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Negotiate a higher salary in 2011? It’s possible.

If you’re currently employed and are wondering about next year’s salary, brace yourself. We’re about to say something you don’t usually hear: The economy is working in your favor.
According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 31 percent of employers are willing to negotiate salary increases with their current employees next year. Could this be tied to the fact that 43 percent of employers are concerned that their best workers are going to pick up and bolt as soon as the economy improves and more businesses are hiring?
The fear of losing in-demand workers does seem to factor in to how much negotiating your boss is willing to do. At least, the industries with high demands are the ones with the most wiggle room. When it comes to negotiating with current employers in 2011, who’s willing to talk it out?
  • 45 percent of IT employers
  • 41 percent of professional and business services employers
  • 39 percent of retail employers
  • 38 percent of sales employers
If you’re looking for a new job, don’t think your salary has been left out in the cold. Half of employers will leave some room for negotiation when they make a job offer to a new employee. And 21 percent of employers are willing to extend multiple offers to the same candidate, so some job seekers have more room to play hardball.
What should you expect?
Just because employers are willing to negotiate salaries, don’t assume you’re going to get a raise just by saying, “More money, please!” Before your boss can consider giving you a raise, you need to give him or her a reason to do so. When asked what you can do to improve your chances of getting a fatter paycheck, employers cited these methods as the most effective:
  • Cite specific accomplishments
  • Present the salary range you want and be able to justify it
  • Display an understanding of what’s important to the company
  • Bring your past performance reviews with you
If you walk into the meeting with enough preparation, you’ll hopefully walk out of it with a higher salary. However, not all bosses are in the position to offer higher salaries. Your boss might be on your side and think you’re worth the extra money, but the higher ups won’t put any extra dollars in the budget. That’s when you and your boss can shift your focus to other perks. Remember, compensation includes more than just a dollar amount, although everyone loves a hefty paycheck.
If they can’t offer you more money, surveyed bosses are willing to extend other offers to you in hopes of keeping you satisfied. These perks are the most popular you’re likely to receive in lieu of a higher salary:
  • More flexible hours
  • Bonuses
  • Training
  • Vacation
  • Most casual dress code
Although salaries probably won’t skyrocket in 2011 and employers continue to be cautiously optimistic about the economy, take heart that bosses are willing to have these conversations at all. In worse climates, think 2008, bosses had layoffs on their minds, not salary negotiations. So let’s hope this is the beginning of a trend to higher paychecks in the future.
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