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Career Counselor
Survey: Strong Compensation Required to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Nov/Dec 2007 If you've been wavering on whether or not to ask for that raise or, if you are a job seeker, negotiate a higher offer, take into consideration that today's tight labor market has made it more difficult for employers to recruit and retain the talented professionals they need.

According to The Employment Dynamics and Growth Expectations (EDGE) Report, an annual study on employment and compensation trends by Robert Half International and, more than half (52 percent) of hiring managers are having trouble recruiting qualified employees. Meanwhile, 58 percent of workers polled said they are more likely to negotiate a better compensation package today than they might have been 12 months ago.

In many cases, you have the bargaining power to improve your current position or a new offer, particularly if you’re well versed on the intricacies of the market and the value you bring to the table. And keep in mind that the base pay and benefits you negotiate are the foundation for future raises, bonuses and vacation time.

Even with a market advantage, however, salary negotiation can still be a challenge. Following are some suggestions to help you negotiate compensation:

  • Do your homework. If this is a new job offer, be sure you have a solid understanding of average starting salaries for the position. Keep in mind that salaries will vary significantly based on factors such as geographic area and company size, so try to locate information that most closely matches your situation. Visit the employer’s website, read business and industry publications such as the 2008 Salary Guide from Robert Half International, and study earnings statements if your target is a public company. These sources can give you a better idea of whether you should try to negotiate.
  • Know your worth. If you are negotiating a raise for your current position, make sure you can cite accomplishments and areas where you have improved your skills. 
  • Be positive. Always maintain a professional demeanor throughout your discussions with a hiring manager. If you’re told there is no room for negotiation due to budget considerations, you might ask if the subject of compensation could be addressed again in three to six months.

Adequate preparation and the right mindset can go a long way in achieving a fair deal with a new or existing employer. Research your marketability, evaluate the organization’s potential for growth and enter negotiations with a willingness to compromise. You’ll increase your chances of reaching an agreement that is satisfactory to both you and your employer.

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ACCOUNTEMPS is a specialized temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps provides support throughout an accounting department. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Accountemps and has more than 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia. Accountemps' Career Counselor column, a SmartPros staple for over four years, is refreshed twice a month.

2007 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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