How to Negotiate Your Salary for a Better Paycheck

We hear a lot of stories abroad about Filipinos complaining that their salary is not good enough, only to realize that a coworker with the same job title is making more than them, and even if they do the same work. This is how it is when you work overseas, salaries can vary depending on your skills and experience.. There may be a general salary bracket in terms of a certain job position. However, if you want to try to get a better pay, you should learn how to negotiate your salary.

It has been in ingrained in our culture as Filipinos to accept the first job offer that comes along. Along with it comes the salary and other benefits package that the employer offers. It seems Filipinos in general do not negotiate in the bargaining table. This can be because of our aforementioned cultural identity and our perceived lack of negotiating skills but there are other factors that we must consider as well.

We have to remember that when we go into the job interview we are already selling ourselves. If we sell ourselves short, we will not get the salary commensurate to our qualifications. We have a direct hand in getting a better salary, we just do not pounce on the opportunity. Perhaps we are afraid of losing the job offer but we must also remember, our livelihood is what we depend on for our family.

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9 Things to Remember Negotiating your Salary During a Job Interview to get a Better Pay

Remember that the contract you’re signing when you’re working abroad is binding and for a minimum of 2 years and you have to be with that employer/company. If you’re not happy with the negotiation and you still accept the job, then you might regret it in every month when you receive your salary.

We believe, this is probably one of the top skills one should learn and develop during job interviews overseas: Learn to Negotiate! Don’t Say Yes the First Time.

Here are some of other things that we have to remember if we are to begin negotiating effectively for a better salary package.

1. Don’t settle for the first offer. Don’t immediately settle for the first offer. Negotiate for a better salary. If you cannot touch the figures, you can negotiate the allowances (like annual leave, sick leaves, health insurance, etc.). If the salary itself cannot be negotiated after trying, then still push for benefits like health, insurance, flight tickets, overtime pay, commission (if you’re in sales), etc. These small things can help a lot especially when you’re saving for the future.

2. Don’t convert your salary into home currency right away. A lot of applicants, especially for first time OFWs, immediately converts the amount of the first offer into local currency. But we might forget that we are in a foreign country where our Philippine peso conversion is not BIG.

Your boss knows the conversion rate, so you should also learn the cost of living and expenses in the country where you’re planning to work.

3. Conduct your own research. Make sure you know what kind of company you’re getting yourself into. Do not go into the interview or negotiation table blind. You are already selling yourself short if you come unprepared. Your potential employer would seize on this and make you sweat for your salary.

4. Know your strengths and what sets you apart. You know your capabilities as a worker. You know what you can offer, you know what can set you apart from the rest of the pack. Highlight this when you are negotiating but be sure you can back it up with your previous performance. However, do not oversell yourself, you might turn your employer off if you come out as arrogant or too aggressive.

5. Listen and learn when to talk. As you go through the interview, you will sense when you have the upper hand. Answer the questions our interviewer poses to you as honestly as possible. Be conversant, be confident and impress him to give you a chance to shine. Show your willingness to listen and show your analytical side so you’ll get to impress him more.

6. Be flexible in negotiating. Now, when the salary offer comes up, do not immediately accept it. Consider the offer and leave the interviewer hanging for a bit before you make your counterproposals. Ask whether the salary is negotiable or if it is firm. Ask if it is just the base offer and other benefits would still be added. Never be the first one to throw a salary figure at the table. Instead, wait for the potential employer to give you a number. If you’re the first one to throw an offer, you remove your negotiating advantage.

7. Ask politely if there are other add-ons. If you successfully negotiated your base salary, you can ask about other inclusions in the package. Ask if you have a sign-on bonus or other fringe benefits in the package. Be flexible and polite in asking as this helps a lot in getting what you want.

8. Find a salary range that is acceptable to you. When you go into negotiating, make sure you have a minimum salary in mind. You should not go below this figure and make every effort to reach this salary. If you are satisfied, then you can close the deal and have it in writing. Do not go out unless you have everything in writing to cover your bases.

9. Do not bluff about other job offers. A great tip to consider is never to bluff about other job offers to force a higher salary offer. It might backfire especially if you do not make a great first impression in the first place. Never pit two potential employers against each other as you’ll get a bad reputation.


Negotiating a better salary should come as second nature for OFWs especially if they really want to get a commensurate salary. Aiming for a better salary package is not wrong especially if you are worth it and can back up your salary with great effectivity and performance. Negotiate with enough patience and respect but still make sure you will not be exploited in the job market.

For plenty of Filipinos, a lot of us might be uneasy when talking about our salary, but let’s try to overcome these challenges of being ‘shy’ and having a “Yes, Ma’am/Sir” attitude especially when abroad. If we have the skills and experience to show, then we should try to be confident and not just keep our thoughts to ourselves.

We hope you find the tips above useful as this really is a long-term benefit. Let’s stay strong and accept the challenge in being confident of ourselves when applying for jobs and asking for better compensation packages. Good luck!

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