Over the last three years, only 38 percent of new college graduates starting their first jobs began by negotiating with employers for more money. Which is too bad, reports Jonnelle Marte for the Washington Post, because 84 percent of companies insist that entry-level workers won’t risk losing their offers by angling for more cash.
The data comes from a study by the personal finance website NerdWallet and Looksharp, a job site for new grads. And here’s the real kicker: 80 percent of those grads who asked for more money at the outset actually received higher offers.
“Negotiation is an intimidating thing to do,” NerdWallet general manager of education Abbey Stauffer told the Post. “But it’s surprising in that there’s such a mismatch between what employers are offering and what students are doing.”
While it’s something millennials clearly struggle with, they’re not the only ones. A recent Payscale.com report finds that people of all ages and skill levels are reluctant to ask for more money. Of those surveyed, only 43 percent have asked for raises at one point or another. Baby Boomers and members of Gen X are doing the best — 46 and 48 percent of them have sought raises at some point in their careers — while Gen Y is lagging behind. Only 38 percent of workers in that latter demographic have asked for more dough.
As Marte point out, older workers have had more time and opportunities to ask for raises, but even so, the discrepancy is problematic, since Payscale’s findings show that between 74 and 77 percent of all workers who ask for raises receive them.
According to Payscale, millennials often fail to ask for more money during the initial negotiation stage because they’re not comfortable with the haggling process and don’t want to appear pushy. Unfortunately, with the economy’s ongoing recovery forcing many young people to take low-paying jobs and stay at those gigs for long periods of time, the failure to secure more money from the get-go can lead to significant losses in earnings over time.
So what’s a youngster to do? Marte recommends that grads getting ready to field their first offers do their homework. Find out what average starting salaries are like in the field and in the area, and when it comes to making the case for why you deserve more money, highlight your skills and accomplishments with specific examples.
Should the company turn down your request, it’s fine to tell them you’d like a day or two to think things over. Who knows — even if they can’t offer you more cash, they might be able to sweeten the deal with more vacation time or other perks.