Do you think you are being underpaid? Are you struggling to negotiate a pay raise?

You are not the only one. There are several things that get in the way of job candidates negotiating their wages. The fear of rejection, the thought that the boss should just give you a fair offer or lack of confidence in professional skills are all too common.

Nonetheless, recent studies show time and again that it’s extremely important to negotiate salary tactfully and at the right time. Before you have this life-changing conversation, check out these six surprising truths about salary negotiation to find inspiration:

  1. Very few people ask

Salary.com conducted a survey, and the findings are quite unexpected. Only “37% of people always negotiate salary and just more than 18% of people we surveyed never negotiate their salaries.” These results were particularly surprising considering salary experts ensure that previous studies have shown that an individual who fails to negotiate a first salary stands to miss out on more than $500,000 by age 60. That’s a lot of money to let go without even a try.

For that matter, if you ask, you are likely to get the raise. According to the study conclusions presented by the San Francisco based recruiting firm Nelson Jobs, 75% of those who asked for a higher wage received some sort of increase in salary, incentives or in benefits.

  1. The gender gap is still there

Although women ask for raises as often as men do, they get them less often. In fact, Warwick Economics Research Paper, Do Women Ask?, revealed that women were 25% less likely than men to get a hike in pay when they asked for it. However, when they broke down the data by gender and age, they found out that, women under the age of 40 managed to negotiate for higher pay, which shows signs of overcoming the gender pay gap.

  1. Millennials don’t know how to ask

When it comes to asking for a salary increment, it is complicated to know where to start. But are millennials better than baby boomers at negotiating? Not really.

According to PayScale’s data, Gen Y has a reputation for being overconfident, only 37% of millennials have ever asked for a raise. The main reasons are -ironically- the lack of confidence and the fear of being rejected or being perceived as pushy.

  1. Salary bracket matters

The salary bracket you are in should be a consideration as there are big differences between lower and higher payroll sections.

According to a survey conducted by PayScale, the higher the salary, the more likely to ask for a raise and, more importantly, the higher the chances to get it. While only 25% of those earning $10K-$20K received the raise they requested, 70% of those earning more than $150K received their requested raise.

  1. Low vs. high job satisfaction

Results from the same survey show that workers with low job satisfaction are more likely to ask for a raise. However, only 19% of people -that is 1 out of every 5 workers- with low job satisfaction receive the amount they asked for. On the other hand, almost half the workers with higher job satisfaction levels get the amount they demanded.

  1. Salary range done wisely

In salary negotiations, using a range works better than a set amount. When two Columbia Business School professors conducted their own research to prove that range offers don’t work, their findings showed exactly the opposite. And that technique can be applied to any other types of negotiations such as buying or selling a house.

They found that, when presenting a reasonable range, with your ideal salary anchoring the bottom rung, better results are achieved for two reasons. It subtly communicates a walk-away price and it’s perceived as polite and people want to be polite in return.

Done in the right way, asking for a bump in salary can save you many future headaches. In most companies, salary reviews are only considered during promotions or after many years in the position. Therefore, starting at the right salary level is crucial.

To continue increasing your income throughout your career, make sure you do your research to ask for the right amount at the right time. And practice your negotiation skills, so you don’t leave any money on the table. Once you are ready, ask for it. Your future self will thank you!

Photo Credit: ployminthq Flickr via Compfight cc

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