Current Career Opportunities

How Much Salary to Expect

How Much Pay
for Your New Position?

Salary, or rather the amount of salary to expect, is probably one of the most misunderstood areas involved in a new career search. Generally speaking, candidates tend to err at either one end or the other of the salary continuum--they either underestimate or overestimate their own worth in the current marketplace.

A number of factors have a direct bearing on salaries:

  • Supply and demand of candidates for a particular discipline.
  • Size of hiring company.
  • Geographic locale, etc.
  • While certainly not an all-exclusive measurement, the current state of the national economy is usually a good indicator of salary trends.

Soft economy (unemployment slightly higher than normal, hesitation by employers to add employees, etc.). In a slow job market, it's not unusual for a candidate to take a lateral in terms of pay, either because the new job is more challenging or offers future growth potential, or as a hedge against being laid off in one's current position. If the candidate is unemployed, most of the leverage is lost of course. So, it"s not uncommon for an employer to offer an unemployed candidate the same salary as when he was last employed, or perhaps even slightly less.

Normal economy (unemployment at historic norms, businesses hiring additional employees on a routine basis). If a candidate is currently employed at about the market rate, he can expect a salary increase at the new company to be one to three times the overall rate of inflation. In other words, if the candidate is currently earning $100,000, and the inflation rate is three percent, a qualified candidate can reasonably expect an offer somewhere in the range of three to nine percent, or between $103,000 and $109,000 per year.

'Gold rushes' and ‘nose dives' (economies that are just what these terms imply!). In a super-heated job market, all bets are off, and candidates can ratchet up their salaries to meet the demand. We've seen a couple of boom and bust employment cycles, and it's interesting to watch marginal candidates feel empowered and command wages that are way beyond their normal economy worth. But of course, the employment coin also has a flip side. When the economy changes gears, the high flyers' wings often get singed off, and they crash back to earth or back to the unemployment office! armed with an impressive salary history, but a not-so-impressive history of accomplishments.

Special circumstances. Candidates who wish to relocate, spend more time with their families, change careers or seek greater job fulfillment will usually do so at the expense of their earnings