How to Negotiate for a Higher Salary

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This article is part of the Video Game Developer Salary series. See the annual pay for all video game jobs here.

Image courtesy of Jeroen van Oostrom /

Remember to negotiate your salary before you sign the offer contract.

If you go through the interview process with an employer and end up receiving a job offer (yay you!), the salary they offer could be lower than what you asked for. Should you take the offer, or negotiate for more?

If you’re just starting out in the industry, you’ll be tempted to just take the offer. But if you’ve done your research and honestly feel that the offer is lower than what others in your position are earning, then it’s okay to ask for more. Here’s how.

Be Confident: Negotiating Is Normal

It’s not impolite or greedy, it’s just a typical part of the offer process. In fact, many employers offer less than they’re actually willing to pay, because they expect you to ask for more. They’ll usually give it to you, as long as it’s reasonable. For entry-level positions in the game industry, you can probably get $3,000 to $5,000 more (annual salary), but only if you ask!

Re-emphasize That You Are Awesome

They obviously think you’re something special, otherwise they wouldn’t have offered you a job. Remind them why you’re amazing, and what great work you’re going to do for them. Be specific about which of your skills and talents will make you a strong contributor.

Make Your Counter-Offer

Start by letting them know that you’re pleased about the offer and that you’d like to discuss compensation in more detail. Here’s an example email that you can customize and expand to suit your needs:

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“Thank you for offering me the position of [position] at [company]. I’m excited about the possibility of working with such a talented group of developers! My research indicates that an entry-level salary for this position is closer to [desired salary], so I would like to speak with you further about the salary you have offered. I’m certain that we can come to a mutual agreement. When would be a good time for a phone call to discuss further?”

Be polite but be firm. If you’ve done your salary research, then you can feel confident that what you’re asking for is reasonable.

Be Prepared to Hear “No”

Not all employers are willing to negotiate. They may respond and say that the offer is final. If so, you’ll have to decide whether you want to take it, or just thank them for their time and continue your job search.

My advice is this: if the salary is close to your target range, and if you like the company and think it will be a great job, then go ahead and take their original offer. Otherwise, keep looking! There are plenty of jobs out there, so keep looking until you find a company you love that will pay you what you’re worth.

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Image: Jeroen van Oostrom /

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4 comments on “How to Negotiate for a Higher Salary
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