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How to write a salary negotiation email
The cost of living crisis means many of us are struggling to survive with our salaries. The solution? Negotiating a higher salary.
Salary negotiation emails aren’t easy to write, but they are essential if you want to increase your earnings (and who doesn't?). Typically, you’ll negotiate your salary when you accept a new job, but you can also attempt to get a raise when you get an internal promotion.
If you’re wondering how to negotiate a salary, we’ll break down the process for you into simple steps. We explain how to structure a salary negotiation email and how to present the best case for a pay rise.
To illustrate the principles, we provide 8 salary negotiation email templates. Next time you negotiate your salary via email, you’ll get more by following our advice!
If you need help, the fastest way to nail a professional tone, grammar and format is using Flowrite:
Why negotiate your salary?
So many jobs nowadays don’t advertise a salary. Instead, they say something like, “tell us your salary expectations.”
In other cases, they provide two figures – a lower and an upper figure. This means that the salary is negotiable, and you have leeway.
When the company makes you an offer, in most cases, they’ll try and pay you the lowest they can. There’s nothing wrong with that; they’re a business, after all. You need to know that, in most cases, there is some flexibility in the starting salary. But you’ll need to fight to get a raise.
Some people find salary negotiations to be complicated. They’re worried that the business may remove the offer. But you have to put this aside. Salary negotiations are, in most cases, part of doing business.
As long as you are polite and professional with everyone, you won’t have a problem. If you’re rude or unreasonable, that’s another story.
The bottom line is you can and should attempt to negotiate your salary if you think you should earn more.
Should you negotiate salary over email or phone?
The first question is: can you negotiate salary over email? Yes, of course, you can! So many of us now work flexibly that we may never get to meet and chat with our bosses in person.
Email is a great way to negotiate a raise because it lets you present a complete case. You can highlight why you deserve a raise (excellent performance, significant achievements, another job offer, etc.).
Some guides suggest asking for a raise in person, but we disagree. Firstly, it may not be possible for you to meet your new manager in person.
Secondly, sending an email enables you to set out your case for a higher salary, provide evidence, and offer reasons why.
Lastly, an email enables you and your manager to save face if the answer is a hard no.
Will an email on its work? Probably not. You’ll likely need to speak to your manager, HR team, or senior boss to get any raise signed off, but that’s OK. The email is the start of the process.
How to ask if the salary is negotiable via email
Salary negotiation emails have to strike a delicate balance. The truth is that no boss or business wants to pay you more unless they have to. So your negotiation email must provide what we call a little peril. What’s peril? It’s a subtle (and, in some cases, not so subtle) suggestion of the consequences if you don’t get a salary raise.
Let’s illustrate this with an example. Compare the two:
- Can we discuss my starting salary?
- I’ve been offered another job. Can we discuss my starting salary?
Which do you think will get the best response?
OK, so you may not have been offered another job. But there are several other ways you can raise the issue of your salary:
- I’ve discovered others in the business are earning more than me. Can we discuss my salary?
- I’ve just landed a MASSIVE contract for us. Can we find time to discuss my salary?
- I’m highly qualified and can deliver from day 1. Can we chat about my starting salary?
When should you send a salary negotiation email?
Salary negotiation emails are typically sent when you’ve been offered a new job (or accepted a promotion). Usually, your employer will provide you with a contract and salary. You must negotiate the salary before signing a contract or accepting a role.
Because once you sign a contract, you agree to the terms and conditions, which could make negotiating a salary impossible (as well as unethical).
The crucial thing here is to craft messages that present your case and are positive but aren’t rude or pushy. We illustrate this approach below, but you can spot the difference between these two approaches:
- I’ve received your job offer. Before signing, we need to discuss the starting salary.
- I was delighted to receive your job offer and am excited to join such a great company. However, I have some questions about the offer and wanted to discuss the starting salary.
Sure, the second one is longer and less direct, but think about which one you would prefer to receive – and which one is likely to get the best results?
Salary negotiation email format
We’re almost ready to get into some of the salary negotiation samples, but before we do, here’s how to format your messages. The salary negotiation email format is relatively simple; there’s a subject line, body, and sign-off.
But you will have to be sensitive in how you approach salary negotiations. Be too weak, and you’ll receive a firm (but polite) no. Be too pushy, and you could risk upsetting the recipient. Here are some tips on how to strike the right balance.
1. Subject line for salary negotiation email
Firstly, ask yourself if you need to create a subject line? Then, if you’re responding to a job offer email, you can directly reply to that email.
However, in many cases, you’ll need to message the HR manager or your boss, and you’ll need to select a subject line. Some guides tell you to use your name and add something about salary negotiation. Of course, you could just go straight for it and tell them it’s a salary negotiation email, but it’s probably better to make it a little less direct. Here are some sample subject lines for salary negotiation emails:
- Can we chat about the starting salary?
- Starting salary – can we chat?
- Thanks for the offer. We need to chat about the salary
3. Body of salary negotiation email
This is where you’ll need to get a little creative and dig into the details. Firstly, start with a compliment and then go straight into the purpose of your message.
