How To Determine Your Salary Worth

Robin Schwartz

How To Determine Your Salary Worth

How much should I ask for? Am I being paid fairly? Those are two of the most common questions when we consider our own market worth. Fortunately, there are ways to help you assess your current salary. They can help you decide whether or not you should be asking for more.

Factor In Your Experience

How many years you have been working will likely have the greatest impact on your salary worth in your career. Those who have more experience can usually command more money.

Factor in all related experience, not just what you have gained in a formal job role. Possessing skills and expertise beyond what is required for the job may help increase your salary worth.

If you are looking at a salary range for a new opportunity, having less experience likely puts you towards the bottom of that range. The top of the salary range will require top experience too.

Consider Your Location

Geographic location has a large influence on the salary a new company is likely to offer you. In areas with a high cost of living (like New York City or San Francisco), job candidates can generally expect all salaries to be higher than areas with low costs of living.

When a specific location does not have enough talent for the available jobs, your salary worth may go up.

In some geographic locations, companies are competing for the top talent in the market. This can lead to an increase in salaries. Companies have to stay competitive with one another to attract candidates.

Scouting job boards (with advertised salaries) or having a conversation with a recruiter might be the best way to help you understand what average salary ranges are in your geographic area.

Assess Your Job Duties

Trying to compare your worth in your market based on your job title alone might be misleading. Not all companies have the same requirements for job descriptions and titles.

Your duties as a Senior Financial Analyst with your current organization may only make you eligible for a Financial Assistant role within another company. Titles, requirements, job duties, etc. are different from company to company.

Instead of focusing on your job title when researching salary data, use your specific job duties instead. Using your current job description and try to match it as closely as possible to another job description that is similar.

You should make sure at least 70% of the job duties align to consider it a possible salary evaluation tool. This will give you more confidence in what other companies pay staff to fulfill the same job duties.

Weigh Your Education

When applying to a new position, minimum salary requirements are often listed. You will need to have at least that amount of education to be considered for the position. Candidates who have significantly more education than what is required may be able to command a larger salary.

Education costs money and employers often acknowledge that. While they aren’t looking for candidates with too much education (you don’t need a PhD to sort mail), they are usually willing to pay a higher salary to those with advanced education. Having a masters in your career field may be a worthwhile investment.

Consider The Organization

The salary worth of a position may vary greatly from company to company. Some companies develop a reputation for paying less but providing better benefits.

In other cases, a company might be highly sought after because of their generous compensation programs. Understanding your salary worth is often dependent on understanding a company.

Do your research before considering employment with a company. You can likely find reviews or salaries online that help you get a clearer image of the company.

Discuss With Others Like You

It’s possible to spend hours searching internet job boards come up empty. You may be plugging numbers into salary calculators but still be missing crucial information.

Sometimes, the most reliable information is from professionals in your line of work with similar experience levels. Reaching out to local professional organizations may give you some insight. Speaking to recruiters may allow you to have your skills and experience evaluated against the market.

Use these methods to assess your current salary value can help you make better decisions. If you feel you are being paid fairly, you may work with your supervisor to create a path to promotion.

If your salary is significantly lower in your market area, you may need to ask for a raise. However you decide to use the information, remember that salary markets shift often. Staying up-to-date on what impacts your salary worth will be essential moving forward.

About The Author

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz has nearly a decade of experience providing HR expertise to employees and management in higher education. Her broad experience includes benefits, compensation, performance management, employee relations, payroll, talent acquisition and management. She received her masters degree from American Military University and maintains a PHR certification.

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