The Power of Negotiation, Documented

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CareerCup shows people’s self-reported compensations in a variety of different jobs and companies.

We can directly compare the compensation for people with similar backgrounds and experience levels.

The differences are telling. And we can imagine that for two people in the same or similar job with different levels of compensation, negotiation played a role.

For example, here are three full-time Software Development Engineers who joined Amazon within the same three-month period in 2011:

Person A: $95,000 salary + $30,000 signing bonus + $7500 relocation + $45,000 in stock

Person B: $92,000 salary + $25,000 bonus + stock

Person C: $90,000 salary + $20,000 signing bonus + $7500 relocation + $45,000 in stock

All three had zero work experience before joining Amazon (recent grads).

Person B’s stock amount was not given but we can imagine it was the same or similar as the other two.

The difference between Person A and C is especially stark: for the same job, with the same experience, Person A literally gets $15,000 more in compensation. That is over 9% more money, before even starting work.

Multiplied over a decades-long career, after multiple raises and promotions, and switching jobs multiple times, that difference will build into $100,000’s more money than his or her peer.

Other sites like and provide more salary information. You can use their salary comparison tools to get a general idea of whether your own salary is above or below the “norm” for your industry or city.

For example, the average salary for a Senior Paralegal in New York City is $80,596. But this varies widely, ranging between roughly $40,000 and $150,000, according to their chart.

Consider two companies in the NYC area: at Green Key Resources, a Senior Paralegal can expect to make $94,133. Whereas at the O’Neil Search Group, he or she can expect a much higher $120,000.

(I’ve mentioned the power of using objective tools and metrics like this in salary negotiations before.)

A Senior Project Manager at Infosys in New York will earn between $92,000 and $132,000. That is a $40,000 difference that is defined by differences in hours, health benefits, qualifications, years of experience, and yes, negotiation skills.

Now, of course different companies have different compensation budgets and hiring policies. Negotiation is not the only factor that matters.

But making an effort to negotiate will ensure you get the maximum you can from your experience and potential.

And most importantly, the principles of negotiation don’t just apply to salaries, but to business sales, home purchases, and much more.

Justin Aquino