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Only half of job seekers negotiate, but those who do usually succeed

If you negotiated your salary or benefits package when you got offered your current job, you're probably out-earning your colleagues who didn't try negotiating — and you may work in California.

According to new research from recruiting software company Jobvite's 2017 Job Seeker Nation Study, there are measurable differences in terms of who asks for more and who doesn't and what happens then. For instance, workers on the coasts are more likely to negotiate than workers in the Midwest, and high earners are more likely to go for it than lower earners.

Thirty-six percent of Westerners push for higher wages and 21 percent push for better benefits, as opposed to only 25 percent and 11 percent of Midwesterners, respectively.

Differences also break down along gender lines.

MASTER OF NONE -- Pictured: Danielle Brooks as Shannon, Dev's agent, and Aziz Ansari as Dev (Photo by: KC Bailey/Universal Television)
MASTER OF NONE -- Pictured: Danielle Brooks as Shannon, Dev's agent, and Aziz Ansari as Dev (Photo by: KC Bailey/Universal Television)

Fifty-six percent of men overall feel comfortable negotiating versus only 38 percent of women, Jobvite reports. Men also seem to negotiate a bit more effectively, on average: 87 percent of male employees who tried negotiating report that they had success, compared to 80 percent of women.

That means 49 percent of men have negotiated themselves to a better position as opposed to only 30 percent of women.

According to Jobvite, overall, negotiating works. Those who are confident enough to try usually succeed: A total of 84 percent end up enjoying higher pay. In about a fifth of cases, negotiators saw salaries rise significantly, by 11 to 20 percent.

On a proposed salary of $50,000 a year, that could come out to an extra $10,000 each year, which in turn gets factored into bonuses and raises going forward. The 48 percent of job seekers who are too anxious to bargain are leaving potentially life-changing amounts of money on the table.

That said, the hesitance of some employees to ask for more money is understandable. No one wants to be condemned as "selfish" and "ungrateful," as some Thinx employees claim they were when they tried to ask for a raise. Women, unlike men, often aren't conditioned to assert themselves and can face disapproval when they try.

Regardless, it's easy to fear you could make a mistake.

Understanding the principles behind a successful negotiation can help. Get advice and tips from experts like Ramit Sethi. And then practice, both at home, in staged negotiations with friends and loved ones, and out in the world.

Start by bargaining when the stakes are low and you'll gain the confidence you need to bargain when the stakes are high.

Methodology:
To compile this report, Zogby Analytics, on behalf of Jobvite, conducted a nationwide online survey of 2,287 adults (aged 18+), of whom 1,531 were participants in the U.S. labor force, in March of 2017. Full details about methodology can be found here.