Employers Willing to Bargain on Salary to Keep Talent

November 11, 2010 (PLANSPONSOR.com) – With 43% of employers reporting concern that their top talent may leave their organizations when the economy improves, workers may have more leverage in compensation reviews.

A CareerBuilder news release about its newest poll reported that 31% of employers said they are willing to negotiate 2011 salary increases with current employees.  Fifty-one percent plan to leave some negotiating room when extending initial offers to new employees, with 21% willing to extend two or more offers to the same candidate.

Workers in certain industries may find their bosses more open to bargaining than others, according to CareerBuilder.  Forty-five percent of IT employers say they are open to negotiating salary increases with current employees for 2011 as do 39% in retail, 38% in sales, and 41% in professional and business services. 

According to the news release, generally, employers cited the following as the most effective ways for current employees to negotiate better compensation:

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

Non-Comp Items  

Employers in a new CareerBuilder survey also recommend having other options in mind that employees will take in place of a salary increase. Employers who are unable to provide raises said they are willing to offer:

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

"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."

The nationwide survey was conducted between August 17 and September 2, 2010, and included more than 2,400 hiring managers.