How do I negotiate for more pay after a merge of positions?

Friday December 11 2020
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Caroline Mboijana

By Caroline Mboijana

Dear Caroline, 
I work with a small organisation as community coordinator. Recently, we hired a sales manager but then quickly noticed he wasn’t the person we needed and thus let him go. Since then, they suggested I take on roles of the sales manager. Unfortunately though, we did not discuss the payment, especially now that I’m taking on more roles. Since I am now merging two roles, how do I negotiate for a salary that reflects the amount of work? Denis.

Hello Denis,
It’s always a good thing when you are asked to take on more responsibilities by your supervisor.  An indication they believe you have both the competence and commitment to do well. 

While we can appreciate the need for a short-term fix in the form of you stepping in to cover some of the work, it is important this does not become the norm. Negotiating for reward is a sensitive matter and you need to go into a negotiation with all the relevant information that supports your position. 

Reward is informed by many considerations including academic qualification, experience, and competencies. In addition, reward considers the impact of the role, its output and how it contributes to the success of the organisation. Before you raise the issues with your supervisors please take a moment to review the cost -benefit of what is on the table. At a glance and based on the designations, it looks like there is significant difference between the roles. 

One is certainly more senior than the other so the competencies and requirements will be different.  An issue you need to be mindful of even before you start seeking clarification, is whether you actually want the role of sales manager for the long term. It’s important that you feel confident that you want and can do the job as well as have the requirements for the role. 

I make these observations and advise you consider them before you start negotiating your reward. The role you’re being asked to step into is a supervisory level role, the question is whether you bring to the table supervisory experience. 

In addition, the role requires one to have attained a certain level of academic qualification, together with technical and behavioural competence for the role. Do you bring these abilities to the table? Once you can present your attributes together with pushing the argument related the volume of additional work you’ll be taking on, you’ll be in a strong position to negotiate for an appropriate reward.  


I would also advise that you get commitment from your management to find your replacement at the coordinator level. 

Caroline Mboijana,
Managing Director,

The Leadership Team (U)