Five Mistakes When Negotiating Medical Job Remuneration

Mistakes When Negotiating Medical Job Remuneration

Salary negotiation is something that many health professionals – particularly doctors – often approach with trepidation. You might think that there is no room to negotiate, or it might be your first job following training, and you don’t want it to fall through.

Here are five common mistakes many people make when negotiation remuneration packages.

Mistake #1: Disclosing your current or ideal package

Well, that’s it – you’ve just revealed the end point of the negotiation (aka showing your cards) Instead of talking about the value you can add in the position, or the salaries of comparable jobs, you have provided a virtual limitation to what the employer will offer you.

If you are pressured into disclosing what you are looking for, have a good answer at hand, and be ready to justify it. Don’t simply pick a number out of thin air – do some market research, and build up a strong case for your numbers.

Mistake #2: Becoming overly attached to a position

You might visit an employer and love the feel of the organisation. There’s a great team, the facility is fantastic, and it is exactly what you’re looking for in your next job.

The thing is – your enthusiasm will show, and many employers will use these feelings to drive down the remuneration package they are offering. Although it’s okay to show some enthusiasm, it is important to conceal this a little in order to put up a good negotiating front.


Mistake #3: Not understanding market forces

Remuneration packages are largely a function of the market. What you are paid for a GP job in regional WA may vary greatly from a similar position in metropolitan Sydney. Setting your salary goals too high or too low may make you appear out of touch, or worse yet, leave you out of pocket. It is not uncommon for people in the same position, with the same employer to be paid quite different amounts simply because the employer took advantage of this.

It’s good to talk to other people in the area, do some online research, or talk to a medical recruitment agency like Beat Medical about market rates and salaries for medical jobs in Australia.

Mistake #4: Not being ready to roll

Ambivalence shows to employers, and while it’s okay not to appear super-keen, it is important to understand that once you have negotiated a package you want, you should be ready to accept if it is right for you. Make sure you have clear timeframes in mind, and can make a commitment you can stand by.


Mistake #5: Highball offers

If you’re a new graduate registered nurse looking for a job, you’re probably not in the position to demand $500k and walk away!

Many people think that setting your negotiation at a very high rate will eventually result in the remuneration package ending in a place that you will accept. The issue with this is that it can start the relationship off the wrong way, and you will come across as being unreasonable- keep in mind that you’re going to have to work with these people after all.

If you want an above market salary, perhaps target a region or position that is in extreme shortage, and you will find that you will be more likely to get higher remuneration.


Consider that negotiation is a two-way street. Make sure you listen as much as you talk, and be prepared to make some concessions. Sometimes the best result is when both parties feel a little uncomfortable – this is often how you know you’ve reached the ‘sweet spot’.

If you’re not confident in negotiating remuneration, talk to the Beat Medical team. We are experts at negotiating remuneration for doctors and other healthcare professionals.

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