As the labor market continues to sway in jobseekers’ favor, it should come as no surprise that candidates also feel more inclined to negotiate their salaries before accepting a job offer.
New research from global staffing firm Robert Half shows that more than half of professionals polled (54%) said they tried to negotiate a higher salary with their last employment offer. Men and employees making more than $100,000 per year were most likely to negotiate.
Among the 28 U.S. cities in the survey, Miami, Los Angeles, and Phoenix have the most workers who negotiated compensation, while Pittsburgh, Sacramento, and Minneapolis have the fewest. Additional findings include:
- Two-thirds of men surveyed (66%) asked for more money, versus 46% of women.
- Professionals making more than $100,000 per year were most likely to negotiate an offer: 64% of this group said they had gone to the bargaining table.
- Of those who didn’t request a higher salary, 55% said it was because they were happy with the amount proposed.
In a separate survey of managers, more than one-third of respondents (35%) said they typically discuss pay with job candidates during the first in-person interview; 20% wait for the second meeting, and 15% bring it up when making the job offer. Thirteen percent talk about compensation during the initial phone or video screening.
“Companies need to regularly evaluate how their compensation packages stack up against the competition,” suggests Paul McDonald, senior executive director of Robert Half. “Workers care about their paychecks, but benefits and perks like vacation time, flexible scheduling and professional development options also weigh into their decisions.”
Tips for Negotiations
If you find yourself at the negotiation table with a job candidate, keep the following tips in mind!
- Don’t lead with the top amount you can offer. While it may seem intuitive to offer as much as you can when you find that elusive perfect applicant, most applicants assume that the starting offer will be negotiable and will ask for more—even if the amount you offered is within their expected range. When you can’t go higher, they may see that in a very negative light, even if the initial offer was as much as they were expecting.
- Pay attention to how they negotiate. How an applicant negotiates salary can give you some insight into how he or she handles stressful situations or potential conflict. Use this as an opportunity to further ensure this person is a good fit. (But remember that most people are nervous with this sort of interaction!)
- Don’t run away if the applicant’s expectations are out of your budget. Sometimes, there is a disconnect between the applicant’s wants and needs (or the average market salary for the position) and the employer’s budget. But all is not lost. When you find yourself in this situation, begin a dialogue on the other benefits you can offer that will help bridge the gap.
- Don’t get too hung up on how much the applicant currently makes. This is only one factor in whether the applicant will accept the salary you offer. For example, the applicant may make more than you can offer but may not have as much vacation time or benefits. Don’t dismiss a candidate too soon.