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3 Things You Don’t Know About Negotiating Salary

To compile the recently issued Salary Negotiation Guide, PayScale asked 31,000 people whether they'd ever negotiated their salary. Fifty-seven percent said they had not. Given that not negotiating salary can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime -- and that 75 percent of people who ask get at least some kind of salary bump -- it obviously makes sense to hit the bargaining table before you accept a new job offer or let your annual review go by without initiating a discussion about money. Still reluctant? Arm yourself with the facts.

To compile the recently issued Salary Negotiation Guide, PayScale asked 31,000 people whether they’d ever negotiated their salary. Fifty-seven percent said they had not. Given that not negotiating salary can cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a lifetime — and that 75 percent of people who ask get at least some kind of salary bump — it obviously makes sense to hit the bargaining table before you accept a new job offer or let your annual review go by without initiating a discussion about money. Still reluctant? Arm yourself with the facts.

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(Photo Credit: infomastern/Flickr)

1. Workers with low job satisfaction are more likely to ask for a raise…

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…but less likely to get it. (Fifty-four percent of workers who report low job satisfaction ask for a raise, but only 19 percent get what they asked for, while only 41 percent of workers who report high job satisfaction ask for a raise, and 44 percent get the amount they requested.)

What does that mean for you? Well, for one thing, it pays to keep pursuing opportunities where you feel valued on every level, financial and otherwise. Also, don’t let anyone tell you that you that loving your job is entirely its own reward; in fact, it’s possible that you’ll be more likely to enjoy what you do if you receive compensation that’s in line with the market. Money might not buy happiness, but not enough money can buy misery.

2. Women are less comfortable negotiating than men — but not for the reasons you think.

Thirty-one percent report not negotiating because of feeling uncomfortable, while only 23 percent of men do. Even at the top of the ladder, 26 percent of female CEOs report discomfort discussing salary, while only 14 percent of men say the same.

Of course, discomfort around money isn’t an innate, sex-linked characteristic. Women receive clear messages from the culture that aggressive behavior from females will not be tolerated, and they’re likely to be perceived as “unlikeable” if they pursue their own success too obviously, especially when that success is quantified in dollars and cents.

Unfortunately, that won’t change until more women ask for more money, and the culture adapts accordingly. For the time-being, women are left to walk a tightrope, trying to look out for their own best interests without alienating their colleagues.

3. Contrary to popular opinion, Gen Y is not comfortable demanding a raise and a corner office.

The youngest workers who took PayScale’s Salary Survey were also the most likely to report not negotiating due to discomfort asking for a raise. Baby Boomers who didn’t negotiate, on the other hand, were more likely to report that they were afraid of losing their job. Both are probably a function of age: Millennials are less experienced, both in terms of the job market and in terms of having money conversations with employers, while Baby Boomers are afraid of getting pushed out of the workforce before they’re ready.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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