Word on the streets is some 9-5ers still don’t know how to answer the “What’s your expected salary?” question. I also heard some just collect whatever amount is written in the offer letter.

Ah. Don’t you like money, dear?

I’m not even shading anyone. Some 9-5ers is me; I’m some 9-5ers. I also want to learn how to earn what I deserve, so I got these millennial professionals to share tips on what’s worked for them.

“Research o”

— Chinwe, 28, Human resource manager

When I ask people what salary they’d like to receive, I expect their answers to show they’ve done their research. Like, how would you apply at a multinational and say you want to receive ordinary ₦150k? It may be much to you, depending on where you’re coming from, but you have to make your findings. Research o.

Plus, research helps when the company doesn’t put the expected salary in the vacancy. I use Glassdoor. Your research should answer questions like, “What is the normal salary range for this role in this industry?” “How much does this company typically pay?” This is so you have something reasonable to say when the question comes up.

“Know when to try”

— Ola*, 31, Digital marketer

It hinges a lot on the type of company you’re applying to. I’ve found that many Nigerian companies aren’t really open to negotiation. They’ll just put the salary there; try to ask for something higher, and they’ll be like, “Is this one serious?”

So, know when to try to ask for more. If you really want the job and don’t want to risk it, just accept their offer. If they ask you for your expected salary during the interview, give a range, but emphasise that you’re open to hearing what they have in mind. If they’re trying to poach you, feel free to go crazy. The fact that they reached out to you already means they want to hire you, so they’ll be more open to negotiating.

“TBH, it’s a gamble”

— Joe*, 33, Graphic designer

There’s no one size fits all approach to it. TBH, it’s a gamble, but you can also make an informed one by comparing what you earn to what others earn.

One thing I try to do is double my current income and use that as a template for the “What’s your expected salary?” question. It’s either they get back to me or they don’t. Someone offered me a salary once, and I reached back to appreciate their offer but explained why my skills, experience and the value I would bring to them meant I needed a 30% increase on what they initially offered. They accepted. You’ll never know if you’ll be lucky unless you try.

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“Let them know what you’re worth”

— Amy, 35, Marketing manager

I learnt something from a career coach: have a brag sheet of your accomplishments ready so you can defend whatever amount you’re requesting as remuneration at the interview. Let them know what you’re worth.

If you want to ask for ₦3m for instance, your previous accomplishments should tell them, “Yes, this person is worth it. If they could do so and so at this place, they should be able to do more here”.

“Be open to negotiating”

— Ore, 27, Financial analyst

Some companies won’t even ask how much you want to earn, they’ll just put an amount in their offer letter. If you’re okay with it, fine. But I always tell my friends to be more open to negotiating. Try to ask for more. It can be something as simple as asking for a one-time 20% increase to cover your logistics needs if you’re moving locations for the job, for instance. Of course, it also depends on the company, but there’s no harm in trying.

“It’s not just about the salary”

— Leah*, 37, Brand manager

You can also negotiate better benefits or leave days. It’s not just about the salary. If you’re applying for an executive-level position, for instance, your offer letter may include the allowances you’ll get. So, if they’re offering you a 10% transportation allowance, you can negotiate for a higher percentage, or if they’re offering 15 leave days, you can negotiate for 20. Remuneration isn’t just about the salary; it’s the entire package.

“Try… and pray”

— Jojo, 30, Content marketer

I try to always be prepared for the salary question, and I never sell myself short. I’ve called amounts that even in my mind, I was like, “Girl, you like money o”. But no recruiter has laughed at me. They only either try to negotiate or tell me what their budget is. Also, pray o. Prayer works for me, and if it’s your thing, there’s no harm in trying it before any interview or salary negotiation.

*Some names have been changed for the sake of anonymity.

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