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What to Do If Your Salary Negotiation is Unsuccessful

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What to Do If Your Salary Negotiation is Unsuccessful

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​What to Do If Your Salary Negotiation is Unsuccessful

No one likes discussing money: a conversation concerning salary with your employer can therefore be an intimidating prospect. However, a successful wage negotiation can be beneficial for both parties.

In the first instalment of our Women's Mentorship Session in partnership with HerCapital, Rutherford explores some tips and strategies for initiating a successful salary discussion and what to do when those salary negotiations fail. These ideas stem from a virtual roundtable held on the 17th March 2021 with Joy Rhoades, a successful author and ex-Managing Director at renowned financial services firm JPMorgan.

Whether you are starting a new role in a different company or looking for a raise as an existing member of staff, we will explore when you should bring up a salary discussion, how to successfully negotiate, what to do in the unlikely circumstance that you're unsuccessful in your negotiation and how to accept a job offer after said failed negotiation.

What Happens if You Are Unsuccessful in Your Salary Negotiation

According to PayScale, research shows that 75% of individuals who ask for a raise receive some form of

financial compensation. But what about the other 25%? This section will explore good reactionary steps to take in the unlikely circumstance that you are unsuccessful in negotiating a salary increase.

Rhoades advises to always ‘bear in mind…they might say no’. Throughout the conversation with your employer or hiring manager, from introducing the subject of a raise to negotiating, it is important to consider they may refuse and have measures in place to end the discussion on a positive note.

Firstly, do not take it personally. Remind yourself that everyone else is having these conversations, and a denial is not a reason to question your self-worth or aptitude. The employer will have their own reasons for refusing to give a raise, they may be working under strict quotas and at this time cannot offer you compensation but may have the opportunity to do so in the future.

For this reason, it is important to ask questions. Questioning the other party why they cannot offer you a salary increase at this time will hopefully lead to an honest conversation about your place in the company and what you can do to earn a raise in the future. If the employer is denying you compensation based on your performance in the company, ask them what you could do to improve. Additionally, you could suggest scheduling another meeting to discuss these ideas further.

If an employer is unable to offer you financial compensation, they may be able to offer alternative benefits that will supplant your desire for a wage increase. For example, a bonus, more vacation time, memberships, or a flexible schedule.

How to Prepare For Salary Negotiations

It may be that you will need to gain a promotion to increase your salary, if so, consider what your career goals are. Following this, initiate a candid conversation with your manager concerning opportunities to rise through the company and what your next steps should be to reach this objective.

After the meeting, take notes on elements you could adapt or change for a future meeting. An opportunity to discuss your salary may come up again sooner than you think, so be prepared to modify your pitch from what you have learnt in an initial discussion – whether its body language, your achievement report, or the way you negotiated – use your judgement to tailor your salary proposal.

Keep trying: if you love your position and do not want to move, but ideally need more money to make it viable in the long-term do not give up. The manager over time should recognize this, accept you are both committed and excelling yourself, and eventually offer you a financial incentive.

However, if an employer blankly rejects your salary negotiation or if you are consistently being underpaid – take it personally. If you have broached the subject of a salary increase on multiple occasions to no avail and are excelling yourself within the company, it may be your employer undervalues you. If this is the case, it may be time to move on. Remaining in an organization where you feel unappreciated and neglected will be detrimental to your mental wellbeing and performance in the long run.

Do not be scared to move: the job market is always changing, so keep in the know about available positions. Today, it is easy to conduct a first and even second interview with another employer virtually, so do not feel like you must leave your job before you find another position. Again, recruiters can aid this process and help ease your transition into a new role.

How to Accept a Job Offer After a Failed Negotiation

If you are joining a new company and have been unable to successfully negotiate an incoming salary with the hiring manager, be polite and let them know you will get back to them after considering the initial offer further.

It is worth asking whether a salary increase for the role would be possible in the future based on your performance. The answer should be yes, as good employers ought to be keeping in line with inflation, while offering incentives for their employees to stay on.


Discussing and Negotiating Your Salary

Want more information and tips on discussing and negotiating your salary? Make sure to look at our other resources on the topic:

The Rutherford x HerCapital Mentorship Initiative

In March 2021, Rutherford officially launched in partnership with HerCapital an initiative to create safe spaces where women in senior roles within financial services could coach and mentor ambitious women in mid-level functions who are looking to move up the corporate ladder and invest in their career. Find out more about the initiative here.

About HerCapital

HerCapital was founded in 2019 with the mission to empower women to become financially independent and to take control of their income. The two founders, Zabreen Khan and Rabiya Ather, aim to create a strong community of women who are looking to become confident investors and to be equipped with tools who will help them be part of the conversation when it comes to investing and managing personal finances.

This initiative with Rutherford is enabling the non-profit organisation to expand its current horizons, by providing safe spaces for their community to discuss career goals and progression with well-established women in senior positions. This will help empower women to also take control of their career and future.


If you wish to know more about the initiative or get in touch with Rutherford to be part of the next session, please contact Genevieve Higgins-Desbiens, Marketing Manager at Rutherford.