Skip to content

Should I Negotiate Right Now? 3 Recession Resources

Should I negotiate right now? This question has been buzzing around and the answer still feels unclear. Negotiating during a recession can be difficult to navigate. Here are 3 resources to help you decide if and what you should negotiate.

It May Feel Like a Difficult Time to Negotiate

Right now may seem like a difficult time to negotiate. Money is tight right now for some, including companies and organizations. To decide if you should negotiate or what to negotiate, take into consideration how the company is doing. Some companies are doing great right now, some are doing okay, and others not. Suss out the current reality of the company. 

Some questions below are helpful in indicating a company’s financial health. They can help indicate whether it’s a good time to ask for a pay bump or other item. 

Should I negotiate right now?

 *It’s important to note that during an economic downturn the people that are affected by the wage gap suffer the most. The same people are “paying” the price decade after decade while others are really profiting. 

Do not let this economic downturn pressure you into thinking you are worth less. This is precisely what happens in each economic downturn. It reinforces that the people on the bottom stay on the bottom and those at the top remain. Rise from the bottom, rise from wherever you’re at. Rise to the top.

1. Should I Negotiate Right Now? Flowchart

Should I negotiate right now recession focus flowchart

Check out this flowchart to see where your company is at financially speaking. When looking for the “right time” to negotiate, take into consideration how the company is doing right now. These questions can help point the direction of the current reality of the company and help you identify what to do. 

Remember that your situation is unique. While one factor may be true, another factor may not fall into place. Lay out all the cards to really assess what is going on financially at your company. You know better than anyone else. Use your expert judgment to decide what is best. 

2. Should I Negotiate Right Now? Questions to Ask

Questions that can help indicate a company's financial health.

Here are some questions that can help indicate a company’s financial health:

  • Is the company hiring right now?
  • Is the company on a hiring freeze?
  • Are my coworkers furloughed?
  • Have colleagues recently been laid off?
  • Have I recently received recognition?
  • Is the company financially stable?

If now is not the right moment, know that you have other options. You can ask for other concessions in forms other than monetary increases (for now). Get creative. If you can imagine it, you can probably ask for it. Also, asking for a pay increase or other form of recognition plants the seed in your superior’s head of what path you are on and that you know what you are worth. 

What other measures do you use to assess to discover how a company is doing? Drop them in the comments below.

3. Should I Negotiate Right Now? Items to Negotiate Besides Money

Items to Negotiate Besides Money

Negotiating for non-monetary items can be a way to get closer to your worth if a company cannot offer you monetary increases. Take into consideration how the company is doing, assess their financial health and choose the negotiation strategy that’s best for your situation.

Money is tight right now for some companies and organizations. Some companies are suffering, yes. Some are doing just fine and those might be the ones paying you. Successful salary negotiations have taken place in this economic downturn. Don’t be afraid to ask for your worth. It’s worth a try and it shows the company that you know your value. Make this a temporary solution or in addition to your regular plan, and once the market gets back on track you can negotiate for monetary increases (potentially in addition to non-monetary items). 

Don’t be afraid to ask for a future negotiation or pay raise when things get back to “normal” – a new normal. 

Items to Negotiate Besides Money:

  • Vacation Time
  • Benefits
  • Work Hours
  • Flexible Work Options
  • Shorter Work Week
  • Title Change
  • Position Change
  • Professional Development
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • Commuting Reimbursement
  • Moving Expenses
  • Technology
  • Company Equity / Stock Options

What other items have you negotiated besides money? Drop it in the comments. Let’s all negotiate for more. 

It’s Still Okay to Get Paid

I don't know who needs to hear this... but it's still okay to get paid your worth

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s still okay to get paid. It’s still okay to get paid what you’re worth. It’s still okay to ask for your worth. 

An economic downturn affects those underpaid the most. An economic downturn, like the recession we’re in, happens approximately every 10 years (2008, 2000, 1991, 1982…). This is a pattern (different each time, but still a pattern). If you stop getting paid your worth every time there’s an economic downturn… you’re losing thousands upon thousands of dollars. If you get scared or feel timid or feel like it’s not “right” to ask for money during this time… just don’t. Get paid. To all the underpaid people out there… get paid. 

