Another sign of a tightening job market: More than half of professionals (55%) participating in a recent survey said they tried to negotiate a higher salary with their last employment offer.

That’s a 16-point jump from a similar survey conducted last year, according to research from the staffing firm Robert Half.

And it looks as though employers are ready to deal with the new dynamic. In a separate survey:

  • 70% of senior managers said they expect some back-and-forth on salary, and
  • about six in 10 (62%) are more open to negotiating compensation than they were a year ago.

Houston, LA, Miami lead the way

Other key results of the Robert Half research:

  • 68% of male employees tried to negotiate pay vs. 45% of women.
  • More professionals ages 18 to 34 (65%) asked for higher compensation compared to those ages 35 to 54 (55%) and 55 and older (38%).
  • Boston (80%), Denver and Washington, DC (78% each) have the most managers who said they expect job seekers to negotiate salary.
  • Houston (73%), Los Angeles (72%) and Miami (71%) have the largest number of executives more willing to discuss pay than they were a year ago.
  • Managers in Washington, DC (71%), Houston and Los Angeles (70% each) are most open to negotiating nonmonetary perks and benefits compared to last year.

What’s the cause of the increased confidence in employees’ leverage?

Experts point to two factors:

  1. increased competition for highly skilled workers
  2. more access to salary info via the Internet

Bottom line: In order to remain competitive, companies are going to have to be vigilant about monitoring compensation trends.

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