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How can I determine a reasonable salary to ask for?

I am very happy in my current position but I feel like I am being under paid. However, this could just be me having an over-inflated opinion of myself. How can you accurately and objectively estimate your market value (apart from just leaving and seeing what people will pay you)?

marked as duplicate by Rarity Jun 3 '12 at 20:41

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  • Ps. Im based in the UK – Tom Squires Apr 14 '12 at 11:31
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    I've made this the duplicate because the other question has much more detailed and better answers, even though this one came earlier. – Rarity Jun 3 '12 at 20:42
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There are a number of websites that give salary data for positions by location (salary.com or something like that, being one).

There is also nothing to stop you applying for jobs elsewhere whilst in your current job and attending interviews to find out what you might get paid, though I would definitely be discreet about it.

  • Why do you need to be discreet about it? – Pacerier Jul 2 '15 at 0:25
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This is not as simple as it seems.

You can get the prevailing wage for your title off of various websites. But your title may not be an accurate descriptor of your position. Sometimes a position is under-titled and you are responsible for duties that are typically assigned to a higher grade. And sometimes you are over-titled and have a title that infers a higher level of responsibility than you really have. You need to look and see what responsibilities are typically assigned to a title to figure out what the title you should refer to for getting your prevailing wage.

Next you need to accurately access where your skill set belongs were you to move into a new position. You may have senior responsibilities but only a year or so on the job. It is difficult to justify a senior title for someone with only a few years of experience. Instead if this is the case I would take the added responsibilities to move my salary expectations higher into the normal range.

Finally you have to gauge the level of interest in your skill set in the open market in your area. If you expect to get a raise for your current position you need to have a marketable skill set that allows you to find another job at a higher rate in your area fairly easily. If there are a glut of people with your skill set looking for work in your area you are going to find it difficult to make a case for any significant raise.

  • So in your country how many years is typical to be "justified" for senior title? – Pacerier Jul 2 '15 at 0:26
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You don't have to leave to see what others will pay you. Apply to some interesting positions or companies. See if you get an interview or an offer.

The search may result in determining that you like where you are, or that you really want to switch jobs.

You will probably be asked why you applied, but you should be able to give a sufficient reason besides "just looking". Also posting your resume on LinkedIn, monster... will get some inquiries.

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    +1: the only way to determine your true market value is to go out on the market and see what you are offered. – kevin cline Apr 18 '12 at 20:43
  • Have to agree with @kevincline. Your worth is only what the market is able and willing to pay you. – tehnyit Apr 27 '12 at 9:27
  • -1 because this approach seems quite clearly unethical, in that you are effectively lying to the potential employer about your availability and interest in the position? (but please correct me if I am wrong) – David LeBauer May 3 '12 at 16:31
  • +1 I did this and actually ended up changing jobs because I got a dream offer (relating to the nature of the job, not the pay). David, I see your point, but it only really carries weight if there is a bad-faith application which the Tom would intend never to follow through on. – James Youngman May 13 '12 at 5:50
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If you are in the public sector (certainly in the UK) job adverts will include the salary range that they are offering for that role.

If you can find a position that matches yours you can compare your salary against that in the advertisement.

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