An economic downturn affects those underpaid the most.

You can still get paid for your worth. You can still ask to get paid for your worth. If it is very unlikely within your company for you to get an increase in pay right now because of a pay freeze or a hiring freeze, talk to your superior and get your conversations about an increase in pay, title change, senior position, tuition reimbursement, whatever it is, in writing. (Let us not forget, certain businesses and people are making billions right now.) 

When things start to get back to “normal” you can rely on these emails as evidence that you are due for this next increase. Get in writing how well you’re doing and how much you deserve so when the time comes, they will put their money where their mouth is. 

It May Not Seem Like the Best Time to Negotiate But…

Now may be the most important time to negotiate. Why? If you are underpaid now research suggests it may be impossible to catch up in the future (Kramer, 2018). “If you start out underpaid, and then your company gives you just two or three percent raise each year, you’re going to be way behind” (Kramer, 2018; Copeland (@copelandcoaching), 2018). Do not start out behind. Do not let this economic downturn determine your worth. You determine your worth.

It may feel like a tough time to negotiate. Seeing the weekly unemployment reports, furlough conversations, and uncertain economic outlook, it’s understandable to feel uneasy. While it may seem like a difficult time, demonstrating that you know your worth speaks volumes to your employer. 

Now may be the most important time to negotiate

Asking for your worth, no matter the timing, has a lasting impact on your lifetime earnings. Many companies bank on the fact that you will feel too timid during this time to ask for your worth. They may even use that against your negotiation tactics. While some companies are having a tough time making ends meet, others are doing just fine. Do your research to figure out if this applies to your situation. 

Even if you don’t get your desired amount (right now), you will have set your boundaries and you can set a date to renegotiate in the future when things are more stable. Set a date on the calendar where you and your negotiation collaborator have a set time and day to get back to your worth. Don’t wait too long, if your negotiation collaborator cannot deliver, this is a sign that you may need to start finding a place that values your worth. 

You’re Expected to Negotiate

Yes, even now. Companies expect that you will still negotiate. 

You may feel timid and lucky to even have a job. Understandable. But overcome that and take negotiation advice from negotiation expert and author of “Ask For More“, Alexandra Carter (@alexandrabcarter), “Most roles will have some room to negotiate, whether that’s salary or beyond, to accommodate both your own and the company’s needs” (Liu (@JLJENNIFERLIU), 2020; Carter (@alexandrabcarter), 2020). Companies expect you to still negotiate.

Showing that you are ready to negotiate demonstrates that you know your worth, you value yourself and your work is worth the rate. You negotiating also lets the company know that you understand basic business principles – one being that negotiation is always on the table. 

You're expected to negotiate

Take advice from negotiation expert Alexandra Carter (@alexandrabcarter): “I want women to know that some people will always ask for more, even in a recession and when times are tough. If someone’s going to ask, I want it to be you” (Liu (@JLJENNIFERLIU), 2020). Be the person that asks. 

One expert tip from career and negotiation authority, Claire Wasserman (@clairewassermanxo) of Ladies Get Paid, says, “Ask with empathy.” Take into consideration how the company is doing right now. The person on the other end of the negotiation may be in a difficult position and your demonstration of empathy could go a long way for your negotiation.

Have you negotiated during a recession? How have your recession negotiations gone? What other items have you negotiated besides money? Drop it in the comments. Let’s all negotiate for more. 

You are worth it. 
Negotiate for your worth.

You're worth it. You're worth every damn penny.

To support your negotiation process, check out the Top 5 Tips for a Smoother Negotiation.
To learn more about my journey, check out the A Negotiation Journey: Learning to Negotiate.

Never miss a negotiation post!


While the contents of this post and blog come from research and personal experience, each experience, situation and/or person has their own unique circumstances. This is not negotiation, financial or any other form of legitimate or official advice from an expert. Each individual should do their own independent, comprehensive research. Negotiation, career and all other decisions are the sole responsibility of each individual or party. Details found on the blog and in individual posts are opinions and should be treated as such for entertainment purposes only. Read further disclaimer information in the footer and on the Disclaimer page. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Should I Negotiate Right Now Recession Focus