IT pros leave money on the table, job site finds

If IT job candidates were to negotiate higher salaries, they could expect a bump in the 5% range, according to jobs site Dice.com

When a job offer arrives, a majority of IT pros accept it without asking for more pay, according to Dice.com. If candidates were to negotiate higher salaries, they could expect a bump in the neighborhood of 5%, the IT careers specialist estimates.

When a job offer arrives, a majority of tech pros accept it without asking for more pay, according to Dice.com. If candidates were to negotiate higher salaries, they could expect a bump in the neighborhood of 5%, the IT careers specialist estimates.

A majority of hiring managers and recruiters surveyed by Dice.com said that more than half of tech pros accept the first offer without negotiating starting salaries or hourly rates. The national average salary for tech pros is currently $85,619, which means not haggling can cost a person $4,300, on average, per year. When you factor in bonuses and performance pay, which are typically based on a percentage of salaries, the tally is even higher.

[CEO PAY: Cash, stock awards, perks add up to big pay packages]

Fear is likely the reason IT pros don’t take the opportunity to ask for more money, according to Tom Silver, senior vice president at Dice.com.

“When fear creeps into a negotiation or stops it all together, it’s good to remember negotiation is simply a discussion aimed at reaching an agreement. And, both sides want an agreement,” Silver points out.

“Straight-talk meetings are a standard in tech departments, there’s no reason tech professionals can’t do that with job offers. The company has tapped the talent, but the employer is not tapped out – ask for more.”

The odds of getting more money are in the job candidates’ favor. Dice.com asked 838 hiring managers and how frequently a company will raise an offer when a candidate doesn’t accept the initial salary or hourly rate that’s offered. Six percent said very frequently; 27% said frequently; and 49% said occasionally. The remainder said rarely (11%), very rarely (6%) or never (1%).

As of last month, Dice.com counts 83,610 available tech jobs. The top 10 metro areas for tech hiring, based on the number of job postings, are: New York (8,511 jobs), D.C./Baltimore (7,073), Silicon Valley (5,240), Chicago (3,784), Los Angeles (3,301), Boston (3,190), Atlanta (3,120), Dallas (3,030), Philadelphia (2,495), and Seattle (2,386).

Despite reservations about the overall economy, the IT jobs market remains healthy and IT executives are generally optimistic about hiring.

In a survey by Robert Half Technology, 14% of CIOs said they planned to expand their IT departments in the second quarter of 2013. In addition, 70% said it's challenging to find skilled professionals today. The skill sets in greatest demand are network administration, cited by 51% of CIOs, and database management, also cited by 51% of CIOs.

Ann Bednarz covers IT careers, outsourcing and Internet culture for Network World. Follow Ann on Twitter at @annbednarz and reach her via email at abednarz@nww.com.

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