It can be difficult to know how much money we should be earning and whether we’re being fairly compensated. Here’s how to determine your job market value.
How much money should you be earning? It can be difficult to know.
There’s so much discomfort around money-related conversations in our society that it leaves people unsure of whether they’re earning a fair salary and if they should be asking for more. Most of us have no idea what our colleagues, or our peers doing similar jobs to our own, are earning. And so we don’t know if we’re being short changed or are actually doing really well in our existing jobs.
And, when it comes to stating our salary expectations, we’re often totally at a loss.
Fortunately, there are some ways to determine your market value. Here are four of them.
Use online tools
There are a few online tools to help you figure out what others with your level of experience are earning. Job Bank’s Wage Report is one. You can search jobs by Canadian locations and see what they pay – and, yes, location can make a pretty big difference.
Payscale’s Salary Report is another. Here you can put in a job title, the location, your level of experience, your skills and certifications, and find a fairly granular picture of what the job pays on the market.
You’ll find a salary range from low to high and it may be different depending on what tool you use. Use this as a benchmark.
Ask your friends
Yes, it’s considered taboo to ask people how much money they make, so tread carefully. But if there are people you know well enough to ask, go ahead and do it. Our discomfort around the topic really only serves to protect people making a lot of money. How are you supposed to know what a reasonable salary is if you don’t ask?
Find people who do similar jobs to yours or the one you’re after, and ask them how much money they make. You can also try Reddit. Find a subreddit related to your industry and ask people how much they make in their roles.
Consider other factors
There are other factors that will impact your job market value. These include:
Experience level: Obviously, you’re worth more as you gain more experience, and we noted that Payscale is one tool that takes this into account. This is only true, however, to a certain point. Note that ageism is rampant on the job market, so citing more than 15 years of experience can actually work against you. Workers over age 45 are significantly less likely to he hired than younger candidates. As infuriating and depressing as this is, consider limiting your experience to the last 15 years only.
Education and certifications: Higher education can increase your market value, as can certifications. One report on tech certifications from Global Knowledge reportedly found that the average salary increase for technologists who attributed their latest salary raise to new certification(s) was $13,000, compared to the average IT professional raise of $5,000.
The report also stated, “In North America, someone with six or more certifications earns $13,000 more than someone with one certification.”
Performance in previous roles: If you can demonstrate past achievements that earned or saved a company money, and that you’re likely to be able to repeat this performance, you may be worth more money.
Extra skills: If you can demonstrate skills beyond the demands of the job description, you can potentially ask for more money. For example, if you’re applying for a sales role but also possess marketing, social media, or analytics skills, this may add to your value for the company.
Learn about the company’s market position
When it comes to actually stating salary expectations, you also need to consider what a company can afford to pay. A big enterprise player may be able to afford more than a small start-up. You may be worth more than they can pay and have to decide if you want to accept a lower pay grade. Or, you may be able to ask more from a company that you know is in excellent shape.
Take all these factors into account when determining you job market value and you’ll be in a better position to get the salary you deserve.