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News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Dec. 9, 2022: Salary negotiations can be scary. There’s a lot of pressure, and the stakes can be high. But for immigrants, this process can be especially daunting.

Here are the top six challenges immigrants encounter when negotiating their salary. Also included are expert tips from top negotiation skills training programs on how to overcome them.

Language barriers

If you’re not fluent in the local language, you could run into a few challenges. For one, you may have a tough time proving your worth to potential employers. You could also struggle to grasp what’s being said.

This could lead to a salary offer that’s far less than what you were hoping for. To tackle this obstacle:

  • consider taking a professional language course
  • practice by speaking with native speakers to level up your conversational skills
  • if you know someone bilingual, role-play your salary negotiation
  • let your interviewer know your language level so they can adjust their expectations and speaking rate

These are handy ways to ensure that you and your employer are on the same page.

Lack of knowledge about local labor laws

Labor laws dictate things like minimum wages, overtime pay, and vacation time. Such laws can vary from country to country. In the US, labor laws are also different from state to state. Knowing the labor laws can help you understand the benefits and protections you’re entitled to.

So, do your research and find the applicable labor laws in the country or state you’re negotiating in. Also, be sure to look up any laws that apply to your specific industry. Negotiation skills trainers say it’s important to understand them yourself instead of a potential employer breaking it down for you.

Cultural norms

Different cultures have different expectations when it comes to salary negotiations. In some cultures, bargaining is expected and even encouraged. In others, it’s frowned upon and considered impolite.

Even where asking for a higher salary is normal, the way of doing so can vary. For instance, in some places, the request needs to be direct. In others, it’s polite to be more subtle.

If you’re from a different culture, familiarize yourself with the local customs and expectations. Also, find out about potential cultural taboos or biases that could work against you. Practice haggling in the cultural context so you’re comfortable when it’s time to negotiate.

Lack of knowledge about the local market rates

A lack of knowledge about the local market rate for a certain position can place you at a disadvantage. Employers could take advantage of this and offer you less than someone with the same skills and experience.

So, once you find a job that sparks your interest, do some research. Look up the average salary for that position in your area. Then, compare what different employers are offering for similar roles. Also, try to talk to people in the same industry as they can give you valuable career advice that could strengthen your negotiating position.

Translating foreign work experience

Most employers understand that immigrants are likely to have work experience from their home countries. However, it can be difficult for employers to assess the value of this experience. This could lead to a lower salary offer than what you had in mind.

To make sure your foreign work experience is properly acknowledged:

  • share detailed and relevant information in the meeting
  • explain why that experience is valuable in the context of the job you are applying to
  • provide credentials or contact information for anyone who can vouch for your work experience

Fear of negotiating

Finding a job is usually a ticket to a better future. So, the fear of screwing up can be huge. As a result, some immigrants fear broaching the subject.

So, if you’re feeling anxious, talk to people who’ve been through similar experiences. They can give you advice on how to manage the process. Training and similar resources can also boost your confidence by teaching you key negotiation skills. So, try and find a course in your area or online.

Overall, salary negotiations can be challenging. Immigrants, however, face some unique hurdles that can hinder their progress. With a bit of preparation and research, though, they can be well-equipped to take control of the situation and get the best possible result.

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