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Not Sure Whether to Negotiate Salary? Here’s What You Need to Know

Topics: Negotiation
Good managers expect candidates and employees to negotiate salary. In an environment where a typical raise is 3 percent and the buying power of paychecks is 7.4 less than it was a decade ago, workers can’t afford to take what’s given to them without question.
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That said, you’ll occasionally read a terrifying story or two about employers who pulled a job offer, because a prospective employee tried to negotiate salary. They’re outliers, these stories, but they haunt workers, even after they have the job. No wonder that so many respondents to PayScale’s Salary Survey reported being reluctant to negotiate salary. Fifty-seven percent of those surveyed had never negotiated pay in their current field.

PayScale’s Salary Negotiation Guide is here to help you overcome those fears. If you’re debating negotiating salary, but haven’t made your mind up either way, here’s what you need to know:

How Do You Know If You Should Negotiate Your Salary?

If you’re taking a new job, chances are that it’s in your best interests to negotiate. Ditto if you’ve been at the same employer for a while, and things are going well, but you haven’t received a raise. But there’s one situation in which you should always ask for more: when you’re underpaid. This article will help you figure out if you are earning less than you should be — and what to do about it.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

The Consequences of Not Negotiating Your Salary

What’s the worst that can happen, if you don’t negotiate salary? Well, you could lose out on a million dollars over the course of your career. That’s right: $1 million. That’s the number that economist Linda Babcock of Carnegie Mellon University gives her grad students, when explaining how much not negotiating can cost them.

The Best Salary Negotiation Advice Isn’t About How, It’s About Why

If a million bucks is too big a sum to picture, this piece offers a breakdown of how forgoing a single $5,000 raise can affect pay for your entire career. Bottom line: your salary today is always the benchmark for your salary tomorrow. Get locked into a lower number, and you could lose out.

What Happens When Your Salary Negotiation Fails?

The toughest part about negotiating salary is knowing that you won’t always succeed. The good news is that one failure is just an isolated incident. It doesn’t need to become a pattern. This piece looks at what might have gone wrong, so that you can do things differently the next time.

Tell Us What You Think

Are you afraid to negotiate salary? Tell us why in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
Read more from Jen

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