I received a new job offer but the salary is low. Should I make a counteroffer?
Probably. Getting paid less than you should when starting a new job can affect not only your current
paycheck but also your long-term asset
accumulation. For example, the less money you earn, the
less you have available to contribute to your retirement
plan, and potentially the lower the amount of
matching employer contributions you'll receive if they are offered.
In addition, because your current
salary is typically the benchmark for future pay increases and
bonuses (which are often expressed as a percentage
of your salary), the effect of a pay gap is cumulative.
Unless corrected, pay disparities may widen over the
course of your career. For example, a low starting salary at job #1 could serve as a benchmark for your salary at job #2, which could serve as a benchmark for your salary at job #3, and so on.
To determine whether the salary offer is competitive, research and compare salaries based on industry or company standards.
You can look at salary-related websites to get an
idea of a typical salary range for someone in the same
occupation, in your geographical location, with your education, experience, and skills.
If the salary offer is low, go back to the company and articulate your strengths. What skills and
qualities will you bring to the table? State the amount of money you want. Make it clear that if the company accepts your terms, you are willing and able to accept its offer immediately.
What happens next? There are three possible scenarios. First, the company might accept your counteroffer. Second, it may reject your counteroffer, either because company policy does not allow negotiation or the company is unwilling to move from its original offer. If so, you'll have to decide whether to accept the original offer. Third, the company may make you a second offer, typically a compromise between its first offer and your counteroffer. Again, the ball is back in your court. If you need time to evaluate the latest offer, ask for a day or two to think about it. If the company isn't able or willing to give you more money, it might be able to offer you job flexibility, such as telecommuting or flex scheduling, that might make up for the lack of a salary increase.