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Negotiating for the best job offer

Esther Schindler | Aug. 25, 2008
The higher you are on the job ladder, the more successful you'll be in your salary negotiations.

"Typical" behavior covers a lot of ground, so we also asked about the last job search. Almost 9 out of 10 (87 percent) successfully negotiated during their last job offer before they signed their job contract. Fifty nine percent of respondents say their prospective employer met them at least partway, and they subsequently accepted the offer while 28 percent say their requirements were met. Only 8 percent agreed to the offer after the prospective employer held its ground, and 5 percent chose to walk away after their prospective employer stood firm or only met them partway.

Gender is not a factor in the salary negotiation process. Nearly all (94 percent) female respondents typically negotiate, compared to 93 percent of male respondents. Women were slightly more likely than men to leave negotiations open-ended (38 percent vs. 33 percent), but the difference is not statistically significant.

However, women should probably be more demanding in setting those specific job requirements because the women responding to the survey earn less than their male counterparts. Female respondents, on average, earn $149K annually compared to male respondents, who pocket $160K. Three quarters of male respondents earn over $100K annually, compared to 62 percent of the women.

On the other hand, the job seeker's age does matter. The older you are, the more likely you are to ask for more. Plus, employers are less likely to bend for younger people. Nearly one in five (18 percent) of 18- to 34-year-olds agreed to the last job offer after their employer stood firm with the offer.

Even if those statistics are reassuring, you may have butterflies in your tummy about actually saying, "Here's what I need." You aren't alone. One in five lack confidence in their ability to successfully negotiate a better package.

Although most respondents (92 percent) believe compensation negotiations are necessary to get the package they're worth, 24 percent believe that applicants who attempt to negotiate their compensation package are perceived negatively by employers.

Survey findings are based on 315 responses from a broad range of industries and with a wide variation in company size. Nearly three quarters (74 percent) of respondents were men and 23 percent were women (3 percent declined to answer). The average respondent is 43 and earns an annual salary of $158,100.


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