Salary Negotiation: What to Do when Your Offer Is Denied

If your salary negotiations have failed, you do need to consider your options. The failure may have been a simple inability to make a case for your raise, but there are other elements to be considered.

Salary Negotiation Issues

The situation in relation to your salary needs some thought. If a salary negotiation fails, the reasons for the failure have to be analyzed:

Did Your Negotiation Techniques Fail?

This question must asked on principle, when negotiations don't achieve the intended result. If you made any major mistakes in your negotiations, you need to know what went wrong, and why. You may also need to do some damage control, if there were any significant issues during the negotiation process.

On What Basis Did Negotiations Fail?

  • If they failed because the employer wouldn't accept an high end salary, the amount of the raise alone may have been enough to kill the negotiations.
  • If they failed because of a lack of flexibility on either side, the result is self explanatory.
  • If they failed despite a reasonable offer, you may consider the reason for failure to be a management initiated result. Management, for whatever reason, has decided not to negotiate.

Is There Any Credible Business Reason for the Failure?

  • If so, business considerations invariably override salary issues. The grounds for concern are that the business isn't doing well, not the failure of salary negotiations.
  • If not, it's a possibility. There may be business issues of which you should be aware, in self defense. If the employer is cutting back on salary increases, there has to be a reason for that. Check with any colleagues in the same position. If you see a pattern, you've found the problem.

Was there any indication of hostility, office politics or were there any personal clashes during the negotiation?

The fact is that some employers will use any reason to avoid salary negotiations. These conflicts would be enough to explain the problem. You may have better luck next time, but this isn't a great environment.


Any of the above reasons may find you considering your position with the employer. That's natural, but you should also consider that whatever you do will require planning.

The options are:

  1. Look for another employer. If you can't see any likelihood of getting further with the employer after the failed negotiations, that's a logical move, but you will also need to consider the career position. To achieve career progression, you'll require a job which meets your salary expectations. That's not necessarily going to happen overnight. You will need to maintain a working relationship with the current employer in the meantime, whatever your doubts.
  2. Try to find another avenue of approach to the employer. This option may or may not work, depending on circumstances. Keep an open mind about other possibilities. If business issues were the reason for the rejection of your salary offer, you may need to wait for a favorable business environment to achieve anything.