DC employers will negotiate salary, but workers don’t always ask

WASHINGTON — That job offer you get could be better, but you’ll have to ask and not everyone does, even though D.C.-area companies are more willing to negotiate.

Only 57 percent of D.C.-area workers surveyed say they tried to negotiate a better pay package in a job offer received in the last year, staffing firm Robert Half says, but 70 percent of D.C.-based senior managers are open to negotiating a salary. That’s higher than the national average of 62 percent.

And 78 percent of D.C.-area companies expect candidates to ask for more.

Asking doesn’t always mean getting, but it doesn’t hurt.

“You always want to be gracious with what has been offered. Just because it doesn’t line up with what maybe you want or are expecting, or can get elsewhere in the market, you always want to be very appreciative of the opportunity and the offer,” Josh Howarth, at Robert Half in Washington, told WTOP.

How much wiggle room do companies have when negotiating?

“We’re finding that individuals can typically negotiate in the ballpark of between $5,000 and $10,000 or $15,000 above what they are originally offered,” Howarth said.

“But with that said, we’ve seen employers who aren’t willing to wiggle at all, and we’ve seen employers who’ve offered $20,000 or $30,000 than an original offer.”

It doesn’t always have to be money either.

The Robert Half survey of Washington-area senior managers found 71 percent are more open to negotiating non-monetary perks and benefits than they were a year ago.

Robert Half says in a job market where in-demand professionals often consider several offers, companies know they have to have some flexibility.

But it helps if you know what you’re worth going into the job interview.

Robert Half has a salary calculator that determines compensation for various professions based on geographic area.

And when the potential employer asks about your expected salary, don’t give a broad pay range. Robert Half says the employer will most likely come back at the bottom of your range.

Most employers expect to discuss a candidate’s desired salary in the first or second interview.

Robert Half has posted 8 tips for negotiating compensation when interviewing for a new job.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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