Understanding your value in today’s job market is easier than you think. It is true that the pay in different roles and job industries can differ dramatically, something that is worth researching if you want to authentically make your mark.
In simple terms, seeking work and hiring is a case of supply and demand. The amount of workers with the suitable skills and experience for a role effect that supply, the amount of employers actively seeking certain positions influence the demand. Consider your skills and experience, are they niche or easily gained? How in demand are the skills you can offer?
A good example of this is the journalism market. Journalism is a hugely popular area of study in secondary school and university. With so many talented writers seeking work and not enough entry positions to go around, employers are able to offer lower wages. Consider also, that the role can be freelanced and that many writers are motivated by their art over money, the employer has quite the bargaining chip.
Internet is Your Friend
Use an online salary calculator to give you a close estimate of what you should be paid. Consider not only the role, but the industry and location.
Searching through job descriptions will also give you a good idea of where to pit your skills and experience against others. What are the key attributes companies are looking for in the roles you want? If you have them, make sure they are on your CV. If you don’t, make an effort to practice and maximise your value.
Use forums to talk to people about salaries in the industry and areas you are interested in. People are likely to be more open about their salaries when talking to strangers (it’s still a bit taboo amongst friends and colleagues!).
Using Your New Knowledge
If you have researched your market value to approach your employer about a pay increase, be prepared. Show examples, make sure comparisons are fair and be tactful.
If you are considering a job offer but want to discuss the salary offered, consider that the company probably have a salary range they are using. You may or may not know where you are on the scale. You’ve been offered the job so you are in a fairly good position to negotiate (they clearly think you are fit for the job). Be realistic, but if you think the offer could be topped, there’s no harm in asking.
Your market value is important and should not be undermined. Do your research and make sure you are being treated fairly. If one employer does not appreciate your value, another will.