is your salary determined by your skills, title or experience?

18/06/2021

‘What’s your salary expectation?’

When asked, most candidates and employees will typically quote the higher end of the salary range as they expect employers to negotiate it downwards or at least until their lowest acceptable threshold. However, if the number that you’ve given is arbitrary, your employer can easily dismiss your request and offer you the lowest possible salary rate.

So this begs another question, “Can you calculate your actual salary?”

Good news is, you can. There are three determining factors when it comes to calculating your actual pay - skill set, job title and experience. There isn’t really a preference for one over another, but each of them has a different weightage on your salary calculation.

is salary range based on experience or age?

Salaries are historically calculated by your tenure, in other words, your age. The older you are, the more likely you’ll receive a higher compensation. This is because employers assume you would have honed your skills and knowledge over the years doing the same job, and as such, they typically reward you with a higher salary in exchange for them.

work experience matters

However, this is no longer the case today. Instead, companies are looking for relevant work experience that you’ve accumulated in your past few jobs.

This is because the more you perform the same role, the assumption is that you’ll be better and more proficient at it, and that means you should be able to complete easy tasks quickly and more efficiently. You’ll then move on to more complex and challenging projects which allow you to acquire new skill sets and knowledge. And the career journey continues.

In the modern world however, career tenure has a lower weightage during salary calculation. Why is that so?

The way we performed our tasks five years ago is completely different to how we do it now. Today, we have new digital solutions such as chatbots and automated processes that can perform administrative tasks much faster with greater accuracy.

Hence, tenure is now merely an indication of your foundation knowledge to prove that you know how to do the job. Anything beyond basic knowledge will require you to roll up your sleeves and be involved in driving new ideas, processes or projects.

Mature workers who have accumulated years of experience in their jobs may actually see their salary decrease when they are looking to switch careers. This is only because they lack the foundation knowledge to perform the new role, which typically comes with new skill sets requirements. However, employers may still take into account their transferable skills and relevant experience and factor them in their salary calculation.

does your job title matter? 

Your job title plays an important role when you are searching for a job and it does matter in your resume. It allows the hiring manager to know what you do in the company, what your role involves and the level of your work experience.

To a small extent, your salary is determined by your job title. Most companies, especially global MNCs, use a job grading structure which attaches a “tiered-salary benchmark” to different hierarchical levels. A manager would earn an income that fits within a predetermined range, and a director will be remunerated based on a different set of salary ranges, typically at much higher levels.

The HR team is largely responsible for developing these benchmarks. HR professionals perform extensive research annually with global HR agencies like Randstad to review their salary benchmarking. During this salary revision period, your HR team will take into account the talent supply and demand, inflation, pension plans as well as employee benefits.

There is a value on your job title because it gives an insight into your management competencies and specialisations. Are you able to manage a team of five or 30 people? Do you only have experience managing local employees or do you have a regional or global remit? Are you a specialist or generalist?

the value of a job title

For example, a finance manager who manages a larger team of 30 with a regional remit is more likely to be remunerated at the higher end of the salary range, as compared to someone who is managing five employees with a local remit. A financial planning and analysis specialist may be paid a more competitive salary as he or she has a very specific skills set that is highly valued and sought-after by the company.

This is why we always advise job applicants to be as specific as they can in their CVs and job interviews, and use numerical data, statistics or percentages to demonstrate their achievements and how they’ve grown in their career. After all, numbers remain one of the world’s most easily understood languages.

skills hold the highest weightage

Skills - a term that we’ve heard over and again these past few years, and for a good reason. The skills required for a job can have an impact on your salary. There is an increasing emphasis on skills as they do not just indicate whether you can perform the job, but also how well you can do it and whether you can push boundaries to create new opportunities for your employer.

skills correlates high salary

Employees with a higher level of skills are more likely to draw a higher pay rate. People with in-demand skills are highly sought-after by employers because the organisation may be sorely lacking in certain key competencies and need someone to fill that gap. Highly-skilled employees are valuable to any organisation as they are able to create new opportunities and drive growth for the business.

Let’s take the supply chain industry as an example. There are many people in the industry who know the basics of supply chain management - monitoring inventory levels and managing purchase orders based on client needs. However, very few people have the skills to use new technology and data to predict changes before it happens, which can help companies improve their customers’ experience and save unnecessary costs. This requires advanced data collection and analytics skills to create a formula that can accurately predict customer demands and market supply ahead of time.

This is perhaps why blockchain technologists are in such high demand in the supply chain industry, and why companies are willing to enter a price war to secure such talent.

Another example is the marketing discipline. Above-the-line and below-the-line marketing are two concepts that many marketers are already very familiar with. They typically use traditional marketing methods such as newsletters and TV advertisements to attract and engage customers. However, as social media takes precedence over traditional modes of communication, marketers are increasingly expected to evolve and demonstrate a mastery of rolling out more effective campaigns on these new channels.

Future marketers are responsible for driving data-led innovation within the organisation or for their clients. They use technology and emerging trends in marketing to enhance the end-to-end customer journey. Marketers are not only increasingly looked upon as sales enablers, but also act as strategic business partners and drivers of change. As opposed to generalist marketers, good digital marketing specialists are extremely difficult to find.

getting the most accurate salary data

Every company places a different weightage on each of these factors and the above just provides you with a guideline of how you should be calculating your worth.

However, there are better ways to confidently quote a salary that reflects your value to the business and raise your baseline.

Our Randstad Salary Calculator (powered by Salaryboard) is one of the most advanced tools available in the market that provides real-time access to compensation, supply and demand data. Using the latest market information and its proprietary software, it gathers salary data from the wider labour market to provide you with a personalised salary report that will benchmark what you’re worth compared to other people with similar roles, experience and responsibilities.

Of course, there is always room to negotiate for a higher salary package. But at least for now, you will have the data to support your remuneration package discussions with your manager.

Alternatively, you can always reach out to a recruiter to seek advice on what is deemed a fair or competitive compensation package. Specialist talent recruiters like ours at Randstad have a wide network of employers who are always looking to hire new talent. As such, they have access to their internal salary benchmarking and can better advise on the employer’s appetite to offer a higher pay. Furthermore, talent recruiters can help negotiate your salary on your behalf with hiring managers, which makes the process stress-free for you, as you know that they would absolutely have your best interests at heart.

If you want to know whether you’re paid fairly and accurately, reach out to us for a confidential discussion. You can also check our job listings to find the right job that will give you a higher earning potential.

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