Workers are Not as Quick to Accept Initial Job Offers, Demanding Negotiations

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Today’s job seekers are confident in their bargaining power, suggests new research from global staffing firm Robert Half. More than half of professionals surveyed (55 percent) tried to negotiate a higher salary with their last employment offer, a 16-point jump from a similar survey in 2018. Among workers in the 28 U.S. cities polled, Miami, San Diego and San Francisco have the most respondents who asked for more pay, while MinneapolisPhiladelphia and Cleveland have the fewest.

A separate survey finds many employers are willing to make a deal with candidates: 70 percent of senior managers said they expect some back-and-forth on salary. About six in 10 are more open to negotiating compensation (62 percent) and nonmonetary perks and benefits (59 percent) than they were a year ago.

View an infographic of the salary negotiation findings by city. Data tables with a breakdown of the results by gender and age are also available.

Workers were asked, “Thinking of your last job offer, did you try to negotiate for higher pay?” Their responses:











Senior managers were asked, “When hiring staff, do you expect candidates to negotiate salary?” Their responses:






Additional findings:

  • Sixty-eight percent of male employees tried to negotiate pay, versus 45 percent of women.
  • More professionals ages 18 to 34 (65 percent) asked for higher compensation compared to those ages 35 to 54 (55 percent) and 55 and older (38 percent).
  • Boston (80 percent), Denver and Washington, D.C. (78 percent each) have the most managers who said they expect job seekers to negotiate salary.
  • Houston (73 percent), Los Angeles (72 percent) and Miami (71 percent) have the largest number of executives who are more willing to discuss pay than they were a year ago.
  • Managers in Washington, D.C. (71 percent), Houston and Los Angeles (70 percent each) are most open to negotiating nonmonetary perks and benefits compared to last year.

“Job seekers with specialized skills are in high demand and may even be entertaining multiple offers,” said Paul McDonald, senior executive director for Robert Half. “With the odds in their favor, it’s little wonder more professionals are comfortable negotiating not only salary but also nonmonetary benefits, such as vacation days, flexible schedules and professional development.”

McDonald added, “Smart companies realize that winning over top candidates often comes down to moving quickly on hiring decisions and presenting a compensation and perks package that’s at least on par with the competition. Negotiations can be nerve-wracking for both employers and workers; tapping resources like a recruiter and salary reports helps take some of the guesswork out of these discussions.”

For information on starting pay levels, benefits and perks, download the Robert Half 2019 Salary Guides.

About the Research
The online surveys were developed by Robert Half and conducted by independent research firms. They include responses from more than 2,800 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments and more than 2,800 senior managers at companies with 20 or more employees in 28 major U.S. cities.

About Robert Half
Founded in 1948, Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm. The company has more than 300 staffing locations worldwide and offers job search services at For additional career and management advice, visit the Robert Half blog at

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