Do You Have Room to Negotiate Salary?

Although I’ve had students ask my opinion about negotiating starting salaries, I was somewhat caught off guard when a student I offered a position to actually called me back to negotiate. I’m a big believer that “a closed mouth doesn’t get fed”, so I definitely respected the student for initiating the conversation.

Similar to many Management Training programs, the starting salaries for our programs are set and nonnegotiable. Recognizing that many recent college graduates may be in a similar situation, wondering if there is room to negotiate, I’d like to offer the following:

Consider the entire offer.

When evaluating an offer, it’s easy to focus solely on the starting salary. However, it’s essential that you consider the entire offer. For example, in addition to health insurance benefits, our company provides paid sick days, vacation days, holidays, tuition reimbursement, as well as a company match in the retirement savings plan. We also give 12 free hotel room nights per year and free meals in the Associate Dining Room. These are benefits that if converted to monetary value, they would easily be worth more than $10,000.

In my opinion, there is limited room to negotiate when you’re a recent college graduate. Especially if you are applying for a Management Training program, it is very likely that the salary will be firm. But there could be the opportunity for you to receive other benefits. For example, companies offer relocation assistance or perhaps a “signing bonus.” If these benefits weren’t included in your offer, you could inquire about them and their availability.

Consider quality of  life.

I encourage you to also consider what your life would be like if you accepted the offer. Assuming the salary offered is not as high as you desire, will you be living within your desired geographic location? Does the work schedule allow you to continue participating in activities that are important to you? Your happiness outside of work is priceless and may justify accepting an offer, because you’ll be able to ensure a richer quality of life.

Consider raises and promotional opportunities.

Looking beyond the salary and benefits, you should also consider opportunities for growth and future raises. Does your potential company evaluate their employees regularly? Are salary increases given annually? What are the opportunities for growth if you wanted to move up within the company? These are all questions you should ask your recruiter and carefully consider when you’re evaluating an offer. The potential to move up within the organization, may outweigh a salary that you feel is on the lower end of the spectrum.

You may not be able to negotiate the salary of your first professional opportunity, but remember sometimes all you need is an opportunity. You can then allow that one opportunity to catapult you into even greater roles and higher salaries.


Ronisha is one of Hyatt’s College Recruiting Managers.  Hyatt’s College Recruiters visit more than 30 college campuses each year recruiting top talent at hospitality programs across the country.  A graduate of The Ohio State University, Ronisha begin her Hyatt career as a Human Resources Corporate Management Trainee.  During her ten years with Hyatt, she has worked at Hyatt Hotels in Orlando, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey.  To learn more about opportunities with Hyatt please visit, follow Hyatt on twitter @hyattcareers, become a Hyatt Facebook fan at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts Careers and follow the Campus Recruiter blog at

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