Employers often have the upper hand in pay negotiations.

This is because of ‘asymmetric information’ – bosses can easily find the going rate for a job. It is like a card game where your opponent sees the cards in your hand while you can’t see theirs.

Companies rarely allow staff to talk to each other about salaries. In some workplaces sharing salary information is an offence.

Employers compare your pay with that of other employees. They also usually have access to wider industry pay information either through organisations or by buying third-party salary reports.

You’ll struggle to find this information. Some recruitment advertisement offer clues.

Recruiters are often coy about exact salaries. They don’t want existing staff to know what they pay newcomers.

Even when you are the recruit, employers often won’t tell you the salary until later in the recruitment process.

When you apply for a new job, you need to get as much salary information as possible before negotiating. You also need to know if it is worth negotiating.

Likewise, if you want a pay rise from your existing employer, you need to know what others doing the same job elsewhere earn. This gives you useful ammunition. It also lets you know whether you should stay or move if your negotiation fails.

Resources for New Zealand knowledge workers wanting to compare pay rates.

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