Majority of job seekers don’t negotiate for a higher salary

There are many ways a salary negotiation can go wrong, but it turns out some people aren’t even engaging in the discussion when they get picked for a job. New research from specialized staffing firm Robert Half found that a whopping 61% of people didn’t ask for a bigger paycheck when they scored their last job offer, meaning that just 39% actually did.

An independent research firm surveyed more than 2,700 employees in 27 U.S. cities.  Here are some of the results that stood out.

Younger employees most likely to speak up

A mere 30% of employees age 55 and older lobbied for a larger salary when they received their last job offer, compared to 40% of those ages 35-54 did so, and 45% ages 18-34. In terms of gender, 46% of men and 34% of women said they have addressed salary when getting a job offer.

Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, drew on the concept that laws in different areas don’t allow employers to ask applicants about their past salaries (so this doesn’t come up at the beginning of hiring, and pay is now decided in other ways), as mentioned in the press release. McDonald commented on why past salary history shouldn’t play into the decision: “Starting salary should be a factor of the job skills required and current market demand for those skills. That’s why it’s more important than ever for both parties to research market conditions thoroughly to pave the way for realistic, productive discussions.”

People in Indianapolis were least likely to ask for a higher salary

The research team found that Indianapolis had the least amount of people (24%) who reported negotiating for a bigger salary when they got their last offer for a position. Minneapolis (26%), Raleigh (29%), Denver (also 29%) and St. Louis (31%) rounded out the bottom five.

So, where were people the most aggressive about their pay? In New York, for starters, where 55% of people reported negotiating for more when an offer was last on the table. Dallas (51%), San Francisco (50%), Pittsburgh (48%), Los Angeles (45%) and Washington, D.C. (also 45%) weren’t far behind.

Want to be better at salary negotiation during your next hiring process, or better at asking for a raise? There are a few strategies you can use.

Consider this: Take a page out of researchers’ book and name an exact number (not a “round” one), make sure you know how much money others are taking home in your industry and make sure you’re well-versed in what you have to offer the employer.