What Salary Should I Ask For? How to Figure Out Your Worth. (2023)

What Salary Should I Ask For? How to Figure Out Your Worth. (1)
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Get That Moneyis an exploration of the many ways we think about our finances — what we earn, what we have, and what we want.

Whether you’re negotiating your salary for a brand-new job or asking for a raise at your current one, the first rule of negotiating is to know what you’re worth. But figuring that out can be harder than it sounds. How, exactly, are you supposed to know what salary you should ask for? Here is a handy list.

1. First, know what you’re up against.

There’s a huge information imbalance when it comes to salary: Employers have the advantage of knowing the general range they’re willing to pay and what their overall salary structures are. As a candidate or even as an employee, you generally don’t have access to that information and instead are stuck guessing and hoping that you don’t wildly overshoot the right number (which will make you seem naïve or out of touch) or undershoot it (where you leave money on the table that could have been yours).

Figuring out your market value can be so frustrating that some people throw up their hands and don’t bother, instead leaving it up to the employer to name a number. That’s not a great strategy, though, because it puts you at the mercy of your employer. You can’t assess an offer without understanding how in line with the market it is. Plus, if you’re interviewing, a lot of employers insist on knowing what salary range you’re looking for (that’s obnoxious since they should be upfront about what they’re planning on paying, but it’s a common practice) and will push back on vague answers that don’t include an actual dollar figure.

You’ll be in a far stronger position if you go into conversations about salary with real knowledge about the market rate for your work. But how exactly do you figure that out?

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2. Don’t trust salary websites, and don’t mention them when you’re negotiating.

Online salary portals might seem like the most obvious way to figure out what you should be earning. The problem is that those sites (particularly the free ones) generally don’t account in any accurate way for the fact that job titles can represent incredibly different scopes of responsibility and can vary wildly by field, company, size of the company, and the amount of experience you bring to the job. Many of them rely on self-reported data with no controls on how accurate or recent that data is. They can be an okay starting point, but in general they’re only going to give you a very rough range, and you shouldn’t use them as the final word on what salary you want. (And you definitely don’t want to cite these websites as your source to an employer! I’ve had candidates tell me, “Well, online salary calculators say this job should pay $X” when X is wildly off-base for the particular configuration of the role. That ends up looking naïve.)

Instead, one of the most useful ways to narrow down your true market value is to talk to people in your field.

3. Talk to people at other companies — and carefully phrase your questions.

A lot of us still have a weird taboo around talking about our own salaries, so usually you can’t come out and ask, “Hey, how much do you make?” But you can ask questions like “How much would you expect a job like X at a company like Y to pay?” and “Does a salary of about $X sound right to you for a job like this, or does that seem too high or too low?” Most people have lots of opinions about salaries in their field and will be happy to weigh in on questions like that (and if you phrase your question that way, some people will end up volunteering their personal salary info anyway).

4. Talk to your co-workers — you’re legally allowed to!

If you want to bounce these sorts of questions off co-workers, you might worry about violating a written or unwritten rule against sharing salary information with your colleagues. While lots of employers do indeed have “don’t ask, don’t tell” policies, the National Labor Relations Act actually makes it illegal for employers to prevent non-supervisory employees from discussing their pay with each other. (And yes, tons of employers attempt to prohibit it anyway. But that’s illegal and you have the right to discuss salary with your co-workers — although you still might want to do it discreetly, if you don’t feel like battling your employer over it.)

5. Reach out to recruiters who will be more candid.

You should also ask people with professional-level knowledge about salaries: recruiters in your industry and professional organizations. Recruiters in your field generally won’t have the same discomfort with talking about salaries as many other people do, and are usually happy to talk about the going rate for the work you do. They’ll also often have insider knowledge about who pays well and who doesn’t. And professional associations like trade groups often do formal salary surveys, although you might need to pay a membership fee to get access to them.

6. Look at similar online job postings.

Don’t neglect job ads! While most job listings won’t include salary information, some do — and so scouring ads in your field can be an additional source of data.

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7. If you work for a nonprofit…

You have something else going for you: guidestar.org, which is a massive compendium of information about nonprofit organizations, including info on their finances and tax reporting. You can look up the salaries of an organization’s key employees there, which can give you an idea of the organization’s pay scale. (Of course, keep in mind that a high-paid executive’s salary might not reveal anything about what junior staff earn … but if you see the organization’s CEO is earning $50,000, you’ll know your own ceiling there is going to be fairly low.)

