More Than Half of Workers Do Not Negotiate Job Offers, According to New CareerBuilder Survey

Staff Report

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Do prospective employees attempt to negotiate their pay or do they simply accept what they are offered? A recent CareerBuilder survey found that the majority of workers (56 percent) do not negotiate for better pay when they are offered a job. Those who avoid it say they don't attempt it because they don't feel comfortable asking for more money (51 percent), they are afraid the employer will decide not to hire them (47 percent), or they don't want to appear greedy (36 percent).

While most job candidates avoid negotiating, the majority of employers are expecting a counteroffer. Fifty-three percent of employers say they are willing to negotiate salaries on initial job offers for entry-level workers, and 52 percent say when they first extend a job offer to an employee, they typically offer a lower salary than they're willing to pay so there is room to negotiate. But how much money is being left on the table? More than a quarter of employers who offer a lower salary (26 percent) say their initial offer is $5,000 or more less than what they're willing to offer.

The national surveys were conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder from May 24 to June 16, 2017 (which included representative samples of 2,369 full-time employers and 3,462 full-time U.S. workers across industries and company sizes in the private sector) and August 16 to September 15, 2017 (which included a representative sample of 2,257 full-time employers across industries and company sizes in the private sector).

Who is Most Likely to Negotiate?
Age: The survey found that a new hire's willingness to negotiate the first job offer may come with more experience. Forty-five percent of workers 35 or older typically negotiate the first offer, which is higher than workers ages 18-34 (42 percent).

Gender: Nearly half of men (47 percent) say they negotiate first offers, compared to 42 percent of women who say they do.

Industry/function: Information technology workers (59 percent) are the most likely to negotiate salary, followed by sales (55 percent), financial services (53 percent) and health care workers (48 percent).

Money is on Workers' Minds
When asked what motivates workers to do their job, 71 percent say the ability to provide for themselves and their families, followed by money (63 percent), the ability to make a difference (38 percent) and the ability to create something meaningful or cool (21 percent).

While finances are a top priority for workers, 79 percent say they do not earn their desired salary – with more than a third (36 percent) say they don't earn anywhere near it – and more than half (58 percent) say they do not think they are better off financially than their parents.

Further, while only 8 percent have current salaries of $100,000 or more, 21 percent say they feel they need to earn $100,000 or more in order to be successful.

Is Cash Being Left on the Table?
Those who don't have the courage to ask for more money might be missing out. More than 3 in 5 employers (63 percent) say they feel they have to pay workers more because the market is getting more competitive for talent, but more than half of workers (51 percent) have not asked for a raise. Additionally, more than seven in ten workers (71 percent) have accepted a job when they knew their skill set and experience were worth more than what they were getting paid.

Tips for a Successful Negotiation
Every negotiation situation is unique, but Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer at CareerBuilder, offers these strategies that can help you skillfully negotiate the terms and conditions of your employment:

  • Ask all of your questions: It's important to have all information on the table before you accept or reject an offer. It's OK to ask questions such as: Is this base only? When would you like an answer? Will there be a sign-on bonus? How will I be evaluated, and will there be an increase based on that evaluation?

  • Treat negotiation like a job interview: Remind the employer of the experience and education you have and why you are worth more, but understand the employer's restraints. There may be a salary cap that no amount of negotiation can loosen.

  • Consider more than the salary: Negotiating a job offer and negotiating a salary are not synonymous; consider the other factors you can negotiate that greatly impact your role and overall happiness with it, such as responsibilities, location, travel, flexibility, opportunities for development and perks.