Whenever you are job-seeker, you are sure to be asked about your salary expectations. The simplest way to answer this question is to relate it to your current salary. It can, however, get more complicated if you are a mom who has been out of the labour market for a while. There are a couple of factors to consider when you work out your salary expectation. This article will touch on some of these factors to help guide you.
Why do recruiters and employers ask this question?
Very often this question is asked right at the beginning of the recruitment process. The reason being that it is used to manage the expectations of both the candidate and the employer. Neither party wants to go through the entire recruitment process, only to find out at the end of it that they do not agree on the salary.
Another reason why employers ask this is to gauge your level of seniority. Even though job descriptions for different levels of experience might look similar, one might require more responsibility.
Factors that impact salaries
As a mom who has been out of the labour market for some time, it might not be an accurate measure to look at your previous remuneration as the benchmark.
It would help if you considered what changes have occurred in the labour market within your industry. For instance, if you have been out of the labour market for five years, inflation and change in supply and demand for your skills may have changed. A current example of this is the increasing demand for web coders. While there is a high demand for experienced coders at the moment and high salaries, the supply of people studying coding will increase significantly in the next couple of years and then the salary spike might turn downward.
Another factor to consider is the extra skills you might have gained since leaving the formal workplace through a course or work experience. You should increase your salary expectation accordingly.
Then also consider is changes in your personal needs. If you want to scale down from the hectic pace of corporate life, you may need to lower your salary expectations if applying to a small or medium business, even if you are very experienced.
Things to consider when evaluating your salary expectation
Have a look at your opportunity costs – in other words, what are the things you are giving up in order to work. For example, you have to get a babysitter to take care of your kids while you work, so her salary should be considered when looking at what you will be earning.
The rising fuel costs in South Africa is one factor that you cannot ignore. Take a look at the distance you need to travel every month for work and include the fuel costs in your calculation.
The area in which you reside also has an impact on what salary level you can expect. Urbanised areas typically have higher salaries than in the country, and the province you live in may impact on the salary. Have a look at this recent report from Adzuna regarding the highest paying cities in South Africa.
A comparative web search will give you an idea of the expected salaries in your industry. Payscale is a reputable website giving salary data.
As this question is often asked right at the beginning of the recruitment process, be prepared with an answer. If you have done your research, you can answer this question with confidence and be sure not to sell yourself short.
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