How Much Are You Worth?: Negotiating Salary

By Marcie Waters

In a recent article, The Atlantic reported that 62 percent of recent college graduates did not negotiate for a higher salary, although 84 percent of employers said they had room to increase their original salary offer. Why do so few recent grads attempt to negotiate for a higher salary? Are we worried we may offend the employer by asking for more? Or jeopardize our chances of getting the job? Or are we so used to unpaid internships that any salary sounds acceptable? Likely the biggest reason is that negotiating can be tough, and many recent grads don’t know how to go about it. Negotiating your salary or other benefits is an important part of landing the right job. The graph below shows how negotiating for a $5,000 salary increase could result in a salary that is over $8,000 higher after working for five years. The Atlantic also stated that employers overall were not offended by a salary negotiation; many even expected it or interpreted it as a marker of the applicant’s confidence.

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How negotiating a higher salary pays off via The Atlantic.

So, how do you go about negotiating for a higher salary? When you are offered the job, first thank the employer, then ask for time to consider the offer (usually between 3 days and a week is acceptable). Also ask them if you can continue to call them if you think of any questions. Make sure to get as many details on the entire package as possible, like salary, days off, benefits, etc. Think about the offer, and if you decide to negotiate, use this flow chart as a guide. Remember to be polite and reasonable; an employer will likely not react well if you are being too aggressive or if they feel they’re being attacked.

Negotiation

Negotiating a Job Offer flow chart created by Marcie Waters and adapted from LSCS handouts.

With these tips, hopefully your salary negotiation will be successful. For more help on evaluating a job offer, check out the resources on our website.

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