More than half of respondents to PayScale’s salary survey have never negotiated their salary, according to data gathered for our recent Salary Negotiation Guide, despite the fact that 75 percent of those who asked received a bump in pay, and 44 percent even got the entire sum they requested. Furthermore, research suggests that many of the non-negotiators consider themselves to be underpaid. So why don’t people ask more often?
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In short, workers don’t negotiate because:
- They are uncomfortable negotiating salary (28 percent)
- They don’t want to be perceived as pushy (19 percent)
- They are worried about losing their job (8 percent)
- They have always been happy with their salary (8 percent)
Obviously, we’re not worried about the lucky folks who’ve always been happy with their salary. The real issue, when it comes to knocking down barriers that stand between workers and getting the pay they deserve is whether or not their fears — that they’ll seem pushy, that they’ll lose their job, that their discomfort is warranted — are based in reality.
Like many questions surrounding salary and career trajectory, this one doesn’t have an easy answer. The goal is to try to figure out how much of your perception is influenced by actual corporate culture, and how much is internalized discomfort around money. Parsing that depends on understanding your position with regard to your employer, your industry, the economy, and your demographic profile. (The latter is a fancy way of saying, basically, that if you’re female, you’re likely to be less willing to negotiate — and you might have good reasons for fearfulness, despite knowing that you have the right to demand your worth.)
Regardless of your specific situation, it’s important to do your homework before you sit down at the table to talk cash. PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide helps you do that by separating the process into three parts: Research, Strategy, and Negotiation. It’s not magic. It’s a series of discrete steps, aligned toward getting you what you deserve — the right salary for your experience and skills.
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When you take a new job, do you negotiate your starting salary? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.