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How much is your labour worth?
Most people already know that interviewing for a new job involves salary negotiations. And most people have heard that to negotiate a salary, you need to know your "market" value. But what exactly does that mean and how do you determine it? How do you do salary research?
Employers have a long way to go to become transparent about their pay practices, so until then, employees need to negotiate for themselves. The good news is that there are a growing number of state and local policies, online resources, and networks of people who are willing to share information in the name of wage transparency and fair pay. Here are a few ways to find out what salary to ask for during an interview.
Check local job listings for salaries
Your "market" value will depend on several personal factors (your job title, years of experience, level of education, and special skills or certifications) and how they fit into the context of the job market (your geographic location, the size of your company, your industry).
It's becoming easier to look for pay ranges depending on where you live. You can search the internet for job postings for your current position or one you want to acquire and see if the range is listed.
Try to find out during the interview if the interview manager will tell you what your salary will be
Checking job adverts for salaries is not always successful - employers may advertise a job that falls into a wide range. A more direct approach would be to ask the job interview manager directly or go to your own company's HR department. In quite a few states, you may be entitled to know the salary range for a new job, a transfer opportunity or a promotion, especially if your state requires it by law.
Be prepared for tough questions
How do you answer the question "How much money do you expect to make?"
Experts generally say you should avoid stating your salary expectations. If you give too low a figure, you could end up taking a pay cut in the future. If you give too high a figure, then HR may move on to another candidate who expects lower pay.
You can answer the question by referring it back to HR. Be polite and curious: "I appreciate that pay is an important aspect of the job and it should work for both of us. Given that you are the hiring manager for this position and you are the expert on what the company has to offer, I would like to hear what you have in mind for the salary rate for this position."
If the manager continues to insist that you give him a number for the expected salary, it's still a good idea to respond by giving a lower limit as the amount you don't want to fall below and agree to.
Many states have minimum hourly pay rates that you cannot fall below. Job seekers and workers can check the Department of Labor website for more information.
Research online wage databases
There are online databases that ask users for their salary information in exchange for access to viewing other people's salaries and reviews of companies. With larger databases, you can drill down specifically and search by job title, city, years of experience, or by company.
Your industry may also have its own databases. In the technology field, there are sites such as Candor.co, Elpha, AngelList and Transparent Career /USA/. Other popular salary networks include Levels.fyi, Blind or the Fishbowl app.
Take salary data with a grain of skepticism. Different sites have their own standards for verifying salary data provided by employees. Some of these may be outdated, especially for a fast-growing company or a kfirm that has quickly raised salaries due to a tight labor market.
Talk to your colleagues and ask them
Online searches can take you quite far, but nothing is as accurate and helpful as talking to your colleagues. Of course, the way you broach the subject will also determine what you get in terms of pay information. We recommend that you start with people you feel comfortable with, like colleagues you trust. Or you could approach someone who has already said they are as passionate about pay transparency as you are. The timing can also help, for example if you're all going through bonus season, or if you're starting the conversation because you have a promotion coming up and want help gathering more data about their compensation.
Use your network of contacts
If you don't get on with colleagues, you can try your network of contacts and ask someone more senior than you. Ask him or her for his or her perspective on what the upper and lower salary thresholds should be for the position you are seeking to fill. The wording is key: don't ask how much they earn now or even how much they earned in the past, but rather what they think the pay range should be for your position. If you're lucky, they may also share their own story or negotiating strategies with you.
You'll feel awkward if you bring up the salary issue directly and without preparation. So it's best to make sure you build these networks of colleagues over time, rather than just using them when things are urgent. The pay gap exists, so make sure your network is diverse in terms of seniority and gender.
Ask your prospective colleagues and find out the employer's limitations
If you are going for a new job, remember that you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. It's not uncommon to contact a person at the company for an informational call to find out what they think about working there. You can raise the issue of pay during one of these meetings - say you've researched what you think the target pay ranges should be, are you on the right track or not?
That's what a colleague of ours did when he was negotiating his job offer as a software engineer. When he received the offer from HR, the first thing he did was email a few people in the company who would be his future colleagues. "These were people I had just interviewed with who said if I had any questions, I could contact them."
He asked questions about how much he should negotiate for and decided they would have a good idea: "I asked them about the average salary I could expect. That helped me come up with a counter offer."
Where can you get an official salary reference in Bulgaria? Here, for example, is this link at the National Institute of Statistics for 2020.
If you're interested in calculating your salary, it's good to know that there is a salary calculator where you can see what your salary would be depending on your length of service and the deductions that are made on your salary. With the salary calculator you can calculate your gross and net salary. Simply Google search: 'salary calculator' and follow the link. Using a salary and insurance calculator you can see what your gross salary would be, how much you would get net after deducting oigure and income tax. You can also do a salary calculation with some apps on your phone.
Using the salary calculator can help you play out different variations of salary amounts. For example: how much will the salary be before and after taxes? That way, when you get an answer or find information somewhere about the salary amount for your position, you can figure out how much will stay with you for personal use and how much will go to the state.