the other.”  

Hill recommends using facts and statistics about the benefits of remote work to be used at your advantage. “it’s been documented that employees are even more productive when working from home than they are in an office. Find those studies and know the numbers. This will give you a stronger platform for your argument that you deserve higher pay”.

Most importantly: Know your worth and don’t lowball yourself. 

Too many candidates walk into salary negotiations with no idea what they should make.” confirms Jon, CEO & Chairman of the recruiting firm The Energists. “Figure out where you should fall in the spectrum for your job based on your skills and experience. This is the only way to know how much you should ask for and whether the company’s offer is fair.”

Researching should be your priority number one. You should be looking at your industry, job field, location, etc. You can also research competition to see what their rates are. “Check where some of their immediate competitors are located and what remuneration they are giving their employees.” tells Abigail Dodwell, HR Director at Haro Helpers, “use LinkedIn  to check if you have any connections working at the company, if so you could reach out to them to ascertain if they know what they are paying employees for that role currently.” 

To tell “I've liaised with a few people in similar roles/companies and cross-referenced employee pay databases and the benchmark for this position is valued at 45-50k is better than saying Glassdoor said you should be paying me 50k” Dodwell concludes. 

Kenny Trinh, managing editor of Netbooknews recommends job seekers to prepare themselves to what they want, are ready to accept and to not accept. “those are the 3 numbers you need to know yourself.. It’s the Goldilocks combo:

a. Highest/ideal target salary that will guarantee acceptance and refusal of the counter.

b. Median/average salary you know you can get.

And c. The no-go number, aka don’t waste my time or I can’t live on less than X.
Be proactive and voice your needs and your views when it comes to money. Keep the door open but give a solid range

 And if the responsibility of the job seekers is to know their worth, the companies also need to provide the maximum details about the position. “The best way to negotiate a salary when hiring remotely is transparency” says Michael D.Brown, Director of  Fresh Results Institute. For a company to clearly communicate scope of responsibility, working hours or expectations should be systematic for the remote worker to fully understand what the salary for the position should be. “That’s because you can just state hours and miss out on the creative energy or technical sophistication of the job such that the employee starts feeling dissatisfied with the pay when they fully see what the job entails.” Brown states.

Last thoughts ...


And remember, although the pandemic has been disastrous for the job market and has added a layer of stress for job seekers, unless you're desperate for work, walking away is always OK. ”The amount of remote work jobs out there most of the time is tremendous, and you should rarely expect a job significantly below what you think you're worth. Plus, walking away isn't always the end of things. If the prospective client reviews things once you've called it a day, they may come back with another offer.” tells David Bakke, Contributor at National Air Warehouse.