8 Other Things You Can Negotiate for Besides Your Paycheck

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Image of a man thinking about working from home and holidays

We all want more salary. And every time we interview at a new place, one of the most important things to negotiate for is a salary increment.

However, we don’t always get what we want. It might be a $1,000 increment that we’re looking for, but the company can only offer $350. Do you sulk and reject the offer right away? What if you really liked the company?

The good news is that there are many other things you can negotiate for besides your paycheck. Open up the discussion about these things, and aim to get other benefits may be important to you, but easy for the company to accommodate.

Here are 8 things you can negotiate for, in addition to your salary.

1. Signing bonus – Is it on or off the table?

You’re in the conference room in the middle of your interview and you see a table between yourself and the interviewer. But do you see a signing bonus? No? That’s because you didn’t ask for it.

You’ve been so busy just pondering over how many digits your salary is going to have that you forgot that many jobs in Singapore actually come with a fancy signing bonus! But why should the interviewer bring it up when you didn’t? Signing bonus alone can be a few months of your salary.

Tip: When you are negotiating your salary, first ask the interviewer if there is a signing bonus with your job role. Do a bit of research to see what the average signing bonus for your job title is so you can have a ballpark figure ready to give when the interviewer asks for your signing bonus expectations.

Related: 8 Mistakes to Avoid in Salary Negotiations

2. Have you given any consideration to your job title?

You’ve taken a look at the job description and you fit the role like a well-tailored suit. You’ve rocked your interview but the offered salary package is a little underwhelming. But you don’t want to let it go because the timings are flexible, it’s closer to home and the benefits are great.

What now? Well, did you know that you can request for an upgrade on your job title if you fit the bill? It might not change your role or salary but it’ll look better on your resume if or when you look for another job change.

Tip: Interviewers may be open to changing your job title, like having your title start with a “Senior” before your actual designation because it’s not going to cost them anything extra. You can discuss this by adding that you have the experience and have made significant contributions in the past to be considered for a better title in your new employment.

3. Ask about Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA)

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Many companies in Singapore are now applying for various incentives and grants to offer flexible work arrangements to employees. The government is offering “Developmental Grant” (up to S$40,000) and “FWA Incentive” (up to S$120,000) to companies so they can provide FWA to their employees.

Such arrangements include flexi-time, flexi-place and even work-life training programs by consultants and trainers. You should enquire about such arrangements in the company and what incentives they can offer you.

Tip: When discussing what kind of FWA the company has, ask the interviewer about the option to ‘Work From Home’ where you have the option to work from the comfort of your own home in your PJs.

Additional Reading: 10 Ways to Increase Productivity and Shorten Your Work Hours

4. Workfare Training Support (WTS) can pay for your future education

The government is offering funding to employers so they can improve their skillset and business performance once they’re on-the-job. This funding includes course fee subsidy as well as absentee payroll funding to employers who send their employees for further education and training.

So, if you wish to sharpen your professional skills in the near future, you can ask for a WTS component in your benefits package so you don’t have to shell out your own money to fund your further studies.

Tip: WTS only applies to employees who are Singapore citizens, not earning a monthly income of more than S$2,000. So if you’re salary package is not great, instead of negotiating or rejecting the offer due to low salary package, instead ask for a WTS and get a diploma or part-time training.

This is particularly helpful to people with disabilities because anyone over the age of 13 with disabilities can qualify for WTS if they satisfy other criteria. Otherwise, you need to be at least 35 years old to qualify.

You could also the interviewer about company policy regarding independent funding of education through scholarships and bursaries.

Related: 5 Upcoming Sectors in Singapore and Colleges Where You Can Get Trained in Them

5. Severance packages – What if you are asked to leave

No one wants to think about it but what happens if the company asks you to leave? Will you get anything? Will it be enough to tide you over?

It doesn’t have to be your fault, but with ever changing markets, companies do tend to increase or decrease their workforce at the times dictate and you need to be prepared for that.

Tip: Ask about the severance package and see if it fits your expectations/expenses. If it does not, negotiate to have a fixed severance package included and you might end up the winner. For all your know, because the company has to pay a specific severance, they might think twice before letting you go.

6. If more money is not an option, what about incentives that can save you money?

Your salary might not accommodate your whole lifestyle, but your job certainly can. You can ask the interviewer about additional perks such as whether they have a transport allowance, flexi-benefits, dental benefits, or even allowances for eyecare. or if they are open to paying for your EZ-Link card top-ups so your commute to and from work can be sorted.

Tip: Ask your interviewer about corporate wellness programs and what they have to offer in that area. For instance, Fitness First has corporate membership packages with many companies. See if the company is part of that.

7. Annual Leaves – are they ever enough?

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Besides a salary increment, the one thing that Singaporeans want the most is more paid leaves. This was reflected when the recruitment firm Robert Half surveyed 500 employees in 2015 regarding work aspects that are on their wish lists. The want for “more annual leaves” topped the list.

On an average, most companies here offer employees an average of 15 paid annual leaves. But that is rarely enough. So, if other aspects of your negotiation hit a dead-end, you could negotiate for more paid leaves. Even 1 or 2 extra leaves a year can do you a lot of good because that will prevent you from unpaid leaves, or simply burning out.

Tip: The chances of coming out successful with a few extra paid leaves is especially high if you’re salary is just on par with the market rate or below. So, this is your chance to put all your bargaining hacks to use.

Additional Reading: [10 Salary Negotiation Tips] How to Negotiate for a Higher Salary at Your Next Job Interview

8. Will you be considered for the next raise?

Wouldn’t it be so gut-wrenching if you’ve missed the deadline for eligibility for the next performance cycle by a day or a few? There might not be anything you can do about the raise but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything at all. What you can do here is throw in the idea of a performance based incentive or a bonus of some kind so you are not totally left out.

Additional Reading: Three Psychological Tricks to Increase Your Motivation at Work (and Pave the Way for a Higher Salary)

Next time you’re stuck at the negotiation table with a less than desirable offer, think about what else you can bring into the picture. Look beyond your monthly salary and you might just end up with a job offer that’s even better than you expected.


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