Firstly, let us put a few things into perspective. Before you start your job search, you need to research salary trends, although you shouldn’t be too hung up on what the market dictates. Why?
Employers typically look for candidates with knowledge of their industry, especially at the executive level. It is in the company's interest to have employees that know the industry, usually bringing their expertise and industry connections. A considerable advantage to a company is saving time and money on training, as the candidate understands the industry. It is, however, not the case in all circumstances. Companies like Google prefer to hire generalists as they have wealth in cross-industry experience. If you, as a candidate have been in the same industry for at least seven years, and are above your qualification (e.g. FD, CIMA/ACCA in the accounting industry), you are considered a specialist. You should be marketing yourself with a premium, based on not only your qualification but also your industry knowledge. I look at salary requirements like a home valuation. Everyone will have their own opinion on how much the market dictates.
Knowing your valuation
An employer will always try to make a saving, especially when they use external recruiters. Remember bonuses are almost never 100% guaranteed bearing in mind most employers have a personal and a company performance attached to their bonus structures. They have a bonus pot that needs to be shared across the company, so they try not to initially settle for a lower base with the hope of receiving 100% of your annual bonus.
Before rushing into salary negotiations, here are some things to think about:
Is the new salary worth moving job for?
Before applying for any job, think about what salary would be worth moving positions for. If you are unemployed, and depending on your financial circumstances, you may have no choice but to take the first job until you are financially sound to look for a job that pays you more money. The last thing you want to do is take any position only to find out your financial situation is worse off. A typical example of this is that in the UK, childcare is costly. If a couple has two children at nursery age, childcare costs between two children are approximately £2,500 to £3,000 (varying from where you live - city v town).
Remember if you start on a lower base salary, unless you are promoted within the company, you are likely to get between zero to inflationary increases. Only make a career move if you are sure that your salary is worth the change.
Are you better off at your current company?
After reviewing the gross salary, look at your whole package. You may find you are worse off if you have better benefits at your current employer.
Wait until asking for your salary
If possible, try holding out until the employer gives an indication of your salary. This way, you don’t fall into the trap of underestimating your value. Of course, the employer’s first offer can then be used as a baseline for you to make a counteroffer. However, take some time before returning with your own suggestions, as you should minimise the amount of times you go back and forth with salary suggestions.
Don't feel rushed to accept an offer. Ask for time to think about it, especially if you are already in employment. Weigh the pros and cons of your circumstances. These could include your journey time, what kind of work-life balance you want to have and your current family situation. Of course, these last points prove that salary is certainly not the only factor to consider a job, however if you want to survive and make a living, you should make sure you are not being taken advantage of, and that your salary is decided in a fair way.
We update our blog every two weeks. Check out our previous blog posts which include topics such as whether to move or not to move in your career, how to stand out in a crowd and how to deal with a rigid mind.
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LinkedIn: Sunrock Recruitment Ltd