How Much You Could Be Making Right Now Might Surprise You

Last year, which happened to be one of the hottest job markets on record, ZipRecruiter surveyed over 50,000 job seekers and uncovered an unsettling fact: most people don’t negotiate for a higher salary when they take a new job.

Unfortunately, neglecting to negotiate your salary can negatively affect your lifetime earnings. One recent study found that new hires who chose to negotiate their salary scored an additional $5,000 a year, which can translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional earnings over a lifetime.

The news that so many people are choosing to leave money on the table is particularly disturbing given how tight the job market is. When we asked employers about their staffing needs last year, 82% said finding qualified candidates was their greatest challenge. In other words, if you’ve got the skills to switch jobs or come off the unemployment sidelines right now, chances are high that employers will pay you more to get you on board.

Some people may not negotiate their salary because they don’t know where to begin. You’re not likely to find one universal number you can use to prove how much you should earn. Rather, you need to set a range and try to land as close to the top as you can.

To help you find that sweet spot, ZipRecruiter salary data shows a distribution for the going rate in any given role, which allows you to see the percentage of jobs offering low, high, and average pay for the role. Anything above or below the middle 50% of jobs on the market is likely an outlier, so it’s best to try and land somewhere between the 25th and 75th percentile when it comes to wages.   

The job titles listed below were in the highest demand among employers posting to ZipRecruiter in 2018, and millions of people will take a similar job this year. It’s obvious from the spread between the bottom and top pay quartiles that lots of people are accepting less than they should.

This is How Much Your CoWorkers Are Making

Sales Representative

75th Percentile: $55,000

25th Percentile: $29,000

The most successful Sales Representatives will need an entrepreneurial spirit, which was the fastest growing skill mentioned in job postings on ZipRecruiter this January. But having an entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t mean you should accept a lowball salary offer. Yes, your sales job may be bonus or commission-based, but even these pay structures can be negotiated.

Registered Nurse

75th Percentile: $76,000

25th Percentile: $55,500

Registered nurses are in high demand all across the U.S. But as you can see, not all of them are paid equally. Nurses are particularly well-positioned to ask for a higher wage, whether during salary negotiations or at an annual review since the healthcare industry is experiencing a dire talent shortage given its rapid growth.

Class A Truck Driver

75th Percentile: $64,000

25th Percentile: $44,000

Transportation is another booming industry with more jobs than people to fill them. The rise of e-commerce has increased demand for delivery and warehousing workers everywhere, and autonomous vehicles are nowhere near replacing them just yet. Trucking companies were among the first to raise wages late last year, but even with several consecutive months of wage hikes, the shortage persists.  

Insurance Agent

75th Percentile: $62,500

25th Percentile: $30,000

The fact that there’s nearly a 100% difference in the bottom quartile and top quartile for Insurance Agent pay is likely due to the various pay structures for Insurance Agents, which are often completely commission based. But even if a job is traditionally commission-only, that doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate your job offer. And Insurance Agents are likely to remain in high demand, since many people need the complexities of insurance coverage explained to them, insulating the role from technology-induced job loss.

Software Engineer

75th Percentile: $114,000

25th Percentile: $79,500

Software engineering jobs aren’t going away anytime soon. In fact, Software Engineer job openings increased 135% on ZipRecruiter in 2018 while applicants actually fell about one half of one percent during the period. The staggering demand for tech talent has pushed wages up dramatically in the last several years, so much so that many programmers might not know just how much their skills are worth.

Didn’t see the job you’re interviewing for on the list? Check out real salaries from real employers on ZipRecruiter to find out how much you should be earning.

Written by

Jeffery Marino is a Los Angeles-based writer who previously covered emerging job market trends using proprietary ZipRecruiter data.

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