- I was delighted to receive your job offer. Before accepting, I would like to chat about the starting salary.
The purpose of this email is to present a case for why you’re negotiating a salary (you currently earn more, you’ve been offered a job elsewhere, you have significant experience, and so on). But you must also remember this is about encouraging a conversation, so don’t give everything away. Here’s an example:
- I’ve reviewed your proposed starting salary, and it doesn’t match with similar roles I’ve seen advertised elsewhere. I have significant experience and believe that my starting salary should reflect this.
See how it works? You don’t just ask for more; you justify your requests with a reason (or reasons).
3. How to end a salary negotiation email
As we’ve explained before, it’s unlikely that your new boss or the HR team will simply up your salary after receiving your message. Instead, you’ll likely need to have a meeting or a call, so take charge and push for it. Here are a few examples of how to end a salary negotiation email:
- Can we arrange a time to meet or chat through my request?
- I’m free to talk about this on (date/time). Can you make it?
Sign off with a thank you and your name and contact details.
8 salary negotiation email samples
Here, we put into practice our expert advice with 8 salary negotiation samples that you can use. In addition, we provide negotiation samples for some of the most common reasons you’ll need to ask for more money, as well as how you can manage the process of counter negotiations, how to request a pay rise after a promotion, and more.
1. Negotiating salary after job offer email sample
Before accepting a job, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting the salary you deserve. This sample message can be used to negotiate your salary after you’ve received a job offer.
Of course, you want to ensure that your message is positive and indicates that you’ll accept the job (if you want it), but that salary is a stocking point that needs to be overcome. Here’s how to negotiate your starting salary after being offered a position.
2. Counter offer salary negotiation email sample
If your employer returns with an offer, you have two choices: stick with it or ask for more. In this counteroffer salary negotiation sample, we’re positive about the offer but push for a little more. The worst they can do is say no!
3. Salary negotiation follow-up email sample
Sometimes, your employer may take some time to respond to your salary negotiation email. If that’s the case, you can use this salary negotiation follow-up email sample to encourage them to act.
4. Email HR for a salary negotiation sample
In many organizations, it’s not the recruiting manager in charge of salary negotiations but the HR team. You’re less likely to offend an HR team member, so you can get straight to the point and ask for an increase in your salary. Here’s an effective email to an organization’s HR team to negotiate your starting salary.
5. Promotion salary negotiation email sample
Congratulations on your promotion; now, let’s secure the pay you deserve. You’ll need a good reason to request an increase in your salary, so be sure to provide details. Thankfully, you will be messaging someone you already know so that you can be a little less formal.
6. Reply to email for salary negotiation samples
Sometimes you may need a little time to think about a salary offer. If that’s the case, this simple reply for a salary negotiation sample will get you a little extra to decide what’s suitable for you and your career.
6.1. Accepting job offer after salary negotiation email sample
If you’ve received an acceptable salary offer, it’s time to do the right thing and accept! Here’s our sample for getting a job offer after salary negotiations.
6.2. How to respond to a rejected salary negotiation email sample
Sometimes an employer can’t match your requirements, and if you decide to walk away, you’ll need to do so professionally. Here’s how to respond to a salary negotiation that you’re rejecting. We advise you never to close the door, as your prospective employer may choose to up their offer.
7. Salary negotiation with current employer email sample
In some situations, such as being offered a job somewhere else, you may want to request a boost to your salary. Of course, you don’t get anything without asking, and if you need to ask, use our salary negotiation with your current employer sample!
8. Entry-level salary negotiation email sample
It’s just executives that negotiate salary, right? Wrong! Anyone can ask to negotiate their paycheck, but most lack the confidence to do so. Here’s an example of an entry-level salary negotiation email.
Salary negotiation email template
Didn’t find what you were looking for in our salary negotiation email samples? Here's a salary negotiation email template that you can adapt and use for your specific circumstances. Don’t forget to fill in the gaps for each section within this negotiating salary email template!
Flowrite's email template for salary negotiation
There is no 100% right or wrong approach to requesting a raise or promotion, but having an effective email template, using proper grammar and email format will help.
This is where Flowrite comes in. Flowrite's AI-powered smart templates can help you craft better emails, ensure top notch grammar and nail the correct format, every single email.
Our tool turns your words into ready-to-send emails using artificial intelligence, like this:
Final words on salary negotiations
This article isn’t a guide on negotiating your salary, but it shows you how to start the salary negotiation process.
A firm but fair salary negotiation email to a recruiting manager, HR department, or boss is the right way to kick off the journey to a bigger paypacket. (If you’re searching for tips on how to negotiate salary offers, this from the Harvard Business Review is a great place to start.)
We’ve focused on the building blocks of effective salary emails, but you’ll need the confidence to create them and send them. Never be afraid to demand more if you deserve it. If you follow our advice on creating professional emails, the worst they can say is no – and the best they can say is yes!
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