Search
Advice » Salary & Benefits» Negotiation Tips » Negotiating Salary in a Recess ...
Negotiating Salary in a Recession

Negotiating Salary in a Recession

It may be summer, but it’s cold out there: Thousands of companies of all sizes have frozen hiring and salaries, putting many workers’ earnings expectations on ice for the time being.

But many employers continue to make job offers even as they reduce overall headcount. More than 4 million hires were made in April 2009, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So what’s it like to enter a salary negotiation in these gloomy times, and how can you make the best of a bad situation? Let’s take a look at the frigid compensation landscape and then get some expert advice on how to navigate this terrain.

Pay Freezes, Reductions, Uncertainties Abound

Salary trends in 2009 are dismal, but not uniformly so.

Whereas professionals in marketing, finance and sales are suffering declines in pay, positions in manufacturing, information technology and engineering are showing modest increases of up to 2 percent, according to Mercer’s June 2009 Market Pulse Report.

About one-third of companies covered in the Mercer report are projecting salary freezes for 2009, a powerful show of cost containment. But a Watson Wyatt survey indicates an even larger shift: Companies reporting salary freezes rocketed from 4 percent in October 2008 to 60 percent in April 2009; firms reducing pay jumped from 2 percent to 21 percent over the same period.

Whether corporate workers will be made whole in the long run is an open question, according to the Watson Wyatt report. Of responding employers that have cut pay, 37 percent say they will eventually reinstate salary levels and build from there; 19 percent say they’ll permanently retrench and build on current, reduced salaries; and 44 percent say it’s too soon to decide.

Recognize the Realities of the Recession

Before you take your seat at the negotiating table, consider what you’ve got going for you and what you don’t. Given the severe recession, “candidates need to be cautious about how demanding they are in negotiations,” says Susan Haberman, Mercer’s US regional leader for information product solutions. No matter what your house payment, many employers simply can’t pay you more than they are offering.

But if you’re negotiating from a position of strength, there may be hope. “The fundamental dynamics of negotiation haven’t changed -- your leverage has changed,” says Robert Hellmann, a career coach and adjunct professor at New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. “Can you walk away from the opportunity? Can you be easily replaced? Have other things in the works so that you can walk away.”

How to Make Your Case

In these times, should you consider a salary offer or raise to be final? “It couldn’t be easier: You pretty much just say yes,” says Athar Siddiqee, strategic client services executive at Salary.com, which powers Monster.com’s Salary Wizard.

But even with more qualified candidates on the market than usual, “a significant number of people are counteroffering, but they’re not nearly as aggressive as they used to be,” Siddiqee says.

Don’t be afraid to make the business case for a higher number, says Ford Myers, author of Get the Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. “Tell a lot of accomplishment stories backed by quantifiable results,” he says. “Show that you understand the employer’s needs and challenges, and think ahead of time about proposed solutions.”

If a final salary offer comes up a little short “but it’s a good job with a great company, consider asking for an accelerated performance and salary review in six months,” Myers says. “Be sure to get a specific offer of future consideration in writing.”

Don’t Short-Sell Yourself

Keep in mind that in good times and bad, top candidates for critical positions are in demand. “It isn’t worth it for a company to nickel-and-dime you and lose a good candidate,” Siddiqee says.

When will labor-market conditions improve for workers at the bargaining table? “Based upon our conversations with clients, we’ll continue to see organizations be extraordinarily conservative through 2009,” Haberman says. “In 2010, we may see increases at a modest level.”

Latest Jobs

Posted: 10/02/2014
Philadelphia, 19104
Posted: 10/02/2014
Princeton, IL, 61356
Freedom House
Posted: 10/02/2014
Princeton, IL, 61356
Liberty Village
Posted: 10/02/2014
Princeton, IL, 61356
Posted: 10/02/2014
Panama City, 32401

Want more personalized results?  Update Your Profile

 
 
 

Monster Communities

Teaching Community
Where teachers meet and learn.
ArtBistro
Create and connect.
Excelle
Networking for the career-minded woman.
Nursing Link
Where nurses call the shots.
More Monster Communities

Monster Partners

Scholarships
Scholarships, financial aid and more ways to pay for school.
Education.org
Find top campus and online degree programs.
Military.com
Military portal for the US Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.
Financial Aid
Scholarships & financial aid.
Staffing for Government Jobs
Staffing and hiring solutions for federal government agency jobs.
More Monster Partners

Job Hunt Strategy

Six Ways to Make a Recruiter Hate You
If you want to blow your chances with recruiters -- and, by extension, with the companies they work for -- here are six perfect ways to do so.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Rev Up Your Resume to Relocate
Hoping to relocate? Get the ball rolling on landing the right job in the right location with these expert resume and cover letter tips.

Interviewing

100 Potential Interview Questions
Interview questions can run the gamut. You probably won't face all 100 of these, but you should still be prepared to answer at least some of them.

Salary & Benefits

10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Most of us aren't natural negotiators, but asking these 10 questions during salary negotiations can help you get everything you deserve.

Employee Sourcing

Alt text
November Monster Employment Index Grows 13% Year-Over-Year, Tenth Consecutive Month of Positive Annual Growth.

For Seekers

Campus and Online Degrees
Advance your career and earn more with an online degree.
Free Salary Wizard
What are you worth? Find out and negotiate a better salary.
Research Careers
Get information on jobs and career paths to help guide your choices
Questions & Answers
Find answers to all your career related questions -- powered by Yahoo! Answers
Resume Distribution Service
Our distribution service puts your resume right in the hands of recruiters.
Resume Writing Services
Our experts will craft a keyword-rich resume that stands out in the crowd.
More Career Resources

For Employers

Career Ad Network
Target your job posting to more candidates on thousands of websites.
Hire Right Background Checks
Explore our background check packages to improve the quality of your hires.
Hiring Home Page
Find the best candidates for your business with Monster hiring solutions.
Job Postings
Find the right solution for your hiring needs. Starting at $99.
Power Resume Search
Monster's new search technology precisely matches people with your jobs.
Resource Center
Find staffing insights, labor trends, HR best practices and more.
Target Post
Connect with skilled, hourly and administrative candidates for only $99.

Social Media

Jobs on Twitter
Find jobs in your area and industry.
Monster Careers
Tune into our career advice and discussions tackling a wide range of topics and industries.
Monster Corporate & PR
Stay up-to-date on the latest news. Get the 'Who', 'What', 'When', and 'Why' on all things Monster related.
Monster Customer Service
Got a Monster question? We've got the answer. Whether you're a job seeker or employer, we can help you find the answers you need.
Monster for Employers
Find advice on hiring.
Follow Us
Check out our many pages and stay connected with the latest industry news, events, career advice and job openings.

Other Links

Monster Company Profiles
Explore companies and get information to guide your career decisions.
Compare Salaries
See how your pay stacks up to others in your field.
iPhone Application
Download the Monster app for iPhone and iPod touch.
Monster Job Seeker Blog
Monster Job Seeker Blog.
Monster Thinking Blog
Monster's Recruitment Trends Blog.
Jobs & Career Resources
Search Jobs:
For Employers: Post Jobs | Search Resumes | Advertise
About Monster | Work for Monster | Advertise with Us | AdChoices | Partner with Us | Investor Relations | Social Media
Terms of Use | Privacy Center | Accessibility Center | Help | Security | Contact Us | Sitemap | Mobile
©2014 Monster - All Rights Reserved U.S. Patents No. 5,832,497; 7,599,930 B1; 7,827,125 and 7,836,060 MWW - Looking for Monster Cable? - V: 2014.4.55.59-301
eTrustLogo