8. Settle on a salary range rather than an exact number.

As you do this research, keep in mind that you’re looking for patterns. You’re unlikely to come out of this with a single figure (“I should be paid $83,000”). You’re looking for a general range, and from there you can tweak it based on things like your experience and accomplishments. You should also factor in other parts of the compensation a company is offering — things like bonuses, unusually good or unusually bad vacation time, and the quality and cost of the employer’s health insurance.

If you’re reading all this thinking, “This would be a heck of a lot easier if companies were just transparent about how they pay,” you’re absolutely right! And in fact, there’s a move in some fields toward pay transparency, driven in part by the growing recognition of how opaqueness around salary disproportionately harms women and people of color. But we’re at the early stages of it and most employers still play coy on salary. So doing your research and knowing your own market value is a hugely important tool in getting paid what you’re worth.

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(Video) "What Are Your Salary Expectations?" INTERVIEW QUESTION & Best Example ANSWER!

What Salary Should I Ask For? How to Figure Out Your Worth.

FAQs

How do I ask what my salary should be? ›

The conversational, positive ask

I'm really excited about this opportunity. If we decide to work together, I'm sure we'd find a salary that matches the value I'll bring to your organization. Can you give me an idea what you've already budgeted for this position?”

How do you answer the question what are your salary expectations? ›

How to Answer, 'What's Your Expected Salary?'
  1. Research the market and salary trends. ...
  2. Consider giving a salary range, not a number. ...
  3. Diplomatically turn the question around. ...
  4. Now it's time to give a number, not a range. ...
  5. Always be truthful.
10 Jun 2022

How do you determine the value of your job? ›

To accurately assess your fair market value, start with reliable employer-reported pay data like that found on Salary.com and follow these three steps: Match your job description to a benchmark job. Assess employer factors. Evaluate your performance and compensable attributes.

When should you ask about salary range? ›

As a general rule of thumb, it's best to wait until the hiring manager brings up the topic. Best case scenario, a company lists the position's salary range on the job posting, and you can use that to best determine if the job and starting salary fit your needs before you even apply.

How do I know what salary to ask for UK? ›

  1. Find out the average salary for the job title you're interested in on the Totaljobs Salary Checker.
  2. Search current listings for the job title you're interested in on Milkround.
  3. Check the latest UK earnings figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS)
  4. If you're a woman, overpower the gender pay gap.
11 Jan 2021

How is fair market value calculated for salary? ›

A market value salary is the amount of money that an employee should be paid for their position, based on the current market conditions. This number is usually determined by looking at similar positions within the same industry and geographical location.

How much should you make at 25? ›

For Americans ages 25 to 34, the median salary is $960 per week or $49,920 per year. That's a big jump from the median salary for 20- to 24-year-olds. As a general rule, earnings tend to rise in your 20s and 30s as you start to climb up the ladder.

Should you tell recruiter your salary expectations? ›

Apart from playing safe, providing an employer with an expected salary range can make it sound more flexible and negotiable. Job seekers should provide a range when stating the salary expectation question, not a specific figure. Flexibility is something most employers appreciate and it leaves room for adjustment.

How do you answer salary expectations UK? ›

Include negotiation options

Example: 'I'm seeking a position that pays between £40,000 and £45,000 per year. However, I am open to negotiate salary depending on any benefits, bonuses or additional opportunities you may offer to your employees. '

How do you negotiate salary politely? ›

Salary Negotiation Tips 21-31 Making the Ask
  1. Put Your Number Out First. ...
  2. Ask for More Than What You Want. ...
  3. Don't Use a Range. ...
  4. Be Kind But Firm. ...
  5. Focus on Market Value. ...
  6. Prioritize Your Requests. ...
  7. But Don't Mention Personal Needs. ...
  8. Ask for Advice.
24 Jan 2022

Is it OK to ask what the salary is in an interview? ›

You need timing and tact

By the second interview, it's usually acceptable to ask about compensation, but tact is key. Express your interest in the job and the strengths you would bring to it before asking for the salary range. Make the employer feel confident you're there for more than just the paycheck.

How do you discuss salary expectations UK? ›

Phrase your answer by citing, briefly, the points you think are salient to compensation expectations. Even better if you can frame it in a positive manner. For example: "Given the responsibilities of the position and the number of people I'd be managing, I think £XX is a fair figure.

