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How to Negotiate a Lateral Move Salary

by Shala Munroe, studioD

When making a lateral move either within the same company or with a different organization, you want more than just a new job – you also want to benefit financially. Negotiating a salary for a move that's not a promotion isn't easy because the manager might assume you'll make a lateral move in pay as well as responsibilities. However, coming to the table armed with some ammunition can help your case.

Why Make a Lateral Move

Making a lateral job move doesn't mean you're treading water in your career. Departments and companies have different organizational structures, and some have more promotion opportunities than others. Moving into a position with the same amount of responsibility in a department or business offering more potential to move up might help you climb the ladder faster. You also learn new skills when you change positions, which makes you more marketable when seeking your next job or promotion. Lateral moves take you away from your existing co-workers and management – at least immediate management, if you're staying with the same company – allowing you to shine in front of a new crowd as you learn from their experiences.

What You Bring

When negotiating your new salary, come prepared with a list of your accomplishments in your current position and an action plan for the new position. Note any ways in which you generated revenue for the company, saved money, improved efficiency or increased productivity for yourself or other members of your department. List ideas on how you can apply that same type of critical thinking to the new position, clarifying that you must be in the position to understand it fully and fill in the details of your action plan. Having this list readily available gives you more leverage when negotiating a higher salary for a lateral move.

Skills in Multiple Areas

To convince your new manager to add to your current salary when you make a lateral career move, show him how he's getting more bang for his buck. The skill set you developed in your current position remains when you change jobs, then you build on those skills and develop new ones as you become proficient at the other position. This gives you the ability to perform double-duty when necessary, filling in for someone in your old position when necessary or serving as a consultant and offering advice to coworkers performing your old duties.

Base Salary on Performance

When the hiring manager seems hesitant to agree to your desired salary, offer small steps up over the course of several months or the next year based on your performance in the new position. For example, set clear performance benchmarks for three months, six months and one year, then decide on how much your salary would increase each time when you meet the benchmarks. This reassures the manager you're dedicated to success and feel confident you're worth the money you're asking for. You have to wait a bit longer for the money you want, but you have clear expectations of what you must do to earn the raises.

About the Author

Based outside Atlanta, Ga., Shala Munroe has been writing and copy editing since 1995. Beginning her career at newspapers such as the "Marietta Daily Journal" and the "Atlanta Business Chronicle," she most recently worked in communications and management for several nonprofit organizations before purchasing a flower shop in 2006. She earned a BA in communications from Jacksonville State University.

Photo Credits

  • Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images