Just like any other skill, salary negotiation takes preparation and practice. Whether you’ve just gotten a job offer or are preparing for an interview, understanding how to negotiate salary offers is a valuable skill to make sure you receive fair compensation for your labor.
While you may initially feel uncomfortable with the idea of discussing pay and demanding more, choosing not to negotiate can mean you’ll be starting from a lower baseline than your skills and experience are worth. This can impact your earning potential throughout the rest of your career. For example, if you accept a starting salary that is 10% below your expectations and the average U.S. annual salary increase is 3%; it could take over two years just to regain those earnings.
We’ll walk you through salary negotiation, beginning with research, so you can come out of your next interview or salary discussion feeling confident.
Understand Average Industry Pay for Manufacturing Careers
It’s important to begin salary negotiations with as much knowledge as possible to make a strong case for a pay increase. Start with a quick Google search to get an idea of what skilled professionals get paid on average for similar roles and levels of experience.
Then take it a step further. Individual salaries vary drastically depending on geographical location. Get a sense of what people with similar titles in your region are getting paid. Then factor in the cost of living. You can also get a sense of this information by networking with current or former colleagues. Other helpful resources include:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics – While it isn't the easiest site to navigate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has the most thorough and widest collection of wage and benefit data available publicly.
- PayScale – PayScale uses crowdsourced data and machine learning to provide salary ranges for many industries and roles. While some of their services cost money, you can search through much of their data for free.
- Salary.com – Salary.com collects worldwide, HR-reported compensation data and makes it easy to add filters to customize your salary search. They also provide the methodology for producing their salary numbers in a clean report.
- FactoryFix – FactoryFix has a career hub, which outlines the typical responsibilities and average salary for the most common careers in manufacturing. It’s a great resource for exploring different career paths to understand which one aligns with your interests and skills.
Remember Benefits are Negotiable, Too
Don't just focus on salary; benefits are important too. In fact, some employers may be more willing to offer extra vacation days, flexible hours, or work-from-home options as an alternative solution to a pay bump. Figure out what’s negotiable ahead of time, so you can focus on discussing which benefits are a priority to you.
If you’re weighing the options between multiple job offers, remember to directly compare health insurance coverage, retirement savings plans, and other benefits before you make a decision. Try not to make the mistake of negotiating each benefit separately. You should negotiate anything related to pay, bonuses, and stock options together. Then, once you have reached an agreement on those, move on to the softer requests like vacation time, flexible work, and job title specifics.
Make Your Case at the Job Interview
It’s not enough to counter an offer with a higher number. Even if your research supports the number you’d prefer, you need to explain why you feel you deserve to receive higher compensation. This is a great opportunity to highlight your strengths, previous accomplishments, and unique skill set. Your future employer should take away from the conversation what they stand to gain from having you join their team. But, be honest and try to strike a balance between selling yourself and overselling yourself.
If you’re still looking for your next opportunity in manufacturing, head over to our job board to find exciting opportunities, or start talking with our Career Coach. We can connect you to manufacturing jobs that fit your skills and expertise.
Ready to find your dream job? FactoryFix has the tools you need.