Finding your “market value” is a necessity in today’s job market. That’s because unless you know what your skills and experience are worth, you risk being underpaid for your work. So keep your employer honest in giving you the pay you deserve by researching and documenting your market value.
To do that, you’ll need to evaluate the following factors:
Find Your Job’s Salary Range
If you accept your current/prospective employer’s assessment of your market value without doing your research, you’ll risk losing thousands per year in potential lost income. That’s because you don’t know whether their appraisal came from guesswork, a recruiter’s advice, or a compensation survey.
You’ll need to find your job’s salary range and use it as a baseline for determining whether you’re being paid fairly or not.
Here are several ways to do that:
- Check Salary Scale Websites: Websites such as Jobiness and Payscale.com let you compare your salary against other professionals in a variety of Industries. You can also evaluate compensation based on employer, experience, education, and company size.
- Check Government Salary Figures: Every June, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) releases a yearly 180+ page “yearbook” covering just about every labor statistic in Singapore – including the average monthly earnings according to industry.
- Check Job Portals: Search job portals such as JobsDB, JobsCentral, STJOBS, and Adecco for jobs similar to yours (skills/experience/duties). Some job listings will reveal the salary offered, which can help you determine your market value.
- Check a Competitor’s Careers Page: Search the careers page on your competitor’s website fir job listings similar to yours. If there is, call the company’s HR manager and politely ask what they would pay for someone with your skills/experience. Try to get the HR manager’s answer via email if possible for easy documentation.
- Check Free HR/Recruiter Salary Reports: Many HR and recruitment agencies such as Michael Page, Hays, Kelly Services, and Robert Walters create free salary reports. These reports not only provide salary ranges, but offer analysis on the current/future job atmosphere so you can gain insight on your job’s future prospects.
- Check Your Networks: Use your personal, professional, and social media networks to ask your industry contacts (especially those in HR) about the market value for someone with your qualifications. If you’re lucky, you can even get current salary numbers from friends with similar qualifications.
Additional Factors to Include in Your Market Value
Once you’ve determined your job’s salary range after doing your research, you’ll need to narrow down your market value by looking at additional factors such as your experience and education. These factors have the ability to influence and raise your market value to the higher end of the salary range.
Here are the factors you should also evaluate:
- Your Experience: The more professional experience you have, the higher you’ll move up in the pay scale. That’s why you’ll see a salary difference of $10,000 – $50,000 per year between employees with less than 3 years to those with 10 years or more. The rationale is that more experience equates to better problem solving and efficiency – and higher pay.
- Your Certifications: Many industries have professional certifications that enhance a professional’s knowledge and credibility. Some jobs don’t require them, but certifications can have a positive influence on your market value.
- Your Management Ability: The more employees you manage, the higher your market value will be. But if you don’t manage any employees, you’ll need to make your management ability about the amount of projects, customers, or accounts you handle.
- Your Education Level: Your education can have a drastic effect on your market value. In fact, the monthly salary gap between diploma and degree holders is about $1,000. So if you’re on your way to earning a degree, you can expect to move up the pay scale upon graduation.
- Your Work Performance: This is a variable factor that can either help or hurt your market value. Companies are more likely to promote a hard working employee with 5 years experience instead of an average employee with twice the experience. That’s why it’s important to have good performance evaluations.
- Your Networking: Being likable is important when it comes to business. So if you’re in a position where you have loyal customers who only want to buy from you, this will undoubtedly increase your market value.
- Your Job Scope: Every job has a set job scope of duties you must perform, but the scope of a job can increase over time. Handling enough job duties to cover two or more job titles (ex. business development, customer relationship management, etc.) will also lead to an increase in your market value.
- Your Industry Outlook: Your industry outlook has an effect on your market value because if you’re working in a “sunset” industry, your value will gradually decrease as the need for your industry’s products/services declines. But if you’re in a hot industry, your market value will increase because your skills and knowledge will be in demand.
Going to Your Current/Prospective Boss with Your Research
Once you’ve researched your job’s salary range, factoring in your experience and skills, you can get a better idea where you’re at on the pay scale. Ultimately, experience limits how high you can adjust your market value on the pay scale. The more experience you have, the higher you’ll move on the pay scale.
After finding your market value, go to your employer with your research. Facts such as government/industry data are hard to dispute, and backing that up with your career accomplishments will strengthen your case for better compensation.
Remember, you only have a limited number of “working years” before you hit retirement age. Make every year count by earning what you deserve. And if your employer is unwilling to meet you halfway with any pay, promotion, or benefits package – search for a company that will.