link.png Negotiating your salary? How to get that pay rise.← Back


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Aiming for a higher wage is a key stage in getting ahead in your career. It’s certainly not an easy task having to negotiate you salary, and it’s a move that needs to be approached with diplomacy and confidence. Ask for too little and you’re likely to undercut yourself, ask for too much and you could face rejection. So what’s the best tactic?
 
Research conducted at the Columbia Business School by social psychologists Daniel Ames and Malia Mason reveals the most effective way of negotiating your salary. The paper called "Tandem Anchoring: Informational and Politeness Effects of Range Offers in Social Exchange,” is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
 
Traditionally the most common approach would usually be to offer a point offer of a single number. The research considers a number of ways to negotiate a salary using range offers: a ‘backdown range offer’, a ‘bracketing range offer’ and a ‘bolstering range offer’.
 
The least effective method was the backdown range offer, where the negotiator might ask for a wage rise between 10% and 15%, when actually aiming for a 15% one. The bracketing range offer spans either side of the desired increase, for example with an offer of between 13% and 17%.
Ultimately, however the study found that the bolstering range offer was often the most effective technique: instead of asking for a 15% rise, the idea is to suggest a 15-20% increase. In conducting this study, Ames and Mason found that asking for a salary increase with a bolstering range offer can get the negotiator a better deal and didn’t seem to affect the relationship between both parties.
 
In a statement, Mason commented: "A good share of the time, people use backdown range offers and our work suggests that's unwise. But many people use bracketing or bolstering range offers and our research shows that they're onto something. Those range offers can draw out more accommodating responses from a counterpart."
 
One thing is clear: suggesting a range can be a less aggressive way of obtaining your desired salary than asking for a single number straight out. Furthermore, this research suggests that being ambitious  in your career by aiming slightly higher with your salary expectations (all whilst remaining realistic), can work to your advantage.