Salary and Benefits: To Negotiate, or Not to Negotiate?

penniesToday is the big day: you’re a recent grad and fresh on the job market.

After a series of applications, phone calls, and interviews, you’ve finally succeeded in landing your first job offer. But now comes the question that’s on the minds of many new hires: do I negotiate my salary or any of the other terms before I accept?

For most people—about 60% of Millenials, according to a survey by NerdWallet and Looksharp—the most common answer was no; I didn’t negotiate my salary. This brings up the common debate, especially for first-timers: to negotiate or not to negotiate?

The “sensible” response would be to accept and be grateful that we were able to get the job with little to no experience. Today, however, we’re going to tell you why you should consider taking the other route and negotiate your salary (and more).

Take a look below:

There’s always room to negotiate. According to the same survey by NerdWallet and Looksharp, nearly three-quarters of employers who were surveyed said they raise starting salary offers by 5 to 10% during negotiations. Most, if not all employers take into consideration the possibility that their candidates might want to haggle their pay, so there is no reason why candidates shouldn’t think the same.

A little risk won’t hurt. If that isn’t enough to convince you, here’s something else: out of those surveyed who did ask for an increase, 80% were somewhat successful. And while the risk was there, nearly 90% of the hiring managers surveyed have never retracted an offer due to negotiating. From the point of view of the hiring managers, 76% said candidates who negotiated came off more confident.

Negotiating now is better than negotiating later. Most people think that experience will get them the salary increases they need over time, but that isn’t necessarily the case. According to a report put out by the New York Federal Reserve, lifetime earnings are determined in your 20s, and the average salary growth begins to slow down after the first 10 years. By negotiating earlier on in your career, you may end up actually making more in the end than if you were to start negotiating down the road.

Now that you know negotiating salary isn’t impossible, here are a few dos and don’ts of negotiating.

Be modest. The key to negotiating a job offer is to make sure you are always modest when doing so. This should happen before the negotiating process begins. Be open and enthusiastic to the opportunity/offers they are giving you–it’s much better than looking disappointed–and from there, you can begin negotiating and expressing your concerns. 

Do not use others to negotiate. So your friend Bob landed the job before you, you know he makes x amount, and you’d at least like the employer to match that. Do not do this! You should never bring his name or any knowledge that you are aware of his salary to the table. Not only could that be a breach of privacy; bringing another (new) co-worker can jeopardize their reputation in the company and bring tension among your colleagues. On top of that, you don’t necessarily understand the credentials or experience that make Bob worth what he’s paid.

Use other job offers. However—if you happen to have another job offer in line, there is no reason why you can’t use that as leverage to negotiate with the employer. Just make sure you have some tact when doing so. Flaunting all the amazing job offers you have can make you seem arrogant in the interviewing process. 

Go beyond salary. The pay isn’t the only thing you can negotiate. If the employer seems reluctant to bump up your salary, consider discussing with them other benefits such as paid time off, work schedule, bonuses, and stock options. Seeing what else they have to offer can sometimes be more worthwhile than just negotiating for a higher salary.

What do you think? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

photo credit: Pennies via photopin (license)

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