A Guide To Salary – Part 2

This is the second part of our Salary Guide – Part 1 can be found here.

  • What should I expect? A fair and valid question to ask and one that requires a different answer for every candidate. The salary you can expect to receive in a new company is dependent on many factors. The main ones are your current salary level, your performance at the interview (how much you impress the client) and the nature of the job you are being offered. Typically, providing you really perform at interview, you can expect a firm to put together an offer based on your current level plus a certain percentage uplift. You may get other financial incentives depending on location or hardships as part of the position but that will be unique to each company and position.
  • What percentage increase can I expect then?There is no one correct answer and the below numbers are a very rough outline of what we experience in our industry in Asia in the current market conditions (March 2013). Typically we find that if a candidate is moving to a similar type of company for a slightly better position then the average increase is around 7-12%, sometimes up to 15%. If the role is for example a change from consultancy side to the client side (e.g. moving from a design company to a developer) then the uplift can sometimes be 20%. The average candidate comes to us with initial expectations of 25% and above. We have spoken to candidates who have convinced themselves they can achieve 40%, 50% and sometimes even 60+% increases. Unless you are seriously underpaid (determined by the potential new employer not you) then these sorts of numbers will never happen. See our recent poll here for some interesting results, as voted for by candidates, which relate to salary uplifts in 2013.
  • Salary and recruiters – the best way to get advice on your current salary and what you can expect is to speak to an experienced recruiter (please see our guide to recruiters article here). A professional and honest recruiter will give you feedback on your current salary level in relation to other candidates with similar experiences and should be able to tell you whether you current level is too low, about right or too high. Based on this, and providing they understand your background and experience fully, they should be able to advise you on an expected salary level. The key here is that the information you get is tailored to your individual experience combined with the recruiter’s market knowledge. A recruiter will also know what their clients are likely to be able to offer someone and feed this back to you. Providing you find the right recruiter it is essential you take their advice on board. Most candidates forget that it is in our interests to get someone the best possible salary. This is because we are paid based on the salary we get someone. However, we have to finely balance actually getting someone the best possible salary with not getting an offer at all if the expectations are too high. Therefore, what we are generally suggesting to you as an expected salary is a very honest guide to what you can expect. If we could get a candidate a 50% increase we would of course do so! Allow a recruiter to guide and manage your expectations.
  • Be realistic. When deciding on what salary you are looking for take a moment to sit back and think about whether the figure you have come up with is realistic and fair. If you have taken on board the advice above you can probably have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Seek the advice of professionals who can give you real feedback and remember that ultimately though a firm will offer you a position and salary based on your performance at an interview.

A quick note on discretionary bonus. People sometimes include discretionary bonuses when stating their current salary package. Avoid this in general. If you insist on including it then break it down into what you received as a bonus in the last year and also the previous year. Generally speaking most firms only offer discretionary bonuses and never state what these will be. They are performance related and should be recognised as such and shouldn’t be used as part of negotiations.

If you follow these guidelines then you should be in a much better position to handle the salary part of the application process. Once at an interview things must also be handled very carefully. We cover this in our “How to Interview Successfully” articles part 1 and part 2.

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