Why Data Professionals Should Negotiate Every Job Offer

Here are six reasons why you shouldn't feel tempted to jump at the chance and take that job offer as it is without first negotiating.

By Kayla Matthews, Productivity Bytes


Once you meet the milestone of receiving a job offer after a period of intensive applying for open positions, you may feel tempted to jump at the chance and take the job offer as it is without negotiating. Here are six reasons why you shouldn't.


1. You Don't Want to Accept Less Than You're Worth

One of the main reasons job candidates resist negotiating is that they don't want to risk asking for too much and make the company retract the offer. However, findings from CareerBuilder suggest that employers expect negotiations, especially concerning salaries.

More specifically, the research indicated that 52% of employers usually offer salaries that are lower than what they're willing to pay so that there's room to negotiate.

Furthermore, 63% of employers revealed that they felt it necessary to pay workers more because of the rising competitiveness in the job market at large. Considering how in demand data professionals are, you should feel exceptionally willing to ensure you earn a decent salary based on experience and the other things you offer.


2. You Can Always Say "No"

Another thing to keep in mind about negotiating a job offer is that even once you decide to start doing it, the option is always there to cease the negotiation process and either accept the offer as it stands or look for other opportunities. Highly skilled negotiators know that negotiating a job offer can be mentally draining, but you don't have to let it wear you down.

It's crucial to set limits and know when the best option is to walk away. As such, you should not shy away from the possibility of negotiating due to believing you won't come out on top. Negotiating is hard work, but it could bring a payoff. If you don't start, there's no chance of getting a more favorable deal.


3. Negotiations Let You Show You've Done Your Research

A 2018 study about data scientists' salaries found that professionals with PhDs earned eight to 10% more than those with master's degrees. Whether you have a doctorate or just more education under your belt than the job listing specifies, it could be a reason to negotiate. Speaking more broadly, being willing to negotiate shows that you know you have things that benefit the company and can back up that stance.

When you're negotiating a job offer, state concrete reasons you deserve more. Doing so requires critical thinking, plus researching what needs the company has and how you could fill them. Never come to negotiate without getting thoroughly prepared.


4. You Can Negotiate More Than the Salary

Negotiating is not just for communications between companies and potential employees. Businesses commonly negotiate numerous kinds of deals, such as procurement contracts with suppliers. Doing so lets them avoid overcharging or under-servicing clients. Moreover, negotiated agreements can be more scalable and customized to the supplier's needs than non-negotiated ones.

Companies know negotiating is worth it if it means they can be flexible enough to secure the entities and suppliers they want to work with the most. Having access to leading suppliers is a competitive advantage. In almost the same way, you're helping a company become more competitive in the marketplace by deciding to work with them.

People who hire data professionals know they must be reasonably flexible too because of the numerous other companies that also want to bring data experts on board. With that in mind, don't forget that you can be flexible too. In other words, there are plenty of things to negotiate besides salary.

When you remain aware that your acceptance of the job offer directly benefits the company, you should feel more open about making small changes to your contract so that it's more advantageous for you.

For example, you might want the option to work from home at least one day a week or arrange for a one-time sign-on bonus. Alternatively, if continuing your education is one of your priorities, ask for the job offer to include a section saying your employer will pay for you to attend a certain number of conferences for data professionals or enroll in relevant courses each year.


5. You Already Know They Want You

Some people jump the gun by prematurely assuming they got the job. They then start negotiating without having their job offers in hand. Don't make such a costly mistake. In contrast, if you're at the point that at least one company has extended a job offer likely to enhance your data science career, there are no doubts that they want you as part of the team.

With the uncertainty out of the way, you should feel in a much better position to assess the job offer, and more specifically, what's lacking from it. If you're juggling more than one offer simultaneously, such a tricky situation could have the benefit of helping you realize that one of the offers is far below the rest in terms of what it provides.


6. Negotiations Could Help You Enjoy the Job More

If data professionals decide to leave their jobs, they do so for a variety of reasons. Many of them find that their expectations of the job don't match reality. Or, they get fed up with company politics or the fact that they feel swamped after becoming the go-to person for any problem even remotely related to data.

But some also leave because they resent their jobs after realizing they sold themselves short by blindly taking an offer. You don't want to be in the situation where you accept an offer without negotiating only to realize a few weeks later that you dislike it due to something you could have negotiated before accepting the role.


Negotiation Is Worthwhile

Negotiating a job offer can seem scary, especially when you're new at it. Fear not — you have much to gain from discussing every offer that comes your way.

Bio: Kayla Matthews discusses technology and big data on publications like The Week, The Data Center Journal and VentureBeat, and has been writing for more than five years. To read more posts from Kayla, subscribe to her blog Productivity Bytes.