Get To Work: With Suzy Welch

Suzy Welch: The advice you've been given about negotiating your salary is wrong

Suzy Welch: This is the biggest mistake people make when negotiating salary

You've just landed a coveted job at a new company and the hiring manager presents the organization's offer for your starting salary.

Do you accept the given number or negotiate for higher pay?

The prevailing wisdom says you should negotiate, but according to bestselling management author and CNBC contributor Suzy Welch, the prevailing wisdom is wrong.

"I know not everyone's going to agree on my advice on this," she says, "but here's the advice I give my own kids: If the salary is within 10 to 15 percent of what you had in your head, say, 'Yes, thank you. I'm excited. I can't wait.'"

Waiting, she says, will pay off in the long run.

CNBC Contributor Suzy Welch.

Data shows women negotiate less often than men, and earn less money as a result. But Welch says that asking for a raise at the start could come across as greedy, and Harvard research underscores that women are particularly vulnerable to this scrutiny.

"You want to walk in as a team player and be the person who believes that pay comes with performance," Welch says.

Failing to do so can hurt your career. One woman who Welch describes as "talented" pushed for a 3 percent raise when starting at a new company. But she struggled to settle in and sensed that people were "cold to her in meetings."

"It wasn't worth it," Welch says. Waiting for a raise isn't just to avoid backlash. It's also strategic, and "positions you perfectly for asking and getting a significant raise after you've done great work."

Instead of asking for more money to begin with, Welch says you should set up a meeting with your boss six months into the new role. Be sure to emphasize your shared goals and how you've contributed to the team's success. Explain how you've not only succeeded but over-delivered. Then say, "I hope that will be recognized in my compensation."

Holding off several months gives you that extra time to show your boss that you recognize pay is performance-driven, as well as build your case for getting a raise. You'll be more likely to get a larger raise, too.

"Go in with good will, do a great job," she says, "and in the long run — and usually in the short run too — you'll see the real reward."

Suzy Welch is the co-founder of the Jack Welch Management Instituteand a noted business journalist, TV commentator and public speaker. If you have questions about your own career, email her at

Video by Mary Stevens.

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