A result of the Great Resignation and inflation in the American economy is the demand for higher salaries. Along with greater benefits, flexible working models, and more inclusive company cultures, the pursuit of better and better employment has seized the tech industry like never before.
The traditional means of calculating a salary, both for employers and employees, are severely outdated and no longer applicable to determining the value of a role nor a professional. Standards of transparency have increased exponentially in the hiring market, especially for companies competing for top talent.
These are the things that matter when evaluating your salary expectations:
- Depth and type of experience
- Years of experience
- Level of education
- Hard skills and technological prowess
- Market supply and demand for qualified talent
Thanks to the availability of information through the internet and the diminished stigma toward salary discussion, tech professionals have access to resources to determine the true market value for their skills. The best place to start is with your network.
Use Your Network to Determine Salary Expectations
A well-rounded network of professionals in your industry is an invaluable asset to any career. Reach out to trusted members of your circle to help determine an accurately valued asking salary range for a new position. People with hiring power at their own companies or who recently transitioned to another job are in tune with the latest salary information relevant to your industry.
In our webinar, Optimizing Your Salesforce Career Path, Brigette Sjoboen described using both direct and indirect networking (her network and her network's network) to find out that the salary a role is worth. She 'pulsed' her network to see what their hiring rates were for similar positions to prepare a baseline of expectations. It was difficult to let go of the fear of discussing salary, but the information gained was worth it to keep from being undervalued.
People in your network want to share their knowledge to help others be successful. Many will be pleased to offer their insight, especially if the rate you are asking for is under the position's worth. Your network can tell you what you don't know about what is on the table for negotiating salary and benefits.
For more on leveraging your network to prevent being undervalued, read our previous article, Make the Most of Your Network.
Research Market Salary Ranges
The long-standing imbalance of available information about salaries has always favored employers, protecting their interests in paying as little as they can for the best talent they can find. Candidates are able to come to the table with a reasonable understanding of what the market demands for their skills and services if they perform some basic research into the salaries offered for positions similar to the ones they are reviewing.
Search similar job postings
If you are actively seeking a new position, you will likely have applied to multiple jobs already and reviewed which ones are a match for your skills and experience. If you are not actively applying for jobs, you can still review job postings on any company's website or an online job board. Pay attention to the salary ranges indicated on the job listings, or described in the interview process with the company. A few examples of these will give you a general idea of what your earning potential is for positions at your level.
Review salary guides and benchmark reports in the tech industry
Each year, many companies release salary guides and salary benchmark reports for their industries. The information varies by region and country, specialty within the industry, and availability of skillsets. Search for "salary guide" and your industry to see what is available for your profession. Read them thoroughly for insights related to the job market and the latest in what companies hiring value the most.
Check company review websites for reported salaries
There are whole websites dedicated exclusively to providing information about employers to job seekers, so that they can enter into an employment relationship with accurate ideas of the true organizational culture. Current and former employees report their actual salaries for their roles, allowing you to see for yourself how your expected salary compares to a company's actual offering.
Talk to a Recruiter about Salary
Recruitment consultants are highly knowledgeable about market rates for tech professionals, whether for project-based contracts or full-time employment. They know the value of your skills and experience and how they apply to the role as well as the company. Working with a recruiter to help you through the interview process puts you at a competitive advantage to obtain the highest potential salary. Their primary interest is backing you as the best potential fit for a company's needs, and are incentivized to make the exchange as positive to you as possible.
Remember, your recruiter is in your corner! They will go to bat for you to protect your job satisfaction.
Negotiate a Top Salary
Now that you've reached out to your network for feedback, done your own research, and consulted with a recruiter, you have all the information you need to present your salary expectations professionally and get the salary you deserve. Each different job might have factors that appeal to you or match with you better than others. Consider these factors to prepare a salary range during your job search:
- The absolute minimum you will accept
- The maximum amount your skills are worth on the job market
- The median rate for jobs that match your skills
Do not feel forced to give a prospective employer a range, this is practically the same as giving them the opportunity to stick to the lower end. Choose one number based on the range you've prepared and stick to it. Let the employer decide if they want to negotiate down based on their budget, or pay your fair and informed market value.
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