I graduated this past May with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I've had several interviews over the last several months, and got a job offer last week. The offer was for much less than the average starting salary for mechanical engineers. During the initial phone interview the person from HR asked what salary I was expecting. I said that average for Mech Es was around $54,000 (I've seen average starting figures from 52-58 k) and is what I was expecting. She said that it would be in the mid 40s. When she called a few days after the interview to say that they wanted to hire, me she said it would be 46 k. No overtime since it's a yearly salary. The benefits package looks decent. Not exceptionally good, but not bad at all. Of the at least 5 dozen places I've applied to, I've only had a handful of interviews, and this is the only offer I've received. It sounds like an interesting position, and is a solid company that promotes from within. Given the current job market, I can't imagine declining the offer. However, the offer is so far below the average starting salary for my degree and what I've been expecting. It's just outside of a major city, so the cost of living isn't equally lower than average. Should I try to get a higher salary? How do I even go about asking? Should I start by inquiring about how they do raises? My friends that got government jobs are starting and something like 43k, but have guaranteed raises that put them at 60k or so in 5-6 years. If this company does substantial raises in the first few years I'd be happy. Should I ask for extra vacation time, or increased 401 k contributions? I'm new to the salary negotiations thing (my internships were hourly, and I was told up front that they were non-negotiable) so any help would be appreciated.