Even though a number of job offers claim that the salary is “negotiable”, a study by the Robert Half human resources consulting firm shows that few job seekers dare to negotiate a starting salary. What do recruiters think?
Only 34% of 400 Canadian workers surveyed say they negotiated a higher salary on their last job offer, the study published in early February reveals. The survey also indicates that workers aged 55 years and up are the least inclined to negotiate their salary.
Does this result from candidates’ unease or from a lack of openness by recruiters? Michel Larouche, human resources management consultant, leans toward the second option. “Salary negotiation is much less open than might be thought. Most companies have salary structures, which are very closely regulated,” he points out.
In fact, recruiters know in advance their limit in terms of compensation. With the exception of highly specialized jobs, the margins for manoeuvre are generally limited. In this sense, salary negotiation can be a risky game if the candidate does not know his value on the job market or demands excessive compensation. “The employer is not seeking a good negotiator, he is seeking a candidate interested in the position and eager to progress in the company,” Michel Larouche explains. “He has the right to want to earn a living, but the salary often comes with experience within the organization.”
Salary negotiation: Highlighting your value
Greg Scileppi, president of international staffing activities at Robert Half, advises job seekers to use salary-related discussions to showcase their skills.
To be well prepared, the specialist suggests envisaging potential discussion scenarios and analyzing the compensation offered in the job market according to your skill level. “Candidates will be better equipped to present arguments and manage the conversation confidently,” Mr. Scileppi explains in a statement following the study.
Indeed, various websites such as Glassdoor, Indeed and Payscale have appeared in recent years. They provide the opportunity to compare your salary with those offered in your profession as a whole, based on your location, qualifications, experience, education or the size of company. Government statistics, professional orders and specialized schools also provide guidance on average salaries.
However, remember that these tools are not always reliable if the data has been entered by employees. They may have been assessed upwards. Thus, the candidate risks overestimating his value on the job market…
Related article: What is your Value on the Job Market?