MENLO PARK, CA, April 28, 2011 — Talking about compensation witha potential employer can be a nerve-racking experience, especiallyin a tight job market. But most of today's professionals aren't shyabout asking companies to show them the money, a new RobertHalf International survey suggests. Eight in 10 (81 percent)workers interviewed said they're comfortable negotiating a highersalary or better benefits, with 44 percent indicating they are verycomfortable.


The survey was developed by Robert Half International, theworld's first and largest specialized staffing firm. It wasconducted by an independent research firm and is based oninterviews with 437 workers 18 years of age or older and employedin an office environment.


Workers were asked, “How comfortable would you benegotiating for a higher salary or better benefits with an employerwho has offered you a job?” Their responses:

Very comfortable


Somewhat comfortable


Not at all comfortable


Don't know/no answer



“As the job market improves, professionals have more negotiatingpower,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert HalfInternational and author of Job HuntingForDummies®, 2nd Edition (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.). “But, tokeep compensation discussions headed toward a positive outcome,it's important for job seekers to understand just how much leveragethey have. Researching prevailing salaries in their field can helpprofessionals make more informed decisions.”


Messmer added, “Salary is just one part of the overallcompensation package. If a company cannot offer the desired basepay, job applicants should consider asking for extra benefits orperks, such as additional vacation time, a sign-on bonus orflexible scheduling.”


Robert Half identifies the top seven mistakes professionals makewhen negotiating salary:

  1. Being afraid to ask. Some job seekers fearasking for a better offer because they think it could damage theirrelationship with the new employer. Remember: It never hurts toask, and you have your greatest leverage when you receive the joboffer.
  2. Failing to do your homework. Don't ask for aspecific salary simply because it sounds good. Always conductresearch to determine your market value by reviewing sources suchas the annual Salary Guidesfrom Robert Half and talking to colleagues and recruiters for theirinsights.
  3. Focusing only on salary. Consider the benefitspackage in addition to compensation. If higher base pay isn'tavailable, perhaps the employer could offer a signing bonus orearly salary review.
  4. Tipping your hand. If you're desperate toleave your current job, keep it to yourself. The conversationshould remain focused on the position for which you areapplying.
  5. Thinking you can't say 'no.' Some people bynature always want to be accommodating, but being able to say 'no'is critical when negotiating. If an offer is less than you think itshould be, point it out politely then counter with your desiredsalary. If the employer can't meet this request, you will need todecide whether or not you can accept the lower pay. It will dependon your need for immediate employment, as well as how excited youare about this particular opportunity.
  6. Failing to get it in writing. Once you'veagreed on terms, ask the employer to draw up a letter that outlinesthe specifics of the offer. This will help you avoid anymisunderstandings before you start the job.
  7. Forgetting your manners. Regardless of how thenegotiations turn out, be professional and courteous. You don'twant to burn any bridges.

About Robert Half International Robert Half International wasfounded in 1948 and is traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Itsfinancial staffing divisions include Accountemps, Robert HalfFinance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources, fortemporary, full-time and senior-level project professionals,respectively.


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