It is daunting for new college graduates to find a job, but it’s also difficult to be sure they are not being underpaid once they get that coveted job. When it comes to salary negotiation, few entering the workforce negotiate their salaries, especially women.
Research by Glassdoor finds that 59 percent of employees do not negotiate their salaries, and of women 68 percent accept the salary they were initially offered without any negotiation. This is a recurring trend in which women at higher rates do not seek to negotiate their salaries nor ask for a raise.
“There is something to be said that women are taught to be quieter in general than boys,” said Kalana Archer, a recent graduate of psychology at Oglethorpe University, “I think that translates into the workforce.” For women who do negotiate their salary, the success level is low at only 4 percent actually obtaining a higher salary, finds Glassdoor.
Recent Oglethorpe graduates and those who will graduate this school year, are hunting for their first professional job in their field of study. However, many like Archer, have never even considered the possibility of negotiating their potential salary to be certain they are not underpaid.
“I honestly never thought that should be as a question to ask,” said Archer. “I think anyone that is graduating and looking to enter the workforce is kind of stressed out about getting a job in general that they will just will jump at whatever is offered.”
Due to the fact that students are so concerned with being hired in a job market that only seems harder to break in year by year, they seek Career Development for help getting hired. However, students tend to only focus on getting the coveted internship or job they do not consider what their pay would be.
“I think most students aren’t paying attention to that yet,” said the Director of Career Development at Oglethorpe University, Erin Sherrill. “When it comes time to negotiate a salary, the idea that they could could negotiate or that they might have something worth negotiating doesn’t necessary cross their mind.”
Despite the trends of women negotiating salaries less than men, the Oglethorpe Career Development office has not noticed a difference between the interest of students of different genders when it comes to learning about salary negotiation, explains Sherrill. However, older students tend to be more interested about salary negotiation than younger students, Sherrill notes.
Although Career Development does not have handouts on salary negotiation in specific, they encourage students who are interested in learning about how to approach salary negotiations to meet with them and also refer them to online tools.
These online tools include the website Glassdoor in which employers and employees can report salaries, interview experiences, and one can even search job postings. The favorite tool for Sherrill is the Occupational Outlook Handbook from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This handbook serves as a “online encyclopedia for jobs” according to Sherrill. The handbook gives information about general professions, such as pay down to the specific county and even if the field is shrinking, explained Sherrill.
Nonetheless, there are still many graduates who did not dwell in their Career Development resources while in school, or never even thought about salary negotiation. “What I have been offered is what I have accepted,” said Jessica Weinstock, director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Oglethorpe University. Winestock has never negotiated a salary, “it never even entered my mind that it would be appropriate to counter the offer that I was given,” she said.
She feel that both her gender and race, as she is black, effects how she responds to the corporate world and her hesitance to take part in salary negotiation. Now, however, with the experience she has acquired she feel that in the future she will absolutely negotiate her salary.
For soon to be and current Oglethorpe alumni, like Archer, even if salary negotiation is not in their minds now it is a topic that will affect them in the long run.