If you want a higher salary, you have to negotiate well above all else? Not only! Negotiating skills play a role, of course. But there are a few other things you can do to earn more money in the long run. The result isn’t always immediately noticeable in your bank account, but in the long run it ensures that you will eventually negotiate at a higher level.
7 measures to earn more money in the long term
Of course, salary is a highly individual matter. How much we earn depends largely on what we do for a living, how much responsibility we have on the job, and also how well we negotiate. Nevertheless some basic things that significantly influence the salary level within a professional group. A study conducted by the Hans Bockler Foundation’s Institute of Economic and Social Research (WSI) in 2021 revealed that these factors are the main determinants of how much employees can earn:
- Requirements and qualifications needed: Clearly, the more demanding a job is, the better it pays. In jobs that require several years of vocational training, salaries are naturally higher than in jobs for which anyone can be trained. And a completed degree brings another significantly larger salary increase.
- Gender: The problem of the gender pay gap has still not been overcome. According to the WSI evaluation, women still earn 8% less than men in comparable positions.
- Company size: The smaller the company, the lower the salary level usually is.
- Work location: Metropolis or rural region, east or west – there are sometimes quite significant regional wage differences.
- Employer’s Collective Bargaining Agreement: Companies with collective bargaining agreements pay an average of 11% higher salaries.
Even if not everything is solely in your hands or cannot be changed from one moment to the next: With these factors in mind and strategically smart career decisions, you can increase your salary in the long run.
1. Acquire new qualifications
You don’t necessarily have to add a degree to finally earn more money. An academic degree is typically rewarded with higher salaries when entering the workforce. But if you have already been on the job for a few years, the educational qualification becomes increasingly less important. Instead, it’s relevant work experience that counts. By expanding your area of responsibility and further training, you can also acquire additional qualifications that will ensure a higher salary in the long term.
However, there are low starting salary Unfortunately, despite all the practical experience, usually like a rat’s tail through the next career stages. At least as long as you stay in the same company. Because the starting salary is the basis on which you negotiate all future salary increases.
2. Change jobs sometimes
This is why job changes are an important factor in increasing personal salary levels in the long term. Because here you renegotiate your starting salary – based on your current experience and qualifications. From a purely legal point of view, it’s not even any of your new employer’s business how much you earned previously. As a rule a larger jump in salary is possible when moving to another company than when you are promoted internally.
The worry, that this might look bad on your resume is usually unfounded. It’s now almost normal to change employers every few years. It is important, however, that there is a common thread in your resume: Each career step should make your career more interesting and increase your value for potential employers.
Of course, not every career path always runs in a straight line. And it’s also perfectly fine if there are twists and turns along your career path. But if you are too flighty and try this and that, you will have a hard time convincing your employer of consistent advancement and thus a higher salary.
3. Taking on more responsibility
As a general rule, those who take on more responsibility also earn more. However, there are exceptions where the salary increase does not materialize despite promotion. Nevertheless, taking on important tasks usually pays off – at the latest when you can ask for more money when you move to a new employer.
Conversely, if you give up responsibility, you also give up salary. If you want to move up financially, you should broaden your skills, gain experience and then look for positions with better pay – whether internally or externally.
4. Working for large companies
The WSI study mentioned at the beginning shows that salaries in large companies are 9% higher than in medium-sized companies with 100 to 500 employees. On average, smaller companies pay significantly less again. In addition, large companies are more likely to be bound by a collective agreement.
The price for the higher salary is often less freedom to make decisions and poorer opportunities for promotion than in smaller companies. However, work experience at a large company makes you extremely interesting for many other employers. Those who eventually find themselves on the spot in a large corporation can usually easily find an alternative.
5. Be flexible in terms of location
Salaries for identical positions in Germany can vary greatly, as the Robert Half salary survey shows every year. Salaries are still generally lower in the eastern German states. In addition, salaries in rural regions are often lower than in large cities. And even between the German metropolises there are significant differences. A key factor here is the cost of living locally.
If you take this into account when choosing a job, you can negotiate at a correspondingly higher level. And this may even be possible without actually having to move – if the job is also available remotely. However, the following is becoming apparent, That companies are likely to differentiate more in the future as home office models become more prevalent. Recent survey data from Robert Half shows that 83% of companies plan to base future salary decisions on where employees work and the cost of living there.
6. Reconsider employment model
Qualified, motivated professionals gain a wide range of skills, experience and contacts over the course of their careers, which are extremely valuable to companies. Over time, this often results in good – and above all profitable – opportunities to become self-employed. As a freelancer or interim manager, you often earn significantly more with the appropriate experience and sought-after expert knowledge than in a salaried position. Another advantage: You have a very varied daily work routine.
Usually work on a project basis, which allows you to get to know many different companies. Especially freelancers are paid very well for their urgently needed know-how.
7. Demand more salary
Obvious, but apparently not all employees are aware of this – or have successfully repressed it: If you want more money, you have to actively demand it from your employer. And you do it over and over again. Because on your own, a raise is rarely offered to you. It’s mostly just a matter of having the courage to do it.
Make yourself aware that you are not a supplicant! You do good work and it has its price. Of course, you should know how much salary is appropriate. With exaggerated demands you shoot yourself out of the picture. With a little research and good preparation, however, it is not that difficult to appear confident in salary negotiations.