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Experts offer key pointers on approaching the subject of wage as the economy evolves in 2011.

As they usher in 2011, specialists are hinting at a better climate for the economy, employment and even wage negotiations. Recent surveys indicate a growing number of employers are concerned that their top talent might leave when the economy improves. The result: More employers are willing to negotiate on wage than they have been since the Great Recession.

If you are looking for a raise at your current gig, or hoping to get more out of a wage negotiation with a brand spanking new employer, you may have more leverage in 2011 than 2010 and the earlier years.

To get the most out of the chance requires that you use some updated tactics, said several wage specialists. Here, several offer a six-step method to get the most out of a 2011 wage negotiation:

    1. Verify the company’s fiscal health. Find out whether your firm or the new company is growing and optimistic, said Michael Crom, chief learning officer at Dale Carnegie Training. If your company is keeping its head above water, they notes, asking for a raise or pressing the hiring manager to increase the beginning wage might not be realistic.
    2. Know & document your value. You must have a history of adding value to your employer, such as saving the company a significant amount of money or increasing its visibility, said Debra Benton, an executive coach based in Fort Collins, Colo. Collect an e-mail portfolio of compliments from vendors, peers, colleagues & customers, as well as documents showing what you have done to make or save the company money & provide the paper trail to your boss the day before your performance review, said Danny Cahill, president of Hobson Associates, a recruiting firm in Connecticut. “Be gutsy & say, ‘Based on what is in that portfolio, is it fair to say I deserve a raise?” Cahill explains.
    3. Use your best people skills. “Don’t get emotional or confrontational in any way. Don’t put the boss in a place where he will lose face,” Crom said. It’s important that you be genuinely interested in your boss & try to see things from her point of view, he said.
  1. Rehearse the conversation. Crom said role-playing beforehand will help you avoid getting emotional in the work of the actual talk. Think about what your boss would say, what objections he might have regarding a raise, & the way you would handle it in a professional & positive way, Crom explains. “How they reply to an objection could make all the difference in whether or not they receive a raise,” he said.
  2. Be first. When interviewing for a used job, inquire about the wage range for the position before someone asks what wage you require, said Benton. For example, if you are currently making $40,000 and the range for the new position is $50,000 to $70,000, then you are in the range, they explains. “I recommend bringing up anything uncomfortable to discuss, and money is uncomfortable,” they said.
  3. Understand what a wage range means. If you’re in the running for a job where the employer has listed the wage range at $130,000 to $180,000, don’t be miffed in the event that they offer you less than $180K, Cahill said. If you’re currently earning $135K, & the employer offers you $150K, “you ought to be thrilled,” they explains, because companies usually look at what you’re earning, & offer that wage and 8 to ten percent.

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By Kristina Cowan for the Ladders

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