As a fresher, one of the major aspects of your job search process will involve salary negotiation. A healthy and beneficial negotiation could set the tone for your work-life relationship with your employer.

Negotiating SalaryAccording to a recent study, 8 out of 10 companies are willing to negotiate salary but only 3 out of 10 candidates ever try. There are almost 70% women and 54% men who do not negotiate salary even after receiving a job offer wherein 55% women and 39% admit to being scared of negotiating their salary. On an average, candidates who negotiate their salary can increase their starting salary by INR 6000-8000. If you fail to negotiate your salary at the beginning of your career, it can cost you substantial earnings in the course of your career. However, it is best to wait for an offer letter before you begin the negotiations or else it might seem that money was your primary motivator.

Why Freshers Should Consider Joining Start-Ups?


Earlier, most graduates would prefer joining an MNC or a large corporation as it added weight to their resumes with the brand name. However, in the last 5 years, the number of start-ups is considerably on the rise and thus, freshers are now positively looking at joining a start-up as their first job.

According to a recent study by Nasscom Data, there are 3,100 start-ups in India and it is the fastest growing and 3rd largest country for start-ups in the world. 70+ VCs and PEs have invested more than $2 billion in India in the last 5 years. By 2020, the start-up eco-system is expected to expand four-fold. This makes start-ups a great place to begin fulfilling careers. Salary is a greater motivator for success, no matter what is the size of the organization. However, the compensation approach is quite different in a start-up and an established corporation.

Negotiating Salary at a Start-Up


One of the primary considerations while negotiating a salary at a start-up is to understand that a start-up can offer a lot of intangibles like flexibility in timings, unique cultures, and a robust benefits package. A start-up is a great place to experiment and test new ideas and companies in the ecommerce and tech space are also good packages that are on par with MNC offers. As per the Nasscom Data, 82% start-ups are paying more than the market median, and 63% start-ups have a direct link between performance and compensation.

Tips for Start-up Negotiations:

  • Ask About Equity Options
  • 83% start-ups are using stock options for long-term incentives. You can ask about stock options to enhance your incentives package. If the company is not public as of now, the shares won’t be associated with a number but when it does go public; your returns will be lucrative. Google recently employed an Indian professional at a salary of 1.2 crore per annum, in which half of it is in the form of ESOP (Employee Stock Option Plans). Infosys was one of the pioneers to offer ESOPs and has created millionaires of many employees. This can be a great motivation for freshers to negotiate the equity options and look at long term benefits.

  • Get Creative
  • At a start-up, you can always ask for creative benefits like tuition fees if you plan to continue further studies with some distance learning course that can benefit your position in the company. Since the policies are not rigid in a start-up, you have an opportunity to get benefits that are out-of-the-box!

  • Customized Benefits
  • Start-ups are embracing an employee-friendly culture and thus, they are more open to new ideas about working environments. You can ask for customized benefits like paid sick leaves or vacation days, flexible working schedule (maybe 4 days a week with 10 hours working) or a chance to telecommute or work from home for a few days

Negotiating Salary at an Established Enterprise


Sometimes, freshers seeking a job want the reliability and stability that a large corporation can offer. However, you will need a different kind of negotiation hat here as the policies are quite different.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Brand Name Discount – Large corporations are known to offer a lower base salary in exchange for the brand name that comes on the resumes of their employees. Especially for freshers, there is a chance of getting a low package. It is important to maintain composure during the negotiations and analyse whether the pay cut is worth the brand name.
  • Additional Benefits – Many corporations offer contributions to a retirement plan, or give a discount for a corporate membership in various places. In India, many large MNCs also offer food coupons like Sodexo to employees that help in tax saving as well. Look for such benefits that can help put money back in your pocket.
  • Assess the Value of the Incentives – Many corporations may cut the base salary but they do offer some intangibles that can add value to life. For e.g., some companies offer health insurance for your family as well. This can help save a lot of money in the future and will improve your quality of life as well.
    • Regardless of the size of the company, negotiating a salary requires patience and careful consideration. You must research the benefits well and discuss it with a professional or a mentor if you are unsure about the true value of the offer. Whether you decide to take up the exciting life at a start-up or climb the corporate ladder, with proper salary negotiations, you will definitely get better opportunities in the future.