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Supersize your job offer: 5 tips

By Matt Ferguson
CareerBuilder.com
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CNN.com has a business partnership with CareerBuilder.com, which serves as the exclusive provider of job listings and services to CNN.com.

(CareerBuilder.com) -- Is that job offer big enough? It may be the opportune time to negotiate.

The EDGE Report, an annual hiring and compensation study by Robert Half International and CareerBuilder.com, found the balance of power is shifting somewhat in favor of skilled talent.

Fifty-five percent of hiring managers surveyed said it was difficult to find good help 12 months ago; 81 percent said it is equally or more challenging today. More than half attribute it to a shortage of skilled labor, prompting them to provide better packages to new and existing staff.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages and salaries rose 2.8 percent in the year ended June 2006, compared with a gain of 2.5 percent in June 2005 and 2.6 percent in June 2004. Although job creation has slowed in recent months, wage pressure for in-demand positions persists as the pool of qualified talent dissipates with the baby boomers' exit from the workforce. Looking forward, 38 percent of hiring managers who participated in the hiring and compensation study said they plan to increase salaries on job offers in the next 12 months.

Staff-level professionals stand to benefit the most from a more competitive recruitment environment with 36 percent of hiring managers stating they are most willing to increase compensation for these positions. Eighteen percent of hiring managers said they are most willing to up the ante on job offers for director, manager and team leader positions while 13 percent will be focused on sweetening the deal for administrative and support staff.

In addition to stepping up measures to attract fresh talent, companies are placing greater emphasis on employee retention efforts to keep existing talent in place. The primary measures taken included offering pay raises, bonuses, better benefits and more flexible schedules.

Although workers have more leverage today, the survey indicates they are still feeling cautious about the job market, likely due to insecurities about the U.S. economy. Forty-five percent of workers reported their compensation levels increased in the last year, yet one-in-five said they are less willing to negotiate a more generous job offer today than 12 months ago.

Whether you are considering an offer from a potential employer or looking for a better payout from your current company, keep The EDGE Report and following tips in mind to ensure you are not selling yourself short:

1. Assess your market value: Research salary ranges for those working in your industry, occupation and location. Check out online salary sites such as CBSalary.com, industry Web sites and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to find specific salary information. Make sure to bring copies with you to the meeting.

2. Prove your worth: Companies pay for results. Arm yourself with a list of your professional accomplishments - quantifying results when possible - to showcase how you put your skills into action. Employers are more likely to increase compensation levels if they have a better understanding of what you will contribute to their organizations.

3. Don't discuss money too soon: Wait to be offered the job before you discuss your desired pay. If an employer asks you directly about your salary requirements, turn the question around and ask what salary range the company typically offers someone with your job type, experience and expertise.

4. Consider the whole package: If the employer is not able to offer a higher salary, there may be room to negotiate other perks like a flexible schedule, extra vacation days, ongoing training, etc. Also, remember there is more to a job than money. Take into consideration experience gained on the job, career advancement opportunities, work/life balance and other important factors to help determine the true value of the offer.

5. Leverage other offers: Showing an offer from another company and a willingness to walk away is an effective way to negotiate. But be careful with this tactic. It has serious potential to backfire and cost you the job completely.

Methodology: The EDGE Survey was conducted from July 27 to July 31, 2006. Responses totaling more than 3,000 workers involved selecting a random sample of comScore Networks members via an e-mail invitation to participate in a short online survey. Results are statistically accurate to within +/- 1.78 percentage points (19 times out of 20). The sample included more than 1,000 hiring managers. These results are statistically accurate to within +/- 3.09 percentage points (19 times out of 20).


© Copyright CareerBuilder.com 2007. All rights reserved. The information contained in this article may not be published, broadcast or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority


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