A market-competitive salary: what’s that?

By Robert Half 06/02/2017

If you’re looking for a job and you peruse a variety of job postings, you’ll frequently see terms such as ´market-competitive salary´. If you respond to an opening that has a market-competitive salary, this means in fact that for this job you’ll receive an income that is in line with the market. You receive a monthly income that most other professionals in your position and sector are also getting, or at least one that’s close to this average amount.

How do I know what a market-competitive salary really is?

Certainly if you have no experience with a particular position or in a specific sector, it can be difficult to assess precisely what a “market-competitive” salary is. When you don´t have any experience in a given professional field, you can´t really estimate what professionals in that field are earning on average. Have you found an interesting job, but first want to find out whether the salary that comes with it really fulfils your requirements? Then you can check what the market-competitive salary for a particular position is by choosing calculate salary with a salary calculator. A salary calculator is an online tool that you can use to learn roughly how much you will earn in a particular position and in a certain sector by entering a variety of data. What you get by means of calculating the salary isn´t a definitive amount, but it will give you a good idea of your earnings in a given position and sector.

Can I do better than “my market-competitive” salary?

Many people think that the salary for a particular job opening is carved in stone and there’s no room for negotiation when the posting talks of a "market-competitive salary". Yet in fact this is not the case; often there is most definitely room for negotiation. If, for example, you are far and away the best candidate for a position and the employer really wants you on his team, then you often do have the power to negotiate about your salary. The same applies for a position to which there have been few responses and a relatively low salary is being offered. You can use your favourable position as one of the few applicants in order to get the salary raised to some extent. By contrast, if you are just one of dozens of applicants, and there are more than enough other suitable candidates besides yourself, then the prospects of negotiating a higher salary become a good deal less interesting.  

To negotiate or not to negotiate for a higher salary?  Thatis the question . . .

Whether you should or shouldn´t negotiate for a higher salary depends entirely on the concrete situation. Try to assess on your own whether it´s a smart idea to negotiate about a salary by looking at the number of candidates for the position, the degree to which the employer is enthusiastic about you as a new acquisition for the team, and the current amount of the salary. If there are ten other suitable candidates for the position, if you don´t have the feeling that the employer is looking solely at you, or if the amount of the market-competitive salary is in fact pretty fair, then you´d probably do better to simply accept the offered salary . . .

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