"What are your salary expectations?" A question you are guaranteed to be asked when looking for a job. It may make some uneasy, but the response is critical to landing a suitable role, and the answer must be considered seriously.
The past doesn't always predict the future
Your previous salary does not necessarily reflect your true value. In isolation, that figure is not a suitable basis for establishing future expectations. It may be that your previous role was in a high-paying industry, or that your supervisor was generous, or the company was exceptionally profitable. It's essential to consider whether these factors might inadvertently price you out of the market for new opportunities, especially if you are eyeing a career change, smaller business, or a high-demand industry.
On the flip side, you might have been underpaid in your last role or come from an industry known for paying below-market rates. In such cases, there could be a opportunity to reset your market value and, importantly, secure a more favourable salary moving forward.
So, how do you figure out your true value?
1. Ask an expert
If you are working with recruitment consultants you respect and trust, be honest with them about your current or previous salary. Ask for their professional opinion on your market value, and what they are basing their assessment on. Remember, it's in their best interest to secure the best salary for you within a realistic range, so listen to their advice.
2. Assess the playing field
Research compensation for similar roles you are interested in. Check salary surveys and tap into your professional network for insights.
3. Know how strong your hand is
Research how in demand your skills are in the market (as this can shift with market conditions). Evaluate the demand/supply dynamics in relation to the candidate and job market you are navigating.
4. Understand the whole package
Determine what other benefits and perks are important to you. Rank them in terms of their priority and value (such as extra annual leave, health benefits, and flexible hours), and consider whether these factors are on offer when assessing all opportunities.
5. Set a range
Set your target salary and establish a clear bottom line. Be clear and upfront about the range, but be smart about how and when you are prepared to flex your expectations.
6. Believe in yourself
If you have done your research and assessed your market value thoroughly, you will be well-equipped to justify your expectations, positioning yourself strongly for negotiations.
Eager to secure a salary increase in your current role? Uncover effective strategies for successful negotiations.
Check out our latest job opportunities or speak to a specialist consultant for more advice.