CareerBuilder: Most Candidates Don’t Negotiate Job Offers

CareerBuilder: Most Candidates Don’t Negotiate Job Offers

A new survey from CareerBuilder points to a mismatch between candidates and employers in salary negotiations—namely, that candidates often don’t think there is one:

[The survey] found that the majority of workers (56 percent) do not negotiate for better pay when they are offered a job. Those who avoid it say they don’t attempt it because they don’t feel comfortable asking for more money (51 percent), they are afraid the employer will decide not to hire them (47 percent), or they don’t want to appear greedy (36 percent).

While most job candidates avoid negotiating, the majority of employers are expecting a counteroffer. Fifty-three percent of employers say they are willing to negotiate salaries on initial job offers for entry-level workers, and 52 percent say when they first extend a job offer to an employee, they typically offer a lower salary than they’re willing to pay so there is room to negotiate. But how much money is being left on the table? More than a quarter of employers who offer a lower salary (26 percent) say their initial offer is $5,000 or more less than what they’re willing to offer.

The survey, conducted earlier this year by Harris Poll among 2,300 employers and 3,400 full-time employees, also dug up some demographic data to inform the debate over the role of the “negotiation gap” in gender and other pay gaps. It found that employees over 35 were slightly more likely to negotiate (45 percent) than the younger crowd (42 percent), and that 47 percent of men negotiated as opposed to 42 percent of women. These differences are meaningful, but CareerBuilder’s broader takeaway is that regardless of their demographics, a slight majority of candidates are just not negotiating at all. The exception is in sectors like IT, sales, and financial services, where over 50 percent of employees said they negotiated their salaries.

These findings are consistent with other studies showing a slightly higher tendency to negotiate among men, but research has also found that women are less likely than men to be successful in their raise requests and more likely to be seen as pushy or demanding. Our research at CEB, now Gartner, on the challenge of pay inequality finds that hiring decisions are the most common source of pay gaps among most companies’ talent practices. Progressive employers are finding new ways to build pay equity into their hiring, promotion, and salary setting processes. CEB Total Rewards Leadership Council members can read our entire pay study here.