salary negotiation, woman holding $100s in cash

Now that you have the offer, are you thinking of skipping the salary negotiation?

If you’re not comfortable with the idea of negotiating salary, you’re in good company. In fact, according to the 2018 Job Seeker survey released earlier this year by talent software provider Jobvite, 46% of the surveyed job seekers feel intimidated at the thought of asking for better compensation in a salary negotiation.

Reluctant job seekers think “the offer’s in the salary ballpark I gave them; should I really push for more?” and “it’s more than I’m making now, do you think they’ll pull the offer if I push back?”

It’s completely understandable to feel skeptical that a salary negotiation will pay off or worry that you’ll risk losing the job offer. Given these dynamics, and others, the report goes on to indicate that only 31% of job seekers step up to ask for better pay.

Here’s why it’s a huge mistake, in most cases:

In the survey, 85% of those who engaged in a salary negotiation received higher pay after doing so.

What’s more?

  • 44% of the people who asked for more money got an increase between 5-11%
  • 21% of the people who asked for more money got an increase of 11-20%

The numbers highlight a gender gap in negotiations, as well. Only 26% of women participated in a salary negotiation, contrasted with 35% of the men. Among both men and women who did decide to negotiate, they were fairly equally successful, with both groups having about an 85% success rate. One difference between genders did emerge, however; a larger percentage (23%) of males used another job offer from a different employer as leverage in their salary negotiations, while only 17% of women did so.

Why would someone not negotiate salary?

However, if we go back to the idea that 46% of job seekers are uncomfortable conducting a salary negotiation, at least some of them never even asked whether a higher salary was possible. Many job seekers don’t ask, either because they don’t believe it will work, don’t want to risk their job offer, or aren’t really sure how.

Of course, statistics never paint the full picture. It’s possible that the smaller pool of job seekers who advocated for higher pay had already self-identified as being more likely to get a positive outcome.  Perhaps they read their situation correctly, and knew that there was a higher likelihood of a successful salary negotiation.

Conversely, it’s likely that SOME of the non-negotiators knew ahead of time that it wouldn’t get them anywhere. Some of them might have heard a hiring manager saying “this is the absolute best we can do,” (which actually invites you to negotiate on something other than salary). And some people who didn’t conduct a salary negotiation may have felt financial pressure to accept anything, just to get the job. Of course, you need to ask kindly, and not come back with an unreasonable demand compared to their original offer.

Your chances of a salary increase if you don’t negotiate: 0%. The success rate for those who did, in this survey? 85%.

If that’s you, and you’ve been reluctant to speak up when making prior career moves, then now you know – the odds are in your favor to get more money, just by asking for it.