How Workers Are Leaving $1 Million on the Table

BOSTON (MainStreet) — You might be leaving $1 million on the table from a highly common mistake in the workplace.

It's the cash you're missing out on by not negotiating your salary, according to the salary comparison site

The company lays it all out in stark detail, using a person-to-person comparison to reach that $1 million gap.

"Two people are given an initial job offer of $45,000 each (close to many college graduates' first offer)," says in a primer on salary negotiations. "One person negotiates an initial $5,000 bump and a 4% raise each third year — a typical progression for negotiated salaries. The other person accepts the initial offer and just a 1% pay increase each year — a typical year-over-year progression without negotiation."

After a 45-year career, the difference in their total lifetime earnings is $1,037,773, concludes.

Before heading out to the balcony to rage over losing out on a cool million, take a deep breath.

Even though 41% of Americans didn't negotiate for their current jobs, according to, it's not like you can't jump in and change that behavior. If you just ask for a 4% raise every three years, you can increase your career income total substantially.

But you'll have to change some career behaviors first, the firm says. The primary roadblocks to productive salary negotiations are zero preparation, a lack of confidence and weak negotiating skills.

To get up to speed, you're going to have to grasp some realities:

  • 61% of workers say they are afraid of hearing the word "no" when asking for more money, yet 73% of managers say they respect employees who negotiate.
  • 84% of employers fully expect employees and job candidates to ask for more money.
  • According to data from, "zero companies" fired an employee who stepped up and asked for more money.

To maximize your chances of getting that 4% annual raise, try getting the upper hand with some proven strategies: