How much are you worth? £competetive February 23, 2012Posted by Andrew Falconer in : Selection Process, employability and skills , trackback
Please state your salary expectations in your application. That sentence can generate more fear in candidates than the interview itself. How many jobs have you seen, particularly graduate schemes, that put salary as £competitive? How do you know “what you are worth”?
There are two elements to be considered:
- What would a typical salary for this role be in this sector?
- Where on the pay scale would my skills and experience lay?
Typical pay for the role in the sector
Your starting point should be investigating your prospective employer’s competitors to see what they are offering at your level. Looking at their websites and at third party job sites (e.g. Monster) may help, but you may need to be more sophisticated and use LinkedIn to identify the going rate. Alternatively, you can find the actual salaries that graduates from the University of London gained and use that as a starting point. There will be differences between sectors. Clearly Investment Banks will tend to pay higher than charities (although charities often have higher staffing budgets than people think). There may also be regional differences – remember that London salaries attract at least a London Weighting that can add a further couple of thousand pounds onto the salary. Another resource, perhaps more relevant as your career progresses, is the Glass Door site that allows you to find salaries by occupation and location.
But what am I worth?
Once you have identified the broad pay scale, how do you know where to pitch yourself? The advice from Ros Jay in her “Brilliant Interviews” book is to avoid as much as possible answering questions about salary. She suggests responding to any question with a question “How much would you usually pay somebody in this role?”. In reality though that isn’t always possible and she recognises that sometimes you will need to state a figure. Her advice is to look at the industry “going rate” and add a little bit more just to see what the response is. You need to weigh up your skills and experience in relation to what you believe your competition may have, and rate is accordingly. There is no exact way of doing this and there can be a risk of under-selling or, in extreme cases, pricing yourself out of the market. Another approach might be to say “Well I see that ‘competitor X’ usually pays £x for this sort of role…”
This video may help you think about how you might approach it.