Majority of Professionals Negotiate for Higher Salary

Survey shows men, high earners most likely to head to the bargaining table
A woman negotiates her salary

If you’ve been hesitant to push for more money during a job interview, you may be in the minority. A new survey suggests that more than half of professionals have tried to get a potential employer to sweeten the deal.

To gain some insight into the salary negotiation process, staffing firm Robert Half conducted two surveys — one involving 2,800 employees who work in office environments, and another polling more than 2,800 senior managers at companies with a minimum of 20 employees.

They found that factors such as gender, geography and previous salary could play a role as to whether employees are likely to negotiate for more money.

Employees most likely to negotiate

While 54% of respondents said they had asked for a higher salary than what they were initially offered during their most recent employment negotiations, men were more likely to do so than women. In fact, 66% of men tried to negotiate for more money, while only 46% of women applicants asked for a better offer.

Where you live may also be a factor. Survey respondents came from 28 cities across the country. Miami had the most salary negotiators, followed by Los Angeles and Phoenix. On the other end of the spectrum, Pittsburgh, Sacramento and Minneapolis had the fewest professionals willing to negotiate for a higher salary during the employment process.

The amount of money someone makes may also play a role in their willingness to ask for more pay. In fact, professionals who made more than $100,000 per year were the most likely to bargain for a better offer, with 64% of them saying they tried to negotiate for better pay.

Why employees don’t negotiate

Among employees who did not go to the bargaining table with a potential employer, the reasons given varied:

  • 55% said they were happy with the initial offer they received
  • 18% said they wanted more money but were afraid they would lose the job offer if they asked for more money
  • 18% said they wanted more money but they were uncomfortable with the negotiating process
  • 9% said they wanted more money but they didn’t know how much they could command for that position

Robert Half also provided insight into when employees can expect the topic of money to come up. In the survey of senior managers, respondents were asked when they brought up the topic of pay with job candidates.

  • 35% said during the first in-person interview
  • 20% said during the second interview
  • 15% said once the job offer is made
  • 13% said during a phone or video interview
  • 9% said during a third interview or later
  • 9% said salaries are listed in the job description so they don’t bring it up

Negotiating a higher salary can not only get you more money today, but it can also set you on the path to earning more when you get your next promotion or to score a pay raise based on performance. Learn how to determine your financial worth at work before you go for that job interview. And if you are a woman, master negotiation techniques that could help you close the gender wage gap.

Tamara E. Holmes

Tamara E. Holmes is a Washington, DC-based writer who covers personal finance, entrepreneurship and careers.