Tech Pros Often Don't Negotiate Salary, But They Should

Survey shows many hiring managers will raise their offers if job candidates ask.

Qualified technology professionals continue to be in high demand, so it’s a bit of a surprise that more than half accept job offers without negotiating salaries or hourly rates.

While this may be good news for government -- which often has little room to negotiate salaries because of preset pay rates under the General Schedule -- one-third of hiring managers say they frequently raise salary offers when technology job candidates ask, according to this month’s Dice Report.

A survey of 838 hiring managers and recruiters found that 33 percent either frequently or very frequently raise their offers when a technology candidate does not accept the initial salary or hourly rate. Forty-nine percent said they occasionally do so.

Still, more than half of technology professionals accept the first offer from an employer without trying to negotiate the starting salary, Dice found. And that’s a costly mistake given the majority of hiring managers and recruiters surveyed said the average salary bump is 5 percent higher than the initial offer.

While that may not sound like a lot, Dice notes the average annual salary for IT pros nationwide is $85,619. Failing to negotiate over pay costs employees $4,300 on average during their first year on the job. Add in the fact that performance pay and bonuses are usually rewarded as a portion of salaries.

“Straight-talk meetings are a standard in tech departments -- there’s no reason tech professionals can’t do that with job offers,” said Tom Silver, senior vice president of Dice. “The company has tapped the talent, but the employer is not tapped out -- ask for more.”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg BusinessWeek writes that top software developers in Silicon Valley are not only asking for fatter paychecks, they’re paying someone else to do it for them. Many are in such high demand that they’re hiring agents to find them jobs, negotiate their salaries, and keep track of billing and invoices.