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ZipRecruiter Survey Reveals One Mistake Can Cost Job Seekers Over $750k In Career Earnings

A new survey of 50,000 job seekers by leading online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter® ( finds that the majority of job seekers are not negotiating for more salary when starting a new job.

  • 64% of all survey respondents said that, when they were last hired, they accepted the first salary offer they received.
  • Younger workers were particularly reluctant to make a counter offer with 84% of 18-34 year olds accepting the first salary offered.

recent study of newly-hired employees in various industries found that those who chose to negotiate increased their starting salaries by an average of $5,000. Assuming a 5% pay increase each year over a 45-year career, negotiating a starting salary of $45,000 rather than $40,000 will translate into additional lifetime earnings of over $750K.

"The historically low unemployment rate means job seekers have a prime opportunity to ask for a higher wage." said ZipRecruiter SVP of Human Resources Amy Klimek. "Negotiating for even a modest increase in compensation at their first job impacts earnings through the rest of a job seeker's career."

National data show that workers are increasingly quitting their jobs, which is supported by the high number of ZipRecruiter survey respondents who reported being dissatisfied with their compensation and benefits packages.

Employers seem to be under-appreciating the impact of raising wages as a retention device. From the ZipRecruiter survey:

  • When asked directly about which form of compensation matters most to them, survey participants most frequently said topline pay.
  • 50% of survey participants who are actively trying to switch jobs said they would stay in their current jobs for higher pay.

The full survey results can be found on ZipRecruiter's Labor Market Insights.

To speak to a ZipRecruiter spokesperson about this survey, or other labor market trends:

Methodology: ZipRecruiter surveyed 50,184 active job seekers in the United States in September and October of 2018. Active job seekers are defined as logged in registered users who visited ZipRecruiter's job search site or actively used the ZipRecruiter job search app during that time period. Survey participants ranged in age from 18 to over 75 years, with 52.5% holding a bachelor's degree or higher. 46% of respondents identified themselves as women, 53% as men, and 1% either selected "other" or chose not to answer. Compared with the wider U.S. population, our survey slightly over-sampled Blacks relative to Whites and Hispanics, with 56% of respondents identifying as White or Caucasian, 20% as Black or African American, 11% as Hispanic, 7% as Asian or Asian American, 1% as American Indian or Alaska Native, and about 5% as another race. 44% of respondents were not employed and looking for work. Of those who were employed, 78% were working full-time and 22% part-time. 46% of employed participants had been in their current jobs more than two years, 15% between one year and two years, 17% less than one year, and 23% less than 6 months.