Job seekers are negotiating their salaries more than ever. If you accept your first offer, you're likely leaving money on the table, and if you don't ask, the answer is always no. Now, with record-low unemployment, job seekers have the power.
"Candidates are now firmly in the driver's seat, and they know it," said Rachel Bitte, chief people officer at Jobvite. "They aren't afraid to ask for more when it comes to compensation and benefits once they know a company is interested in them."
We talked to HR and career experts about why salary negotiations are important, how recruiters view negotiations, and why job candidates are negotiating more.
Salary negotiations don't deter many recruiters.
It can be intimidating to ask for more money, but you don't have much to lose. According to Jobvite's 2018 Recruiter Nation Survey, 43 percent of recruiters say it doesn't impact their view of a candidate if they negotiate their salary. Nineteen percent of recruiters say it has a positive impact, while only 10 percent say it has a negative impact.
"Often, when people told me they're cautious about negotiating for fear of coming across too demanding or greedy, I've told them we're (I'm a former recruiter) more surprised when candidates didn't negotiate than when they did," said Vicki Salemi, Monster career expert.
"Every candidate has the right to negotiate their salary," said Jim Leahy, director of people and talent acquisition at WayUp. "However, candidates who fail to research critical factors regarding compensation tend to draw the ire of recruiters and can raise a few red flags."
To avoid looking unprepared during negotiations, you need to do your research and have a statement ready. [Read related story: Closing the Wage Gap: Salary Negotiation Tips for Women]
Job candidates are negotiating more.
According to Jobvite’s survey, almost 75 percent of recruiters have noticed an increase in salary negotiations in the past year. There are several reasons job seekers are negotiating more, including low unemployment and an increase in online resources.
"Tools like Glassdoor, PayScale, Salary.com and even the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provide critical information for job seekers who are trying to explore whether or not they're being paid fairly, what opportunities exist, and whether or not there is potential for a compensation increase," Leahy said.
Salemi believes candidates are negotiating more because people – including the media – are talking about salaries, the importance of negotiation and how to negotiate.
"People are feeling empowered," she added. "Plus, it's a hot job market – there's a labor shortage, and employers are challenged to fill jobs faster with quality candidates. Job seekers aren't feeling desperate for a job; instead, they're feeling empowered."
Salary negotiations are important.
Negotiating your salary is important for a number of reasons. For one, it's a lot easier to increase your salary before you start than it is afterward.
"Negotiation will increase your income not only in the short term but also down the road, as salary growth builds throughout your career," said Bitte. "If you accept the first offer, you could be leaving money on the table and fail to maximize your earning potential over the long haul."
"Negotiating is incredibly important because you're standing up for yourself; you're tapping into skills to ask for more, which ultimately sends the message that you deserve it," added Salemi.
She suggests thinking about salary negotiations as part of the hiring process the same way you think about having a resume and going to an interview. "Negotiating is simply part of the process."