Few job candidates negotiate for higher pay

3D render of twenty dollars bills all with sharp focus. iStockphoto.com

(MoneyWatch) Fewer job candidates are negotiating their pay, according to a survey by Salary.com. This year, just 31 percent said they'd always negotiate salary when applying for a new job, compared with 37 percent who did so in 2012. The number of people who said they'd "never" seek to get a higher salary in that situation also rose to 20 percent, from 18 percent the year prior.

When asked if they'd negotiated over pay when they got their current job, 41 percent of respondents said no. Additionally, nearly half, at 48 percent, didn't negotiate during their most recent performance review.

The main reason job-seekers declined to push for better pay in today's tight labor market was unsurprising: The largest number of respondents to the Salary.com survey -- 21 percent -- said they didn't want to jeopardize getting the job. Another one in five said they just found negotiating pay "unpleasant." Some 15 percent said they didn't negotiate because they didn't know how; another 15 percent lacked confidence. But some people said they didn't negotiate because the offer was good enough that they didn't feel they had to.

However, the survey also found that men were far more likely to negotiate their pay than women, and women were far more likely to say that pay negotiations made them apprehensive. Specifically, 36 percent of men always negotiate, compared to 26 percent of women. Of the female respondents, 67 percent claimed that haggling over compensation made then nervous, compared to 50 percent of male respondents.

"Anecdotally, we know that women often don't negotiate because they feel it will have a negative effect on their personal brand. As a woman in leadership, I know that's not the case," said Abby Euler, general manager of Salary.com, a provider of career guidance services. "Being able to effectively communicate your worth to a company is important -- not only for the raise you're negotiating, but to ensure your company, supervisors and colleagues understand the value you bring to the company."

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