Deal Or No Deal? Half Of U.S. Employees Don’t Negotiate Salary

August 24, 2013  |  

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You wince when your employer breaks down your salary and benefits. “I deserve more,” you say to yourself.  Am I overstepping my boundaries by cutting a better deal? Maybe I should keep quiet–I have a job! According to CareerBuilder, these types of ruminations keep nearly 50 percent of U.S. workers from negotiating their offers, Forbes reports.

“Part of the hesitance in negotiating could be attributed to inexperience in the workforce, where the worker assumes that the first offer is the final offer,” Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder said. Another reason may be the competitive market. At this point, many workers would accept any offer out of desperation, especially after long-term unemployment.

When it comes to entry-level positions, Rasmussen says, there wouldn’t be much point in negotiating since employers usually offer standard wages. But, if you are in a field where skilled workers are scarce, such as engineering and technology, the employer will likely consider your counteroffer.

If you can appropriately cut a deal with your employer, do so. Taking the first offer will stifle your earning potential. “[M]any employers expect to negotiate, so they don’t necessarily give you their best offer up front,” Rasmussen adds. But asking for a higher salary takes more than just your own word.

Here’s what Rasmussen suggests negotiators do to heighten their chance of a better benefit package:

If the offer falls short of the value you believe you can provide to that organization, I would ask for – and show third party research on — the figure that best matches the market rate for your skills and experience. If you’re a current employee, make sure to come armed to the meeting with a file of specific ways you have contributed to the success of the organization and how your role has expanded.

Not only will you be grabbing a better salary, but you will be showing your employer your drive and “that you are someone who is driven and understands how to get the most out of a situation,” Rasmussen said.

Besides being reluctant to demand better compensation, the CareerBuilder study finds that gender and age have an impact on who’s more likely to negotiate.  About 54 percent of men wouldn’t accept a first offer without a discussion, compared to 49 percent of women. Among workers over the age of 35, 55 percent would make a counter-offer. Forty-five percent of 18-34-year-olds would do likewise.

On the other side of the desk, professional and business employers are most likely to accept the negotiation while sales employers are least likely to do the same.

The survey asked 3,000 full-time U.S. employees and 2,000 hiring managers about their negotiating practices from May 14 to June 5, 2013.

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