Bloomberg Law
Feb. 22, 2019, 11:45 AMUpdated: Feb. 25, 2019, 5:09 PM

HR Buzz: Salary Haggling • Boss Reviews • Debriefing Boomers (1)

Cathleen O'Connor Schoultz

Make me an offer I can’t refuse. Employers ready to pop the question to a job candidate should be prepared for the person to come back with a request for a higher salary, a new survey shows.

Dying to share something about your boss with the world? We talked to the CEO of a new professional review site—Completed—that’s hoping to become the Yelp for supervisors. That and more in this week’s “HR Buzz” featuring the latest workplace trends, surveys, and reports.

More Money, Please

Workers’ confidence seems to be showing in their pay negotiations, with more than half of new hires asking for more money than they were first offered, specialized staffing firm Robert Half said. Nearly three-quarters of managers expect workers to push for more, they indicated in the survey.

Some 55 percent of workers asked for more money when fielding their most recent job offer, respondents said, up from 39 percent in a survey released a year ago. Men were most likely to request a nicer paycheck, as were people age 18 to 34 in general.

Salary negotiations can consist of single exchanges or several rounds of back and forth, Brett Good, senior district president with Robert Half, told Bloomberg Law.

“To streamline these discussions, it’s helpful for both parties to do their research on going rates ahead of time,” he said. “Employers aren’t likely to respond well if job seekers are being unreasonable or pulling numbers out of thin air,” Good said.

Employers’ willingness to negotiate for salary can vary by the geographic area. And hiring managers can also “sweeten” their offers with better benefits, perks, and incentives, he said.

Robert Half found that employers in Boston, Denver, and Washington, D.C., were the most likely to expect to negotiate about the cash.

It’s hard to say why that is, Good said. But in some cases, “it could be that candidates have more sway and employers expect them to negotiate in certain cities where the job market is better overall,” he said.

The company based its report on surveys of 2,700-plus workers in office environments and more than 2,800 senior managers in 28 major U.S. cities.

‘Completed’ Reviews Site Focused on the Boss

It’s hard to get real feedback about a manager you’re thinking of bringing on, said Michael Zammuto, especially on the most important question: “Did that person bring out the best in others?” So why not ask those others?

Zammuto is co-founder and CEO of startup, an artificial intelligence and big data professional peer review platform, based in San Francisco. He said the need for transparent feedback on bosses is what sparked the idea for the new platform—but it’s for reviewing all people in business, not just managers. The main interest, however, at least for now, is supervisors.

What each party gets out of it, as he sees it: The reviewed person gets another point of reference and “credible and useful feedback” (lower and midlevel managers don’t generally get a lot of visibility); the rater gets a chance to weigh in; and hiring managers get a hand in finding the right fit. Previous employers don’t want the liability of offering a rating, even a good one, which makes it hard for hiring managers, Zammuto said.

Completed is still in its early days but eventually will host an accumulation of reviews about a person over time at different jobs. That’s the plan, Zammuto told Bloomberg Law.

Meanwhile, the robot is busy policing the site. The system has a complex algorithm that flags questionable posts “for human review.” What makes a review questionable is a combination of factors, such as posters being unwilling to state their locations or who they are, as well as inflammatory language. “This won’t be a site where you bash people—that undermines the value of all reviews,” he said.

People can leave anonymous reviews, but that always lowers their credibility scores as displayed on the website.

Completed is picking up critical mass, the CEO said. The company seeded the site with 25 million profiles of business people, similar to how Yelp got started except it loaded business profiles. Completed hopes to double that by the end of March.

Zammuto said he studied business and has worked mostly in tech companies, looking under the hood at various review sites.

Had to ask: Why the name “Completed”? It aligns with the company’s focus on providing “comprehensive” profiles of professionals, he said.

Zammuto is currently working out of his home office in Philadelphia. But the CEO is all over the place—“Have laptop will travel,” he said. The company’s dozen or so full- and part-time employees all telecommute.

Losing Boomer Knowledge a Bummer

The baby-boom generation, born 1946 to 1964, is still very much represented in the workplace. And with an average 39 years’ job experience, many have important knowledge to pass on before they ultimately decide to split, according to a report from global staffing firm Express Employment Professionals, based on a survey it commissioned by Harris.

But the majority of boomers (57 percent) told researchers they’ve transmitted only half of their knowledge or less to the next generations. How to fix that, according to EEP, is for employers to put a knowledge transfer structure into place and make it easier for older workers to stick around.

Seventy-two percent of employed boomers would like a flexible “semi-retirement” position; 58 percent would work reduced hours for reduced benefits; and 56 percent would transition to more of a consulting role, the survey found.

But only 20 percent said their employers have a semi-retirement option.

And here’s an interesting number to spark a conversation at the next family reunion: Only 52 percent of boomers think the younger generations work as hard as the boomers do.

Check back Fridays to get your latest HR Buzz.

(Updated to reflect additional reporting.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Cathleen O'Connor Schoultz in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Cynthia Harasty at; Terence Hyland at