As you are probably well aware, one of the main reasons people choose to change jobs is because they want a little more money. Along with increased responsibility, more flexibility, a greater sense of purpose or a more suitable organisational culture, salary is usually a key factor in our decision making when it comes to changing jobs. Often, employees feel they’re not being paid fairly in their current role, and therefore decide that the time has come for their combined skills, experience and qualifications to command the higher salary they think they deserve.
Previously, I've spoken about how it doesn’t pay to inflate your salary too much when speaking to a recruiter or hiring manager during the initial stages of your job search. It’s simply counterproductive to add extra income to your salary, as your elevated figure can then price you out of the market, lead the recruiter or hiring manager to assume you are over-qualified, or make you look dishonest and untrustworthy.
So, as a positive alternative, I suggested that instead of answering the question “What’s your current salary?” with an inflated figure, you should focus your response on what your ‘desired’ salary is. Here, we’ll cover how you can determine what this figure should be.
First of all, a reasonable desired salary is what someone with your combination of skills, experience and qualifications can fairly and realistically hope to earn – therefore, this is what you should be aiming for. When job searching and discussing salary with a recruiter or employer, it’s essential that the desired salary you share is an accurate and realistic reflection of the market rate for the types of roles you’re interested in.
However, determining what your desired salary should be isn’t always straight forward. To help determine yours, you’ll need to research:
It’s important to remember that whenever you’re considering a job offer or determining your desired salary, there are a number of other important factors to take into account. For instance, employee benefits, pension contributions, subsidised travel options and other non-financial incentives are all important considerations in an overall package. In fact, depending upon your personal circumstances, it might even be more sensible to forgo some of the headline salary for a better benefits package.
Yes, money is vital, but subsidised food and drink, dental care, wellness programmes or the keys to a company car can add greatly to the value of your total package.
So, when considering an offer and comparing it to your desired salary, estimate the value of the benefits proposed and add these to the base salary. It could be that the figure you desire can be achieved as part of a total compensation package.
It’s also important to remember that the exact details of the benefits you are offered may not be clear during the application process. So, ask your recruitment consultant to clarify the benefits that a prospective employer is offering.
Ultimately, this is what we all want from our career. When we don’t feel that’s what we’re getting, the temptation can be to look elsewhere, especially if we feel we have developed the skills, knowledge and experience to take on a more challenging role.
However, being paid fairly for what you do isn’t only achievable by changing jobs. If you’re otherwise happy with your role, have a discussion with your manager and put forward the case for a pay rise.
Finally, be realistic in your approach at all times, whether that means having a quiet chat with your current manager, or finding other resources to assist you. If you can make good use of the information available to you and remain sensible in your expectations, you are far less likely to overinflate the salary you can realistically command – and more likely to apply for the roles that can actually deliver what you’re worth.
Nick Deligiannis, Managing Director, began working at Hays in 1993 and since then he has held a variety of consulting and management roles across the business. In 2004 he was appointed to the Hays Board of Directors. He was made Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand in 2012.
Prior to joining Hays, he had a background in human resource management and marketing, and has formal qualifications in Psychology.
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