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Not sure what your "desired salary" should be? Here's how to figure it out 

By Roddy Adair, Director, Hays Personal & Executive Assistants

 

A crucial reason why people decide to change jobs is because they want more money. Salaries are usually a key factor in our decision making when it comes to switching jobs. However, people also change jobs because they want increased responsibility, more flexibility, a greater sense of purpose or a more suitable organisational culture. However, most often employees feel they’re not being paid fairly in their current role. This can be due to the skills, experience and qualifications the individual has, and therefore command the higher salary they think they deserve.

When speaking to a recruiter or hiring manager during the initial stages of your job search, it doesn’t pay to inflate your salary too much. Therefore, you shouldn’t add extra income to your salary, as your requested figure could potentially price you out of the market, lead the hiring manager to think you are over-qualified or make you look unfaithful or devious.

So, what is the alternative? Rather than thinking “What’s my current salary” with an inflated figure, you should focus on what your “desired’ salary” is. Here, we’ll cover how you can determine what this figure should be.

How to figure out what your desired salary would be?

First, a desired salary is what someone with your combination of skills, experience and qualifications can fairly hope to earn. Therefore, it is essential when talking to a hiring manager that the desired salary you share must be a realistic reflection of the market rate for the types of roles you’re interested in.

However, knowing what your desired salary is can be hard to tell. To help determine yours, you’ll need to research:

  •  Look at our salary guide: Your first thought should be to look for an up-to-date salary guide. Here at Hays, we publish an annual salary guide. This guide provides annual updates to give you insights into typical salaries for specific roles, as well as location and industry.
  • Speak to people in your network: Do you already know someone in a similar role who you could ask about current compensation trends? By speaking to people in your potential new sector or industry, you may find that a great deal of advice and experience is only a phone call away.
  • Speak to a recruitment consultant: As consultants speak to both employers and candidates daily, they will be able to provide you with detailed and accurate insights in what you can hope to earn, based on your skills, experience and relevant qualifications.
  • Look at job boards for salary insights: You can also compare similar roles and salaries by reviewing advertisements on job boards.

Your salary is only one aspect of many other factors

When looking at a new job offer or determining your desired salary, there are several other important factors to consider. For instance, employee benefits, pension contributions, subsidised travel options and other non-financial incentives are all important considerations in the overall picture. Depending upon your circumstances, it might even be more sensible to forgo some of the headline salary for a better benefits package.

Of course, money is important, but subsidised food and drink and wellness programmes can greatly add to the overall value of your 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. Remember, some benefits you are granted may not be obvious when going through a job application. So, ask your recruitment consultant to clarify the benefits that a prospective employer is offering.

A living wage is in everyone’s interests

This is what we all strive for within our career. However, when we don’t feel like we’re achieving our full potential, we decide to look for new opportunities. Especially if we feel we have developed the skills, knowledge and experience to take on a more challenging role.

However, you may not just have to change your job to receive your “desired salary”. If you’re comfortable with your current job, arrange a time to speak to your manager about a potential pay rise. If you don’t feel comfortable about speaking to your manager about this, take a look at the advice we’ve provided on how to negotiate a pay rise.

Finally, be realistic in your approach. Whether that’s having a private talk with your manager or finding other resources to assist you. By using the information available to you effectively, you ‘ll be able to remain sensible in your expectations, as well as reduce the likelihood of you overestimating the salary you can realistically achieve.

If you want more information about the latest recruiting trends, request a copy of the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2020 here.

About this author

Roddy joined Hays in 1999 as a Recruitment Consultant. In 2012 he took over operational responsibility for Hays in Scotland, managing dedicated teams providing expert temporary and permanent recruitment services for a wide range of sectors and professions. From 2017, he has been the lead for Hays Personal & Executive Assistants business across the UK, providing strategic leadership to over 200 consultants.

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