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How to Be Successful in Salary Negotiations

Career Tips from the EXPO REAL CareerDay – Part 3


At the EXPO REAL CareerDay students, graduates and young professionals could once again get profound impressions of occupational fields and career opportunities in the real estate sector on the third day of this year’s trade fair. A series of presentations gave insights into recruiting, especially in the property industry. The participants got tips for their application documents, salary negotiations and job interviews. In our three-part blog series we compiled the most important points for you.

It is not easy to find the right approach to salary negotiations. In her CareerDay presentation Inga Beyler, General Manager of Bernd Heuer & Partner Human Resources GmbH, gave some tips on how to get the best possible salary. 


There is No One Salary Formula

After university it is often difficult to get a realistic idea of how much to expect on the first job. The consequence? Excessive salary expectations of generation Y. To make appropriate demands you have to research benchmarks and prepare for your conversation with the future employer. “Speak to your fellow students or get an impression on the internet of the salaries usually paid in your region and industry. Network to find mentors and compare salaries”, Beyler recommends. There are differences: E.g., an investment manager makes more than a project developer, or a real estate agent gets a lower salary, but is also paid a variable profit share based on his/her success. “At this point you should ask yourself if you can live with an uncertain part of your salary, or whether you want to play it safe.” Depending on the qualification and the type of work, an entry level salary of Euro 36,000 to 50,000 can be expected after university in the property industry.

The Size of the Salary is not Everything

“Think about where you want to go”, Beyler advises and adds: “You should not make this decision about the salary only.” Graduates better think about whether their future job can satisfy them. “Do you want to take responsibility quickly? Are you willing to deliver above-average performance for an above-average career? Even late in the evening or at the weekend? Would you undergo any further training or even an additional course of studies to strengthen your position on the labor market?” These are questions which everyone should be able to answer, before deciding on a new job, says Beyler.

Salary Rises Must Be Deserved

The HR expert knows that you will soon want a salary rise, once you have established yourself in the industry. “Prepare appropriately, before you enter such conversations: Why do you deserve a salary rise? Gather sustainable arguments before you enter the negotiations. “Demanding a salary rise without having shown the performance to justify it will not result in success. “Prove yourself and rev up. Show your boss that you are worth more. But be aware: The property industry is currently going through a very good phase. But even these good times have to be expected to end at some point. If you do not get out everything you can in this boom era, you might be the first person to have to go in a bad phase.”

For an external rise in position the rule of thumb is a salary increase by about 20 per cent. If the job posting asks for your salary expectations, you should definitely answer in order not to fall through the cracks. For internal promotions an increase of no more than ten per cent can be expected. Beyerle recommends: “If you want to be promoted, point out quite clearly that you want to stay in your company, and ask what you have to do specifically to achieve the desired position.”

Particularly at the beginning of a career one should not overdo it, says the expert. She clearly recommends: “Keep it low.” This does not mean that you should sell yourself short. It is in fact important to determine one’s own value realistically. “Choose your career according to your personal skills and preferences and first show how you perform, before you make demands.” This approach will ensure a promising salary and a successful career.


Find more tips in Parts 1 and 2: “10 Tips for Your Application” and “The 10 Most Common Questions about Job Interviews”.


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