How to Negotiate Salary for a Fully Remote Role

How to Negotiate Salary for a Fully Remote Role

First, congratulations, if you’re reading this blog then you’ve probably just received a job offer or you’re expecting one very soon. That means the hunt is over. Now, let’s talk about salary negotiation for your fully-remote role. Because let’s face it—even when we aren’t mid-pandemic—many of us have a difficult time talking dollars and negotiating salaries. 

In fact, according to Salary.com, 18% of job candidates never negotiate their salaries and only 37% of job candidates always do. Asking for more can be intimidating—even in a perfect job market. Now, in the middle of an economic downturn, a quick shift to a remote, digital workplace, and a global pandemic, negotiating can be mildly horrifying. With furloughs, mass layoffs, hiring freezes, and record unemployment, asking for more salary or vacation time may seem tougher to maneuver. And it only gets more complicated when you’re applying for a fully remote position at a company that’s based somewhere else. 

And while the new normal is still anything but, there’s some good news. Employers are still hiring, and even giving bonuses, raises, and promotions. You can land a job during the COVID-19 pandemic. And you can negotiate your salary and benefits for a fully remote role. 

1. Research. Research. Research.

Salaries for larger, metropolitan cities are generally higher. Roles in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, and New York will almost always pay more than smaller cities and rural areas. And it’s important to know that companies rarely calculate salaries from the cost of living, and instead breakdown the cost of labor. Even if you’re earning more in Cleveland, you might not have an equal standard of living to someone earning less in a more affordable area code across the country.

And employers aren’t changing their approach dramatically with the move to a more geographically-diversified, remote workforce. For many, the salary is based on role requirements and the level of experience with a set range unrelated to location. However; from the trends, we’re seeing they are still looking at salary averages in the potential employee’s city of residence.

But the salary averages for your role and your city might surprise you. Be sure to research the salary averages in your area at different experience levels for a good starting point or at least a barometer of what your salary should look like. While you can’t expect the same pay in Phoenix that you would out of San Francisco, you can still measure yourself against your peers and negotiate to get higher in that range. GlassDoor and Salary.com are both great places to start getting familiarized with current pay averages.

2. Don’t accept less for a remote role.

What if an employer is looking to pay less because of the role being remote and more flexible? You can ditch the commute and the wear-and-tear on your car that comes with it, maybe even find a more affordable living space without the need to be anchored to a corporate office nearby. None of that means you should take a lower salary or fewer benefits.

In fact, according to the BBC, remote workers are 13% more productive. This hike in productivity is well-documented and employers see it with their teams over the last several months. This is a great reference point if an employer is asking you to take less due to the flexibility of the role—reference this stat, or have some other handy, and talk about the return on investment they’ll enjoy with you working remotely.

Another important point? What about the cost of working from home. With more families maxing out their bandwidths—between multiple adults working remotely and kids learning from home—5G speeds have gone from the next big thing to the necessary thing. Think about all the time you’ll be spending on your smartphone too now that you won’t have an office line. 

From having to run out to scan or send legal documentation to your Human Resources department, to investing in printer ink to stay organized and on-task, there are plenty of work from home costs that break even with your former commute.

3. Know what you’re worth. 

These are strange times, but what thing hasn’t changed in the talent market—don’t settle for less than what you’re worth. Be prepared with stats you’ve found from reputable sites like LinkedIn, Salary.com. And, think beyond your base.

While salary is always a good place to start, you can ask for a signing bonus, extra vacation time, or even an allowance to cover your home office costs—internet and that new desk you’ve been eyeing. Employers may have a salary cap, but benefits can go a long way.

Having the right recruiter helps!

New-normal negotiations are a lot to navigate. Having a recruiter helps. If you’d like some expert support, contact us at Staffing Strong for extra guidance.

Meet the Author

Evelyn Vega is the Founder and President at Staffing Strong and the Past President of the Phoenix American Marketing Association. Since 1999, she’s made her career about supporting her clients in building meaningful careers and partnering with businesses in finding quality hires. In her free time, Evelyn sits on various advisory boards and enjoys practicing on her drum set!

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