That is one of the trickiest questions job applicants have a challenge answering. As a candidate, you are caught between not short-selling yourself and not ruining your chances, an interesting crossroad that could be daunting.
Sometimes, people reply by saying, what is the budget for this role, but trust me, most times, some recruiters insist you name a number. Some recruiters also tell you their salary range and give you room to negotiate upwards if the range is below your expectations.
Below are a few things to consider when handling salary negotiations in Nigeria.
What Industry is the organization? Different industries have diverse ranges as far as pay is concerned. For instance, what a finance associate would earn at an investment firm might be totally different from what the person would earn in an oil and gas firm. Industry’s earning power differs and you should take cognizance of this when negotiating your salaries. This factor is not just limited to technical/functional roles. Support functions like receptionist, clerical roles and other related roles fall into his category.
What is the content of the Job description: In Nigeria and everywhere really, sometimes there are diverse expectations for different job descriptions. For example, a role with the title “People Operations” in an organization might refer to the end to end process of the onboarding and offboarding of an employee, while in another organization, it might include payroll related activities. Finance Officer might include audit-related tasks in some organizations, and audit-related tasks might be exempted in another organization. Thus, beyond the job titles, it is very important that you understand the job description and expectations before salary negotiations.
The relevant certifications you have as it relates to the role: You should always consider your certifications when negotiating your salaries. There are some industries and organizations (like consulting and the big four) that consider certifications during salary negotiations, however, if this isn’t stated explicitly, you can let your recruiters know the certifications you have as well as the relevance of this certification to the role you are applying for and the organization as a whole. For instance, as an auditor, being a chartered accountant is a great value-add, as a tax consultant or manager, being CITN certified is a unique selling point, just the way being a CFA charter holder is a great advantage in the finance space.
Find out the range from an inner source: Nigerians are naturally reticent, especially when it comes to money and related subject matter. However, if you can, it is always great to see if you can get someone who already works at the organization in an almost similar role. Most organizations have pay-band, so you do not have to be specific in your request. You can ask if they could share the salary range with you instead. People might be reluctant to share their pay, but giving a range might not be a total inconvenience, you should however not force it if they are not willing to.
Note the years of experience: Sometimes we see a job that requires 5-8 years’ experience. This means, for this job, a 5 years experienced person would suffice. That means if you have 8 years’ experience and you are applying, you should be aware that, all other factors being constant, they might likely start the salary negotiation from what a candidate with 5 years’ experience would be satisfied earning. For instance, if an opening for a data analyst which requires 3-5 years experience with a salary range of 500-800k naira per month, either you have 3 years experience or 5 years experience, if you scale the interview process, your salary negotiation would start from 500k.
It is worthy to know that for a lot of organisations, your compensation is beyond your salary (or monthly take home). HR is continuously evolving and there are other forms of compensation like performance bonus, employees stock options, 13th salary and lots more.
There are also benefits like HMO, remote/hybrid work, breakfast (or lunch), transport allowance (or staff bus), data allowance and other exciting benefits you should take note of when negotiating salary.
As against what the public thinks, a recruiter isn’t out to exploit you, they are however also tasked with getting the best talent at the most affordable price depending on the industry, thus you should always prepare for the negotiation stage as you have prepared for every other part of the interview.