The Big Career Mistake That’s Causing Recent Grads to Miss Out on Income

Survey shows only 38 percent of millennials negotiate their salary

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While many recent graduates in today’s job market are grateful to simply land a full-time job, a new study by NerdWallet and Looksharp makes it clear that young professionals should make a strong effort to utilize their negotiation power before saying yes to a position.

According to the study, which surveyed almost 8,000 graduates who entered the job market between 2012 and 2015, only 38 percent of them negotiated their salary upon receiving a job offer. Of the 700 employers surveyed, 75 percent of them said they typically had room to increase their first salary offer by five to 10 percent during negotiations. For millennial professionals who fear that negotiation will lead a company to take their offer off the table, the survey found that 84 percent of employers agree that an entry-level candidate will not be putting their job offer at risk by discussing a salary increase.

[Related: 5 Improper and Illegal Interview Questions and How to Avoid Them]

When it comes to negotiation, the data also showed gender disparity with 29 percent more males negotiating their salary than females. Of the women surveyed, 42 percent said they felt anxious when asking for more money, while 53 percent of the men said they feel confident when asking for a higher salary.

While negotiating your pay may be a scary task for young professionals who are just getting their feet wet in the job market, below are a few tips NerdWallet offers to help millennials get over the hump.

1. Research how much other professionals at your level and in your industry earn. This way, if a hiring manager offers you a salary below the market value of your position, you have the research to back up your request for a higher pay.

2. Practice with a friend, mentor or college counselor on how you will respond once an employer makes you an offer.

3. If your employer isn’t willing to budge on your request, ask about other job perks such as stock options or the ability to work from home a few days out of the week.