Talking About Salary: These 6 Key Factors Determine Your Market Value

October 10, 2022

You DO negotiate salary!

I have just heard a long and cumbersome explanation from a job seeker, who told me why it was not possible to find out his market value in his specific case. After all, he had just worked at the reception of a hotel chain while completing his business studies and had previously completed his apprenticeship as a chef. Admittedly, not exactly an extremely stringent CV – but does that rule out a clear market value determination? Does the experience from my previous jobs actually pay off, how much do I earn more because of this extra knowledge? And what if I have gained experience in very different industries?

A puzzle of a hundred dollar bill
How can you determine your own market value, which factors need to be considerated? Photo © pixabay - Arek Socha

I am only paid for the market value of the position I currently hold or apply for.

How to find the market value of this position? Or do I have to live with a bad feeling believing that my colleagues negotiate better and earn more, which - according to a recent survey conducted by StepStone in Austria - every second person believes. Salary used to be a real taboo subject – now there are plenty of opportunities to approach the topic, for example through national and international executive search portals. You are not spared from thorough research – and it is good to know a few basic facts,because 6 factors largely determine the market value of a job:

1. Country and region

The higher the cost of living, the higher salaries usually are. In Zurich, the starting salary for a business bachelor 'FH' (awarded by a university of applied sciences) is CHF 76,000, in Vienna he/she receives EUR 42,000 (all-in). The business assistant will earn more in Vienna for a similar job in a comparable company than his/her counterpart in Burgenland – a question of the cost of living. And the executive business assistant of a global pharmaceutical company is certainly much better off than the business assistant of a small IT supplier.

A city located on a river, at dusk
The amount of a salary usually depends on the cost of living as well. Photo © pexels - David Taljat

2. Industry

In a management consultancy in Austria, one starts with EUR 60,000 - 65,000 - but beware: your working hours are also much higher.

3. Company size

Large corporations usually pay higher salaries - exception: specialized boutique firms.

4. Areas

Controlling and risk are rated higher than for example HR or audit.

5. Concrete task

In controlling you will normally earn more than in accounting, in IT software better than in IT hardware, to name just a few examples.

6. Job level

Of course, a junior earns less than a senior in the same job area – but beware: you don't always earn more as a manager than an expert:  team leaders with, for example, 3-5 employees can earn less than the top expert in the same field.

What else can I negotiate?

The market value of a position is not a precise figure, but a salary band that leaves a margin of negotiation of 5-15%. The bargaining margin for newcomers is very small, but you can carefully check the level/category of the collective agreement you are classified at - perhaps the previous experience from the student job will help to the next higher level/category after the first 6 months on the job.

Here you can learn more about Martina Ernst.

Read more salary negotiation tips from our career expert in our "Salary Insights - Let's Talk About Money" series.

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