One of the main reasons employees are actively on the market today is to get some sort of salary increase - may it be in the way of cold hard cash, benefits or bonuses. But what type of salary increase these days is acceptable to ask for?
Cara van Breda - IT Recruitment Consultant at Recruit IT Solutions answers this by stating,"The salary expectations of candidates can be made up of many different factors, for example, the type of specialised skill the candidate possesses, his/her experience, relevant qualification as well as the type of industry the candidate is currently in. Job seekers need to understand that although they have a specialised skill and are regarded as a 'valuable asset'; exorbitant salary increases will ultimately price them out of the market, making them untouchable to any prospective employer and recruiter."
If you are a job-seeking individual, the first thing you need to look at is what your main reason is for seeking a new position. Is it purely to earn more money? Many candidates that state this as their main reason for leaving are looked upon unfavourably and hence ultimately overlooked even if they possess the correct skills and experience. Cara advises "Candidates need to not only look at the salary package when considering a new position, but various other factors too. Often candidates will see an offer presented to them with a salary of either the same or a small percentage higher and immediately disregard it. What should also be taken into consideration is the benefit structure e.g. medical aid, provident fund, incentives, bonus's etc. Not to mention the other 'benefits' that are not written in black and white like the opportunity to encounter new challenges or chances to work with new technologies."
Candidates need to realise that we as a country have just begun to emerge from a recession and although most companies are in a much better financial state than last year, they are still extremely cautious of overspending in any form. Companies, although in need of your skill, will most likely not be able to give you the 50% increase that you want. It is highly unrealistic to ask for any sort of increase above the current market related increase *.
Cara goes on to say: "What you as the candidate also needs to think about, is that the prospective employer doesn't know you at all, even after an intensive interview process. There will be some doubt within their mind as to whether the promises made within the interview will ever materialise. This often means that most employment contracts will have a salary review after 3 months or longer. This means that even if you start off initially on the same salary, chances are that after a probation period your salary may increase."
Another vital point is that you as a job seeker needs to make sure you always communicate with either the recruiter, if you are being represented by one, or prospective employer with regards to your salary expectations. If you first stated that you would move for a lateral offer but at a later stage feel that this particular job would require you to earn a bit more, you should inform them. The same goes for any sort of salary increase that could perhaps occur during the process, always makes sure that your point of contact, being either the recruiter or prospective employer, stays in the loop so that when an offer is presented, you are not disappointed with the salary amount and benefits on offer. Cara goes on to state that if you are represented by a recruitment agency, it is imperative that a candidate does not discuss salary directly with the employer but rather with the recruitment agent. The agent has far more negotiating power and will ensure that they get the best possible offer for you. This is one of the most critical parts as miscommunication can lead to you ultimately not accepting the position leaving all parties not only frustrated but disappointed as well.
Finally, just a note to remember is that salary increases are not an expectation but rather a negotiation, and with realistic expectations, investigation, as well as the proper communication you will ultimately get not only the salary you require but the salary you deserve.
*To check current Market related salaries and increase please follow this link.
ITWeb's popular online IT Salary Survey, now in its 13th year, captured responses from over 4000 SA IT professionals during February 2011.
Using this valuable database, we have developed a unique online Survey Comparison tool and, as a valued CareerWeb client, you can start using it immediately. It will allow you to compare the salary requirements of your candidates against the salary data captured in the survey.