Negocie seu salário hoje ou sofra amanhã

Talk About Pay Today, or Suffer Tomorrow
NY Times
May 21, 2011

NEGOTIATE your salary? In this economy?

Many job seekers would be thrilled to be offered a job at all. How ungrateful and even risky, they may feel, to haggle over salary when the unemployment rate is so high.

And research shows that even when economic conditions are good, women tend to be more reluctant than men to negotiate for a salary higher than the one initially offered.

But failing to negotiate can be a mistake that reverberates for years,
says Linda C. Babcock, an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University who specializes in negotiation. Because most raises are based on percentage increases, she notes, all of your future raises — along with contributions to your retirement account — are likely to be lower than if you had negotiated a higher salary at the start.

Some people fear that a job offer will be rescinded if they dare ask for higher pay, and that the employer will move on to the next applicant, says Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, a career management firm in New York. But she says that is very unlikely if you negotiate reasonably.

Still, it’s easy to understand why the thought of salary negotiation induces fear. That’s because the employer holds almost all the cards in this game, and may ask you to give up the few you hold by requesting that you reveal prematurely your past salary and your pay expectations.

Generally, if employers try to broach the salary issue early in the interview process, you should do everything possible to defer this discussion, and, if pressured to give numbers, be as vague as you can, Ms. Safani says.

And once you get an offer, don’t accept it on the spot, she suggests. It is perfectly acceptable to say that while you are excited about the job, you need a few days to think about it.

Use that time to clarify your priorities, Ms. Safani says. Is making a certain salary most important to you? Or is it the vacation time, the hours, the responsibilities or something else?

Gather as much salary intelligence as you can about the position, before the first interview and after the offer. Web sites like, and list salary ranges within an industry, company and geographic location. Don’t rely on these sources completely, as they may depend on self-reporting, some of it anonymous. But they can give you a benchmark.

And talk to any people you know within that company, or other ones like it. You don’t have to ask them flat-out what their salaries are, Professor Babcock says. Instead, you might ask, “What do you think a good salary for this job would be?”

This research will help determine your true value in the marketplace and can provide the basis for deciding how hard you should negotiate — even if you are now unemployed.

In general, when you are ready to negotiate, “don’t ask for what you want, ask for more than you want,” Professor Babcock says. “You could typically ask for at least 10 percent more than they offer you.”

Once you have your number on the table, the employer might say, “Oh, we can’t possibly do that.” In many cases, that does not mean the negotiation is over, Professor Babcock stresses. “You say: ‘How close can you come to that figure?’ ”

If the company is reluctant to come closer, she says, you should consider asking, “Can we meet in the middle?” That’s often effective, she adds, “because it just seems fair.”

Sometimes, though, employers have a salary limit they cannot exceed, notes Rusty Rueff, a career and workplace expert for Yet there may be ways to work around that so you still come out ahead. Suppose you’re offered $100,000, but you wanted $110,000 and the employer says no. You could seek a bonus at the end of the first year if you meet performance goals, he says, or, depending on the industry, try to arrange for an equity stake in the company.

You may also be able to negotiate a signing bonus, additional time off (paid or unpaid), parking privileges, expanded benefits, relocation expenses, work hours or job title and responsibilities.

Do not bluff by saying you won’t accept a certain salary when you actually will. But if you state honestly and politely that the pay isn’t enough, that may be a catalyst for the employer to offer more. Just be absolutely sure of where your “walk away” threshold lies.

Done correctly, negotiation can strengthen the relationship between applicant and employer. But too often, women are unwilling to try it at all. Men are much more likely to negotiate pay than women, Professor Babcock says.

That’s because of the way many girls are brought up, she says — resulting in the feeling that “there might be backlash against me if I negotiate in a very assertive way.”

“Women often think, ‘Well, this is my personality.’ No, it’s something that our society has done to you,” she says.

In encouraging negotiation, she reminds people that they don’t have to adopt an aggressive, confrontational style that is unnatural to them. In short, she says, you can still be yourself and win a higher salary.

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