Negotiate a Salary

Research salary data and review our list of tips before talking about your salary.


Salaries depend mainly on two things: the work and the geographical area. Most companies share salary data with each other. Also, your school's career services office may have stats on starting salaries from employers that have hired students from your school. They will generally know within a pretty narrow range what your offer should look like. Also, your local workforce commission can provide salary data for your area.

Here are some salary negotiation tips:

  • Don't prematurely discuss salary until you have a clear vision of the job description and requirements or until the hiring employer mentions the topic.
  • Make sure you research salaries before accepting any offer.
  • When asked, "What are your salary requirements?" Don't give a number. Tell the employer that you believe they will offer you a fair salary based on the job requirements and your skills.
  • Benefits count; include benefits when you're evaluating an offer (health insurance, 401K, special employee discounts, reimbursement for education expenses, etc.).
  • When you do go to negotiate, make sure you compile support for a negotiating position. Research similar positions and the starting salary for these positions, and use this knowledge in your negotiations.
  • Don't automatically accept any offer. Ask for at least 24 hours to review the offer and think about it.

Here are other documents located on AIE.org that you may be interested in: