Chris Aukland is the managing director of specialist recruitment agency Ambition and is responsible for the growth and management of the Hong Kong business. He has 15 years’ consulting experience in the UK and Asia.
How to negotiate a good salary in the Hong Kong job market ?
I am new to Hong Kong and I’m not familiar with the salary negotiation process here. Where I come from, money is the last thing discussed, not the first. How do I get an idea of what the going rate is for the position and field I want? In the negotiation process, how do I ensure that I don’t appear too arrogant, or too naive?
These are all questions that even the most experienced and well-qualified professionals struggle to answer. Here are some tips to ensure you manage this successfully.
Start by researching market trends. When you enter any negotiation, you will be in much stronger position to negotiate if you are fully prepared. This means researching the market in depth. You can use resources such as the Ambition Market Trends and Salary Report to check the exact range for the role and industry sector, as well as your level of experience. You can also look at other online resources, including job boards and recruitment websites and articles. Review other similar roles on the internet to see what they are paying and talk to recruitment consultants or professionals in your industry for advice on what people are earning in similar positions.
Make sure you know what you want, and always go into any negotiation with a salary range in mind. At the bottom of this range would be the absolute minimum you would accept and at the top would be your ideal number (whilst still being realistic). Always start at the higher end of this range to allow for negotiation, but be careful not to price yourself out of the market. Anticipate the possible objections to your proposed salary and prepare counterarguments. This is where research comes in. It is important you are clear about your own expectations as to what you will or will not accept.
Don’t come across as money hungry, and don’t be too quick to begin the salary discussion. It is critical to wait for the potential employer to discuss the topic of salary before you wade in or you will seem too focused on money and not the role. You are in a much better position to negotiate, if the employer has offered you the role and a salary. If the topic of salary is raised early on in the process, ask the interviewer to tell you more about the position and company first, explaining that you are more interested in the role and the organisation.
Focus on more than the money. If the salary on offer is not ideal but the role offers you a fantastic opportunity, consider the impact on your career. You can ask about what you would need to achieve in order to be promoted in the future and get an increase. Many organisations in Hong Kong place a strong emphasis on their employee value proposition (or EVP) and ensure there is a range of additional benefits, so remember to ask about medical insurance, annual leave and training allowances.
Negotiating your new salary can be a stressful process but if you can negotiate a win-win outcome, you will be in great position to build on this when you join the company. Remember, strong negotiation skills are often a prerequisite for the role you are interviewing for, so doing a great job during the recruitment process will only increase your credibility.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Hone your bargaining skills to win a bigger salary.