Negotiate a higher salary in 2011? It’s possible.

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If you’re currently employed and are wondering about next year’s salary, brace yourself. We’re about to say something you don’t usually hear: The economy is working in your favor.

According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 31 percent of employers are willing to negotiate salary increases with their current employees next year. Could this be tied to the fact that 43 percent of employers are concerned that their best workers are going to pick up and bolt as soon as the economy improves and more businesses are hiring?

The fear of losing in-demand workers does seem to factor in to how much negotiating your boss is willing to do. At least, the industries with high demands are the ones with the most wiggle room. When it comes to negotiating with current employers in 2011, who’s willing to talk it out?

  • 45 percent of IT employers
  • 41 percent of professional and business services employers
  • 39 percent of retail employers
  • 38 percent of sales employers

If you’re looking for a new job, don’t think your salary has been left out in the cold. Half of employers will leave some room for negotiation when they make a job offer to a new employee. And 21 percent of employers are willing to extend multiple offers to the same candidate, so some job seekers have more room to play hardball.

What should you expect?

Just because employers are willing to negotiate salaries, don’t assume you’re going to get a raise just by saying, “More money, please!” Before your boss can consider giving you a raise, you need to give him or her a reason to do so. When asked what you can do to improve your chances of getting a fatter paycheck, employers cited these methods as the most effective:

  • Cite specific accomplishments
  • Present the salary range you want and be able to justify it
  • Display an understanding of what’s important to the company
  • Bring your past performance reviews with you

If you walk into the meeting with enough preparation, you’ll hopefully walk out of it with a higher salary. However, not all bosses are in the position to offer higher salaries. Your boss might be on your side and think you’re worth the extra money, but the higher ups won’t put any extra dollars in the budget. That’s when you and your boss can shift your focus to other perks. Remember, compensation includes more than just a dollar amount, although everyone loves a hefty paycheck.

If they can’t offer you more money, surveyed bosses are willing to extend other offers to you in hopes of keeping you satisfied. These perks are the most popular you’re likely to receive in lieu of a higher salary:

  • More flexible hours
  • Bonuses
  • Training
  • Vacation
  • Most casual dress code

Although salaries probably won’t skyrocket in 2011 and employers continue to be cautiously optimistic about the economy, take heart that bosses are willing to have these conversations at all. In worse climates – think 2008 – bosses had layoffs on their minds, not salary negotiations. So let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend to higher paychecks in the future.

You can read the full press release on the salary survey here.

For more articles on salary negation, see:

Timing Important When Asking for a Raise
How Can You Become a Better Negotiator?

14 Comments
  1. Pingback: ‘Overqualified’ workers struggle to find work, employers fear they’ll flee : The Work Buzz

  2. Pingback: Search Colleges Universities : ‘Overqualified’ workers struggle to find work, employers fear they’ll flee

  3. I agree with BooPeep. When I visited the job fairs and there are hundreds of qualified applicants for every job. My employer could easily replace me with someone cheaper and come May will. Demand a raise? Are you crazy!

  4. Just find a better job, put in your 2 weeks notice and be sure to do it in style, boss’s and companies will learn the hard way especially if your in IT and program stuff for these companies, make sure you code the stuff real-real good like the word as in obfuscate! Good Luck greedy corporations and new employee’s haha!

  5. I am a job-seeker. I passed my 30 years in Rastriya Banijya Bank Nepal. I continued my study before and after office hours during the banking life, beofe joining banking life, and after I retired from banking life effective from Oct. 18,2003 to these days. I have completed M.Com from Tribhuvan University Nepal, Chartered Accountancy Intermediate (Now, it is called Accounting Technician or CAP II) from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, and completed my thesis on Training Management of Commercial Banks in Nepal, which is under supervisor’s review, which will be submitted to Tribhuvan University Faculty of Management Nepal, and after it, the University will declare me a Ph. D.certificate. After that only, I will accept your offers for job. I am also a B grade Auditor of Nepal. Therefore, I have used this column for expressing my situation. Thanks for reading it. I will be obligued for best suggestion in the future.

  6. Everyone please ask for a raise..we are definitely not in a depression. the media is trying to make us think that we are in a depression. Just take a look around when you go out to stores. People are buying at a superior rate. The problem is that big companies has to sale their product at correct price now. I repeat, we are not in a depression, people are becoming smart.

    Besides the reason the unemployment rate is high is not because it is not enough jobs,but because people don’t want to work when they know that can get paid the same amount by being unemployed.

    • You’re obviously out of touch with current job trending. Maybe its ok to try for more pay but leaving a reasonable paying situation currently would be financial suicide. You might temper your advice a bit so good people don’t end up screwed, since its not you who will be screwed. Other than that upgrading bennie’s and perks is worth a shot. But, its not time to bail if you aren’t totally satisfied.

  7. I”m not sorry but, I apologize for saying the following: With the exception of foreigners to whom English is a second language, I am thoroughly amazed at how many illiterate people there are commenting on these articles. Talking as though they know what they are saying is true and in everyone’s best interest. It makes me crazy to think that even many people in management have a small vocabulary and couldn’t spell if their life depended on it. Here we are talking about raises, better jobs, negotiations and qualifications. Upon reading these comments it seems to me that we haven’t even gotten the basic educational foundation right yet. Wake up America.

    chinta mani, good job with all you’ve accomplished in your life.

  8. Pingback: Freshers Yaar! » Blog Archive » Lady Gaga, step aside: The top hiring and workplace trends to watch for 2011

  9. I just recently was hired for my dream job after being unemployed for three weeks. When I was asked what I needed for salary I was totally unprepared. I come from a part-time hourly position and had no idea how to negotiate for full-time, yearly salary. I was used to being told what is starting pay and just accepting that. I shot a figure that I thought was close to what I was making before. They took it. I found out later that it is actually over 5 thousand LESS than what my last years tax return showed I earned. I am one week into this job and nervous as to how to approach my supervisor about renegotiating my salary. I am recently divorced and need to work full-time now but feel SO STUPID for not being prepared to ask for what Im worth. HELP!!!!

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