How do I discuss my salary? Without feeling awkward.

There comes a time in every person’s working life when the topic of money will come up. Often this happens when you’re being offered a role. Other times it happens when your role has expanded and you should be earning more.

Conversations around salary are some of the most difficult and awkward and employers frequently take advantage of this to save themselves money. If you don’t bring up money – your employer wins.

Abadesi Osunsade, founder of  and author of Dream Big. Hustle Hard, offers her top tips to help you prepare for inevitable negotiations.


Know your survival budget and ideal budget 

You should calculate exactly how much money you need every month to survive. This gives you the lowest possible salary you could aim for. Remember that salaries are advertised as gross, in other words, their pre-tax amount. You can use websites like HMRC tax calculator to work out how much an advertised salary will work out net, or after tax. You should also calculate your ideal budget – this might include more money for travel, entertainment and saving for a mortgage. You can use these numbers if you are offered a salary lower than what you are hoping for. Use them to form the argument for why you need more.

Do your research on the role and industry

Websites like get employees to reveal what they are paid. Use it to find out a realistic salary range for the role you are applying for. Ensure you are receiving a salary that matches with the research you find. If not, you can use the data you find to negotiate for more.

Don’t feel bad about negotiating 

Most business transactions involve some form of negotiation. It’s very common and to be expected. Statistics show that men negotiate their first offer overwhelmingly more than women. Negotiations are just a type of conversation. You are negotiating with your friends when debating which restaurant to visit or which film to see at the cinema. You already have the skills you need, you just need to apply them in a different setting.

Practice with a friend

Once you’ve done your research, get a friend or relative to play the role of recruiter / HR person or manager. Use them to practice what you want to say. You should have written down all the reasons why you deserve the number you  are suggesting. You can use the information from the budget you calculated as well as the research you found online about average salaries for the role/industry.

Follow up in writing 

Be sure that for every conversation you have about salary, you follow up in writing and receive a reply to acknowledge the information within. Sometimes as employees we also have to think like lawyers to ensure we are getting the most fair treatment from our employers. From a legal perspective – things which are said but not written are the same as things which are made up. You want to ensure you have proof of whatever was agreed in your negotiation.