Negotiating Salaries with UGA Career Outcomes Data


If you have reached the point of salary negotiation in your job search process, congratulations! Interviewing can be a long, tedious process on both sides, which is why it is important to make sure the job is a good fit and meets the needs of both the employer and you, the candidate.

Negotiating salaries and benefits can seem intimidating but keep this in mind: if you have received an offer, you know the employer believes in your qualifications you and you are on your way to securing a position . And if you come to the table equipped with the right knowledge and tools, you can have a better estimate of what to ask for with evidence that strongly supports your case. You should always start by highlighting your own strengths and unique skills that you bring to the table and augment your value as an employee. However, when it comes to establishing a reasonable target for salary expectations, having the appropriate data to support your position is key.

Luckily, the UGA Career Outcomes initiative compiles salary data from thousands of UGA students who can most easily be compared to you based on the same university background, the same degree, and comparable experiences and skill sets. In fact, with a knowledge/response rate of 88%, we can provide you with data on the career outcomes and salary data of most University of Georgia alumni. Here, we are going to examine how this data can be navigated and utilized to your advantage in your salary negotiations.

One thing to note: Using the career outcomes data from UGA alumni can also provide you with a more accurate outlook on the outcomes of alumni who graduated with the same degree as you. However, it is still highly useful and recommended to use career outcomes data from national research databases. Some of the top salary research resources include PayScale.com, Salary.com, Glassdoor, and Paycheck City. These can provide you with national career outcomes data and salary/bonus data localized to specific cities and specific positions closest to yours for comparison. Find links to these resources, and a few more, on the UGA Career Center website.  

Before Looking at Career Outcomes Data

It is vital that you calculate an estimate of your monthly expenses if you accept a job offer. Would you have to re-locate? Is the cost of living in your new location higher or lower than where you currently live? Would you have to make any changes in your method of transportation to work (start taking the bus, train, walking, driving, biking, etc.)? Evaluating these expected changes in addition to your monthly budget for food, healthcare, savings, entertainment, and more is necessary to you determining a minimum acceptable salary. These can be estimated on your own or with the help of an online program such as NerdWallet. Once you have established a budget, then you can begin to assess whether your offer will meet your needs and how the offer compares to national averages.

Navigating the UGA Career Outcomes Data

The Career Outcomes initiative collects information for graduates up to 6 months after their graduation date. You can sort through career outcomes results by college or by major. Under our Historical Data tab, you can find career outcomes data for previous classes and compare how salary data and job titles have changed over the years. Each class contains graduates from the August, December, and May graduates leading up to and within that year. So, the Class of 2019 data includes the career outcomes of alumni who graduate in August 2018, December 2018, and May 2019 data.

Using UGA Career Outcomes Data in a Negotiation

Knowing the numbers related to your field gives you the best starting point for setting a realistic objective in your negotiations. When you search through the Career Outcomes data on the website, you should review the job titles, salaries, and bonuses received by alumni who recently graduated with your major. You can also compare the data from the most recent class to the same data collected from previous classes to help you identify any trends in the field that might be beneficial to know before entering your negotiation. You should also take note of the job titles, salaries, and bonuses of alumni who have graduated with similar majors and who might have received jobs within the same or similar industry that you are applying for.

Salaries for similar job positions at different companies may often differ. Salary differences could be due to location or individual situations, but it is important to understand the range in which you could expect to negotiate for a salary. Knowing the salary range can provide you with two huge benefits: you can avoid citing a lower salary than what the company was ready to offer and you can show your willingness to compromise by providing a range of acceptable salaries instead of a single salary point.

It can be helpful to explore the differences in salary between alumni who received jobs within your field AND your level of degree (bachelors, masters, doctoral, post-doctoral) and alumni who received jobs within your field with a different level of degree. This can give you a better picture of the salary level that you are more likely to receive or that you should negotiate for. Alumni with graduate degrees (masters and higher) tend to accept job offers with higher salaries than alumni with bachelor’s degrees.

The Career Outcomes initiative is designed to be a helpful tool for our alumni in salary negotiations. Bulldogs never bark alone, and we are here to support you in your decision-making and career planning as a student and an alum of the University of Georgia. If you have any other questions, you can always call the UGA Career Center to book a free appointment with one of our career consultants.

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