How to Negotiate Salary as an Engineer

Engineers may be born negotiators, but negotiating salary is different from almost anything else. Whether you’re just out of school or have several positions under your belt, you will need to know when and how to negotiate salary to receive the best offer. Here are a few tips.


A golden rule of negotiation is that everyone gets something they want, but no one gets everything they want. Sit down and make a dream list that includes everything from base salary to bonuses to benefits and perks. Then prioritize your list. You might find that you’re willing to take a smaller base salary in exchange for better bonuses, or that extra vacation time is more important to you than the size of your holiday bonus. You can start out asking for the moon, but as you negotiate, be willing to cut things from the bottom of your priority list.

Start Early

It’s important to start a dialogue about compensation early in the process. After all, there is no sense in wasting your time, or that of the company, if your expectations are wildly different than what they plan to pay. By the time the employer is ready to make an offer, both sides should have a general sense of the expected salary range.

Don’t Jump the Gun

It’s important not to negotiate salary specifics until after you receive a written offer. This will include detailed information about not only base pay, but also PTO, stock options, health insurance, and other benefits, giving you firm footing to start your negotiations.

Talk Rather Than Email

By the time you receive an offer, you will likely have been in touch with the hiring manager in person, by phone, and through email. While sending an email may seem simplest, it’s not the best platform for negotiating. After receiving your offer, take 24 hours to think it over and plan your response, and then request a phone call or face-to-face meeting to present your points.

Back-Up Your Requests

Engineers tend to be data-driven by nature, so you have probably done a lot of research into compensation packages. Bring your data to the table when negotiating your new offer. Be ready to explain exactly how that data supports each request you are making.

Negotiating is a skill that many engineers possess, but when it comes to your own compensation, it can feel intimidating. Take a deep breath, lean on the data, and trust your own skills in the process.

About PEAK

PEAK Technical Consulting has created connections with employers nationwide, where you can find projects and roles to make the most of your abilities and advance your career. Since 1968, PEAK has helped engineering professionals find jobs that offer flexibility, challenges, and rewards. We are committed to giving you the resources and support you need to build the career of your dreams.

If you are looking for employers and opportunities that will take your engineering career to the next level and help you to achieve your goals, contact a PEAK recruitment expert today.




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