Survey Reveals 49 Percent of U.S. Workers Do Not Negotiate Initial Salary

August 26, 2013

If you have ever accepted a job offer without negotiating salary or benefits, you are in good company. According to a new survey, nearly half of job candidates say they accept initial job offers outright even though nearly as many employers say they expect to negotiate. In other words, these eager new hires may unknowingly walk away with money and perks left on the table.

A new survey from the employment firm CareerBuilder indicates that 49 percent of U.S. workers accept an initial job offer without negotiating salary or benefits, reports UPI. On the other hand, 45 percent of employers said they expect to negotiate an offer during the hiring process, which means all those candidates who do not may be leaving money on the table. Brent Rasmussen, president of CareerBuilder North America, theorizes that experience and the current economic climate could contribute to a candidate's willingness to negotiate.

"Part of the hesitance in negotiating could be attributed to inexperience in the workforce, where the worker assumes that the first offer is the final offer," Rasmussen told Forbes. "Part of it may also be influenced by how competitive the job market is today. Whether you have been long-term unemployed or recently lost your job, there is that sense of urgency to grab the opportunity at hand."

The data does suggest that age and experience may be a factor. According to UPI, 55 percent of workers above age 35 said they are willing to negotiate while only 45 percent of younger workers said the same. There also appears to be a negotiation gender gap: 54 percent of men said they would negotiate an initial offer compared to 45 percent of women.

The CareerBuilder results also suggest that Ramussen's theory that the economy is a factor also seems to be near the mark, at least from the employer's point of view. According to a press release published on PR Newswire, 38 percent of employers said they would be unable to give a candidate any more than what was initially offered. Of the remaining employers, however, most said they would be willing to offer other perks when a salary adjustment was out of the question. The most popular perks include flexible scheduling (33 percent), more vacation time (19 percent) and telecommuting once per week (15 percent).

Of course, an employer's willingness to negotiate at all may depend on the field. Rasmussen told Forbes that employers in high demand industries like information technology and engineering are usually more likely to reconsider their initial offer. That does not mean you necessarily should negotiate, however, especially if the initial offer is reasonable.

"Whether you're new to the workforce or seasoned, if you receive a generous offer and it meets or exceeds expectations, then you shouldn't negotiate for the sake of negotiation," said Rasmussen.

Compiled by Aimee Hosler


"Forty-Nine Percent of Workers Do Not Negotiate Job Offers, Finds Career Builder Survey,", August 21, 2013

"Half Of U.S. Workers Don't Negotiate Job Offers, Survey Finds,", August 21, 2013, Jacquelyn Smith

"New hires might be leaving money on the table,", August 21, 2013

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