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How to Negotiate for Your Job Salary Due to Relocation

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A new chapter in your professional career and moving to a new location all at once can be exciting, provided you have the means and your employer is open to negotiating a salary and benefits package that serves you well in your new city. Avoid going into salary negotiations blind -- do your research and set your sights high because it's not just about the money you need to be successful. It's the support you need for making a smooth transition.

Contemplate Change

Look for differences between the responsibilities of your current job and the one you're accepting to ensure that the job is comparable to your level of expertise and qualifications. In some cases, employees accept a job offer and relocation, only to discover that the job is more challenging than they anticipated, so they end up struggling with not just a new job but getting accustomed to a new city and lifestyle. If this is a promotion, visit your new location a couple of times to learn more about the workplace culture and the people. Moving to a new city and going into a new job can be overwhelming. Prepare yourself for change, even if you're staying with your current employer -- the workplace culture might be different, depending on the geographic location.

Comparison Shopping

Compare salaries in your current city to those in your new location. The cost of living may differ and, naturally, the difference between your current standard of living versus the location to where you relocating will factor into your salary negotiations. Online calculators will help you determine the differences between geographic location, including salary differentials to measure whether your pay should be upgraded to adjust to the cost of living in your new city. If your employer routinely relocates employees or has a structured compensation plan, ask for the company's salary schedule for the new location. That's your starting point -- not the maximum of what you should request, because you have the added expenses of moving and possibly selling a home and buying a new one. Relocation shouldn't mean taking a loss.

Maintain Quality of Life

Also, quality of life is a factor when you're contemplating relocation. Strive for a salary that enables you to have the same -- or higher -- quality of life in your new city than you have in your current hometown. Relocating for your employer should never be a backward step in your career. The challenges of finding where you belong in a strange area will only compound any on-the-job frustration you could have. Therefore, make it worthwhile for you to relocate and assure your employer that the salary bump is warranted.

Go Up But Never Down

Always negotiate for a salary increase, never a decrease, even if the cost of living in the new location is lower than where you're currently living. The rationale is that you're building a new life in a strange location and you may be uprooting your family to accommodate your professional growth. If the cost of living is lower, never volunteer to take less pay; if that's the case, stay at your same pay rate.


Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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