How to know how much money to ask for
It can be difficult to know how much to ask for when a company asks for your “salary expectations,” and very tempting to put your pinky to your lips and say “One million dollars” in your best Dr. Evil voice. (No? Just me?)
You don’t want to price yourself out of the market and you don’t want to undercut yourself in an attempt to win the gig.
So what do you do? Look stuff up, of course.
Knowing your market value is key to getting the pay you deserve.
Here are some tips and resources for finding out what your skills and experience are worth on the job market. This should also come in handy when you next ask for a raise.
First, you need to figure out how much the job pays on average. You can find that out in these places:
Government resources: At Jobbank.gc.ca, you can explore careers in Canada by wages based on Government data. In the U.S. The Bureau of Labour Statistics also has wage data.
Industry salary reports: These are great if you can find them. Robert Half, for example, has an annual report on salaries in the financial industry. Look for staffing companies that specialize in your industry.
Recruiting/HR company reports: Hays.ca has a great resource for salaries in Canada. Check out that and others.
Glassdoor: You can find some salaries listed on Glassdoor by company. The bigger the organization, the more luck you’ll have. See Google’s salaries here, for example. You can also look for salaries for specific jobs and compare companies.
LinkedIn: If you have a premium account, the salary ranges are given when you view jobs. I think it’s powered by Payscale, though, as they seem awfully low a lot of the time.
You can also ask your network. You must know people in your industry. Ask them what they make. Some might think this is rude. I’m not one of them. Ask politely, though, of course. And only people you know well.
You will find amounts vary greatly, so greatly it can be hard to know who to believe. I say run with the bigger dollar amounts were possible. Why lowball yourself?
Here are some more things to consider, mostly from learn.moneysmart.org:
Experience level: Some salary calculators will factor this in already but you are, of course, worth more as you gain more experience.
Education: Higher education, from a bachelor’s to a PhD increases your market value (usually, one would hope).
Certifications: These can also increase market value.
Work performance: The more value you bring, the more you are worth. If you can demonstrate achievements and how they brought value this will make you worth more money. If you’re worth more you should be paid more.
Special skills: Do you bring something extra to the table, like leadership, writing, or public speaking skills? Do you know how to code in some obscure but very important language? Are you multilingual? These things can add to your value.
Industry outlook: Regardless what you think you’re worth, a company can still only pay what it can afford. How will the company is doing and what its future looks like will affect how much it is willing to pay you.
Armed with this information, it will be easier for you to decide whether to accept an offer or stay in your current position, or whether it’s time to walk away and seek out someone willing to pay you what you’re worth.