Poll: 31% of employers willing to negotiate pay increases for employees for 2011

RP news wires

With 43 percent of employers reporting concern that their top talent may leave their organizations when the economy improves, workers may have more leverage in compensation reviews. Thirty-one percent of employers said they are willing to negotiate 2011 salary increases with current employees. Half (51 percent) plan to leave some negotiating room when extending initial offers to new employees, with 21 percent willing to extend two or more offers to the same candidate. The nationwide survey from CareerBuilder was conducted between August 17 and September 2, 2010 and included more than 2,400 hiring managers.

Workers in certain industries may find their bosses more open to bargaining than others. Forty-five percent of IT employers say they are open to negotiating salary increases with current employees for 2011 followed by 39 percent in retail, 38 percent in sales, and 41 percent in professional and business services. Employers cited the following as the most effective ways for current employees to negotiate better compensation:

  • Highlight specific accomplishments and results you achieved (48 percent)
  • Know the range of salary you want and have justification for the increase (39 percent)
  • Show an understanding of what is important to the company (37 percent)
  • Come prepared with your history of performance reviews (26 percent)

Employers also recommend having other options in mind that you'll take in place of a salary increase. Employers who are unable to provide raises said they are willing to offer the following perks:

  • More flexible work hours (42 percent)
  • Bonuses (29 percent)
  • Training (23 percent)
  • Vacation time (21 percent)
  • More casual dress codes (17 percent)
  • Academic reimbursement (14 percent)
  • Title change (14 percent)

"While it is undoubtedly an employer's market, many recognize the added responsibility workers have had to shoulder without the added pay," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "While we don't expect salary levels to change significantly, the willingness to negotiate better deals with current and potential employees is a positive indicator for the employment recovery."

Whether negotiating an initial offer or an increase to your current compensation plan, Haefner recommends the following:

  • Know your market value: Arm yourself with as much information as possible by checking out industry Web sites for your occupational and geographic areas and others that specialize in salary information, such as www.CBSalary.com, or the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Sell yourself: Outline your role in helping your current and previous organizations meet goals. If there's ever a time to toot your own horn, the time is now. Quantify results whenever possible.
  • Look at more than the paycheck: Some jobs that may not pay as well may be rich in learning opportunities and experience or may offer an ideal work culture. Consider the whole package.
  • Have realistic expectations: Inflated opinions of what should be earned won't be taken seriously. Consider the industry, the economy, your experience and the competition from other co-workers. 
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