How to negotiate your salary in your first job


Working casual jobs while juggling university work is no easy feat – not to mention it’s not that rewarding as you’re limited in your time and cannot work as often as you need to save a great deal. The real money-saving often comes when you put on that gown and accept your degree, moving on to your first full-time job!

Unfortunately migrating into the work force doesn’t come with a manual and it takes quite a lot of time and experience to navigate the ins and outs. One huge dilemma that many new graduates face when accepting their full-time role is “how do I know what salary to request?” We give you our tips on how to value yourself and your role in your first full-time position.


  1. Discover your worth

Experience cannot be bought and the workforce is one place you’ll find yourself making mistakes that are imperative to learn from. One of these mistakes is often taking the first salary put on the table and not negotiating or looking around to what this role is truly worth. Research from U.S. financial firm, NerdWallet, showed that 62% of new graduates are not negotiating their worth. Understandably, you can expect to be paid less as a graduate, especially if you are up against candidates with more working experience. Some companies like a fresh employee that they can then mould to their workplace culture and way of operating, but unfortunately your lack of salary awareness can be the downfall where you’re then taken advantage of. Before you sign that contract and accept the pay, do some research into what other graduate jobs are paying either by chatting to those in your network who are already in your desired industry, or visiting websites such as The more evidence you have to prove the worth of your position, the better off you’ll be in securing the salary you deserve.


TIP: don’t aim for the moon and dismiss salaries that are lower than you want. Think of your very first position as paying you in both money and experience, and know that each raise you go for and/or position you achieve after this will continue to grow. Patience is a virtue.


  1. Know what to negotiate

Depending on the job type, it may not always be a monetary negotiation in terms of take home pay. Your employer could also offer you a travel allowance, a work vehicle, working from home flexible arrangements, additional time off, discounts, memberships or a free parking space. These additions hold as much value as an increase in salary, and if you add them up may even be a greater plus!


  1. Make sure it’s in writing

After a verbal agreement, ensure that your negotiations have been printed before you sign on the dotted line. Although it isn’t great to be sceptical that your employer may leave out the desired request, you need to be diligent and look after yourself and your financial future. If it’s been left off, approach your manager and simply remind them of the terms agreed upon. It’s likely just been a slip of mind, not deliberately ignored, so make sure both parties are aware.


TIP: Ask your employer to embed a 6-monthly review into your contract as opposed to an annual review. That way you can work toward your desired higher salary after proving to them your capability, as well as loyalty to the company.


  1. Don’t be afraid of a “no”

Even if the result of your bargaining is a “no” you’re likely still to be offered slightly more than was initially on the table, which is a win. If you approach the situation knowing the worst thing that can happen is to be turned down, your anxiety will be lowered and you may even come off as more confident.


Though you may be desperate for your first position, know that whatever salary you accept will fund your bills and purchases, so it’s important that you set yourself up for the best possible financial success from the get go.



Be on the list that gets you from A to B. Want a holiday? Want to buy a
property? Want to know how to retire a millionaire? This is the first step...