Salary and contract negotiations


In a seminar on job interviews, we open the last part: salary negotiations. We quickly worked out the basics. The starting salaries in the chemical industry are pretty uniform: Most large employers pay the generous chemical tariff, and the smaller ones are almost without exception, 15 to 20 percent lower. You can use this as a guide when researching your market value. You should do your own research into your market value, add five to ten percent to it, which is your salary expectations. You have to pay attention to two details. The first: salary comparisons sometimes contain bonuses, sometimes not. Those of the GDCh are always all-inclusive.

Look at what could be valuable for both sides in your salary negotiations.

The second detail concerns the target salary. I ask the audience if it’s better to name a number or an interval. “An interval, that’s what I read,” Sofie states. I reply: “If you say 65,000 to 70,000, I, as an employer, would not even notice the higher number but negotiate directly down from 65,000 to my target mark.”

You should never let a company pay you with air and love; however, negotiations are not just about salary. An example of one of my salary negotiations following a promotion: My managerial responsibility was expanded to include a production team working in three shifts. My employment contract at the time did not say anything about night work, but I would not let my team down in an emergency. But I didn’t want to give my employer this concession for free. My need at the time: I wanted to work from home one day a week. The flexibility and the saved journey seemed attractive to me. Both elements individually were a small concession for each side, from which the other could benefit a lot.

In your salary negotiations, ideally together with your negotiating partner, look at what could be valuable for both sides. The possibilities range from bonuses to further training or flexibility in all its forms. Ideally, both sides first put ideas on the table without committing themselves. Then you can combine these elements until you reach a good situation. Salary negotiation is then too narrow a term: Rather, think of contract negotiations.


This article was first published in Nachrichten aus der Chemie (issue 10-2020). See here the German original.

If you want to learn more about negotiations, you might be interested in our workshop Negotiation or our talk Harvard Negotiation Principles.

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