Let's make a deal! New hires want higher pay.

 
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Today's job seekers have become quite confident in their bargaining power, and a majority of candidates are no longer accepting the initial salary offer.

More than half (55%) of professionals tried to negotiate a higher salary during their most recent employment offer, a big jump from the 39% who tried to negotiate just one year ago, according to a survey of 2,700 professionals by staffing firm Robert Half. Main reason for the spike: the hot economy.

"With the odds in their favor, it's little wonder more professionals are comfortable negotiating not only salary but also nonmonetary benefits, such as vacation days, flexible scheduling and professional development," said Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half.

Did you try to negotiate higher pay at your last job offer? 2019 2018 Yes 55% 39% No 45% 61% Source: Robert Half survey of 2,700 professionals Note: Table made from pie chart. Employers expect it. The survey also found that employers aren't digging in their heels on starting pay. In fact, a full 70% of senior managers say they expect some amount of back-and-forth on salary. And 62% of those companies are more open to negotiating starting pay than they were just a year ago.

How do organizations set initial salary offers? According to a CareerBuilder survey, about one-third of employers say they track what competitors pay comparable employees via market average reports (34%) or via job postings (33%). But 35% say they track no outside data.

In recent years, fewer organizations are using applicants' past salary histories in setting initial pay. That's due, in part, to the spike in cities and states that ban employers from asking questions about past pay as a way to block wage discrimination.

How to stop your offer from becoming a bargaining chip

The hot job market also means some of your candidates may be weighing other job offers. How can you tell if...

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