How do I know what salary to ask for UK? ›

  1. Find out the average salary for the job title you're interested in on the Totaljobs Salary Checker.
  2. Search current listings for the job title you're interested in on Milkround.
  3. Check the latest UK earnings figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS)
  4. If you're a woman, overpower the gender pay gap.
11 Jan 2021

What should I be paid UK? ›

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the mean average salary across the whole of the UK in 2020 was £38,600 for full-time employees and £13,803 for those working part-time. The average salary in England was £39,452 for those working full-time, and £13,845 for part-time jobs.

How do you email salary expectations? ›

Include your expected salary and 2-3 sentences and why you deserve it. The second paragraph should include your expected salary. Make sure to justify the number with a couple of sentences highlighting your education or experience. This will improve the chances of you getting the salary that you want.

Should you tell recruiter your salary expectations? ›

Apart from playing safe, providing an employer with an expected salary range can make it sound more flexible and negotiable. Job seekers should provide a range when stating the salary expectation question, not a specific figure. Flexibility is something most employers appreciate and it leaves room for adjustment.

What salary are you looking for? ›

Ask the what the range is for the job or ask to hear the interviewer's best offer. “The goal is to get them to mention their ideal range first since that will put you at an advantage for negotiations,” Magas says. You say: “In general, I expect a salary that's consistent with current employees at the same level.

What is a good salary for a 23 year old UK? ›

Average UK Salary: 22-29 year olds

The median full-time wage (or middle salary) for those aged 22 to 29 is £26,096. At the upper end of the scale just 10% of those aged between 22 and 29 are earning around £40,000 per year and only 30% are earning over £30,000.

How do you negotiate salary for a job you really want? ›

Here are eight tips for how to negotiate a salary that can help you tactfully and confidently ask for what you want.
  1. Become familiar with industry salary trends. ...
  2. Build your case. ...
  3. Tell the truth. ...
  4. Factor in perks and benefits. ...
  5. Practice your delivery. ...
  6. Know when to wrap it up. ...
  7. Get everything in writing. ...
  8. Stay positive.
7 Jan 2022

Why do employers ask for desired salary? ›

Why employers ask about your desired salary. Employers ask about your desired salary to learn what kind of salary you're anticipating. If they feel that what you are asking for is too high, they may try to negotiate a lower number. That's why it's important to know what your salary range is.

How do you negotiate a salary sample? ›

I am excited for the chance to work with [Company Name] in this capacity. I need to discuss starting pay, however. Though your company is my first choice, I have received an offer for [other salary offer] from a different organization. If you can match this figure, I am fully prepared to accept the terms of your offer.

Is 70k a good salary UK? ›

The most recent data from HMRC shows that the median average pre-tax income is around £22,400. An income of over £70,000 a year will actually put you in the top five per cent of all UK earners.

What is a good salary in the UK 2022? ›

A couple in the UK can have a comfortable life on an annual salary of £27,340. A single person should make ends meet with £20,383 a year. Couples with young children would need more, or around £49,714 per year. Couples with older children should be satisfied with annual pay of £31,902.

What is a decent salary in UK? ›

', you're not alone. According to recent data, the average full-time salary in the UK is £31,285 in 2021. While that might seem like a lot, it doesn't include deductions for income tax and national insurance.

How do you politely ask for salary in an interview? ›

Express your interest in the job and the strengths you would bring to it before asking for the salary range. Make the employer feel confident you're there for more than just the paycheck. If they bring up money first, provide a range that leaves room for negotiation.

How do you ask a candidate about salary expectations? ›

In the initial screening interview, the recruiter should ask, “What salary range are you expecting for this position?” If your candidate states a number that's within your budget, your reply should be, “That's within our range.” Then move on to discussing aspects of the job and the interview process.

Videos

1. How to Determine Your Worth and Negotiate Salary
(Seattle Pacific University)
2. How to Effectively Ask for a Pay Raise - Prof. Jordan Peterson
(Jordan Peterson Fan Channel)
3. The Best Answer to "What's Your Expected Salary?"
(Andrew LaCivita)
4. How to Negotiate Salary: Asking for More Money After a Job Offer
(Indeed)
5. How to Research Your Salary (How to Calculate Your Salary)
(Career Contessa)
6. How To Answer What Are Your Salary Expectations
(Perminus Wainaina)
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