Salary Negotiations & Salary Disclosure

Good career management means that you always know what you are worth in the marketplace. This is true whether you are looking for a job or not. If you are searching for employment, you can’t effectively negotiate your salary, or even know if an offer is fair, unless you know the going rate. For those not seeking greener pastures, you are still wise to avoid complacency about your salary. Falling below market rate is a problem that gets compounded over time and becomes more and more difficult to fix.

Concurrent with a job search you should do salary research. The website, is a great tool for finding salary information in your field and in your geographic area. Another site, is a good resource as well. You may also want to contact professional or trade organizations in your field since they frequently conduct salary surveys. Recruiters are another good bet for up-to-date salary information.

Salary Negotiations

Employers often have a little “wiggle room” on the salary when a candidate asks for a bit more money. Therefore, I recommend you do so. Use gentle language so that if the salary cannot be raised, or cannot be raised to the level of your request, you can still take the offer without looking foolish. The best salary negotiation tactic involves sharing information about what other employers are paying for similar jobs. That entails salary research (see paragraph #1) or choosing to disclose your current salary or salary history, if you think it will help.  Most employers understand it will take at least a 10-15% increase to get an employed person to switch jobs.

Salary Disclosure

Here is some very recent and good news for job candidates: State and local governments have been putting in place laws that prohibit employers from asking candidates for their salary history. These laws are designed to combat pay discrimination. It is now illegal in many states and counties to ask a job applicant about their current or prior salary history, either in an application or in an interview. Currently, Suffolk County, Westchester County, and New York City ban both public and private companies from asking salary history questions. Across all of New York, it is illegal for public entities to ask these questions. This is a fast-moving public policy issue and other counties, such as Nassau County, will likely follow with laws. Some of these laws even go so far as to prohibit employers from seeking out this information in other ways, or even using it if volunteered by the applicant.