Employers and Applicants Have Different Views on Negotiating Starting Salary

More than half of employers make a job offer with the expectation that they will end up negotiating starting salary.  Of the 52 percent of employers that typically offer a lower salary than they are willing to pay when they first extend a job offer, 26 percent report that their initial offer is $5,000 or more less than what they are actually willing to offer.
 
Despite this, more than half of workers (56 percent) do not negotiate for better pay when offered a job, according to a national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder.  Nearly three quarters of workers (71 percent) report that they have accepted a job knowing that their skills and experience were worth more than what they were getting paid.  To explain their decision to avoid negotiations, respondents explained that 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 do not want to appear greedy (36 percent).
 
Some candidates are more likely to negotiate than others.  Nearly half (45 percent) of workers 35 or older typically negotiate the first offer, while 42 percent of workers ages 18-34 negotiate.  Nearly half of men (47 percent) negotiate first offers, compared to 42 percent of women.  Information technology workers (59 percent) are the most likely to negotiate salary, followed by sales (55 percent), financial services (53 percent) and health care workers (48 percent).
 
Despite the hesitation many workers have regarding negotiating salary, respondents indicate that financial motivations are significant.  Nearly three-fourths of workers (71 percent) say the ability to provide for themselves and their families, followed by money (63 percent), the ability to make a difference (38 percent) and the ability to create something meaningful or cool (21 percent).  While finances are a top priority for workers, 79 percent say they do not earn their desired salary – with more than a third (36 percent) say they don't earn anywhere near it – and more than half (58 percent) say they do not think they are better off financially than their parents.