How Do You Know If You’re Getting the Right Salary At a New Job?

pay day

It’s a tough call for most of us. We continue to experience very low year-over-year wage increases. How small? The Society for Human Resource Management recently forecast that salary budgets for most organizations in the United States were expected to go up by only three percent. This, after a 2016 in which salaries rose only 2.7 percent.

This is hardly an isolated or short-term trend.Using census and income tax data, researchers at Stanford, Harvard and the University of California found that only half of 30-year-old working Americans were making more money than their parents did at a similar age. That is a huge decline from 1970, when 92 percent of 30-year-olds made more than their parents.

With three percent or less as the new norm for pay increases, it’s important to make sure you get the right salary at the beginning of an employment engagement. Failure to achieve the appropriate level of pay and benefits at the front-end of a job will make it difficult to catch up later on—outside of achieving a promotion. 

How can you maximize your salary demands? Levels of remuneration may vary greatly from organization to organization, even within the same industry or sector. However, there are a few general rules that should serve you well for negotiating salary, vacation, bonuses and other benefits.

  • Know your worth. No candidate has an excuse for going into a salary negotiation unaware of what they are worth on the open market based on skills, experience and education. There are online resources available that can give you a clear picture of where you plug into the salary and benefit ladder for almost any organization.

  • Know your employer. Just as you can dig up valuable information about your own worth, so too can you find important information on the current financial state of the organization offering you the job. Financial reports, industry reports, news releases and traditional news organizations can be valuable resources for finding out the financial health and prospects of any potential employer.

  • Pick the right moment to negotiate. Although you may be asked early on in a job interview process for your salary expectations, be aware—it is possible to negotiate yourself out of a great job if you want more than the employer is willing to pay. You have to hold back some of these expectations until you know for sure they want to offer you the job. Once they want you, the door to productive negotiation will be open to you.


Download the 2017 US Guide to Workforce and Salary Trends. Our latest research report offers strategies and insights on workforce developments to capitalize on today's job market, including salary data for full time-positions across major industries and functional roles.


About the Author

Samantha is the Director, Recruitment Solutions at Lee Hecht Harrison Knightsbridge. Throughout her search career, Samantha has developed an expansive network and meticulous approach to finding and attracting high caliber talent. She continually forms advisory relationships with her clients which have resulted in a track record of repeat client business.




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