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The salary dialogue

For the vast majority of employees, their salary is renegotiated once a year in a salary dialogue between the employee and his/her manager. The right to renegotiate your salary is determined either by the relevant collective agreement or by the individual employment contract.

The annual salary dialogue is held between you and your manager. Here you have the opportunity to highlight how you have performed during the past year and justify why you should receive the salary you want.

If your employer is party to a collective agreement, the agreement specifies how salary setting takes place in the workplace. This agreement also sets out joint points of departure and principles for how salaries should be negotiated by the employers' organization and the trade unions. These may vary a little depending on which sector and industry you work in, but the process is largely the same. Your local union association does an important job as they participate in the process and affect the salary-setting procedure alongside the employer.

If your workplace does not have a collective agreement, regular salary reviews should be specified in your employment contract. If you are unsure about what you are looking at or if you would like assistance in interpreting your contract, feel free to ask our Membership Helpline.

Naturvetarna considers that the best model for salary negotiations is dialogue between the relevant manager and the employee in the annual salary dialogue. The traditional model of pay bargaining is that the local union association negotiates for all its members, however the employee still has a salary dialogue with his/her boss.

Salary increases due to promotions or in order to replace other benefits are to be negotiated separately.


What affects your salary level?

Naturvetarna prefers collective agreements in which salary levels are to be set individually, based on the individual's responsibilities, competence and performance. This may be formulated differently at different workplaces, but the employer must be clear about what affects salary levels and how employees can influence them.

At the salary dialogue meeting, the employee's efforts during the year are to be reviewed, as well as the goals set at the annual development dialogue. It is therefore important that there are clear and measurable goals that can be documented from this.

If business is going well, this should also be reflected in employee salary development. The years in which financial conditions are good should be used for steeper salary development curves while the poorer years will provide less.

The salary level in the relevant industry will also affect the salary level. If your employer is not providing the right level of salaries, this will affect their ability to recruit and retain staff.


The salary dialogue

The salary dialogue is to take place every year and is between the employee and the manager who has the mandate to determine salary levels. Your manager initiates the salary dialogue and arranges it for you.

During the dialogue, you follow up the year's results compared with the goals set in the previous salary dialogue.

You discuss:

  • your responsibilities
  • your work assignments
  • your skills levels
  • your achievements

Both operational and personal goals for the next year are set. What is necessary in order to achieve these goals? This may be anything from a new computer to skills development.

You and your manager will then agree on a new salary. Here you also have the opportunity to set salary targets for next year or longer and examine how to develop during that period in order to reach these targets.

It is important that there are clear and measurable goals documented from previous salary and development dialogues in order to be able to follow these up at the these meetings.

If you feel that you and your immediate manager do not communicate well, you can also request to speak with another manager who has the mandate to set your salary. You should also contact your local union association. As they have planned the process together with the employer, it is important that they know what is working and what is not. If you do not have local union representatives, contact our Membership Helpline for information and support.

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