What salary should I ask for?

During your job search, there is a point when you ask yourself what the right salary for the position you are applying for might be. On the one side, you do not want to get less than what you are worth, right? On the other side, you would not want to disqualify yourself from being considered for a job you are really excited about.
In some countries, employers do add salary ranges in the job descriptions, giving you a good indication on what you can ask for in your salary negotiation. In Germany however, it is very unlikely job seekers will find that information in a job ad. This makes it difficult to assess the salary expectation and compare to the market average.

Based on our experience as recruiters, we have compiled three tips that will help you find the right salary you should ask for.

1. Start with a salary check on Google

The world wide web is full of salary guides and list for almost any job title. Make sure to use commonly used job titles when you do the search. Do not waste your time to search for a job title that is very specific to your employer. Instead check what the common job title is for the position you are looking for. Once you find the information, take the salary range as a starting point. However, the range can be quite large and therefore, do not rely solely on an online salary check to go into salary negotiations.

2. Place yourself correctly in the salary range

Now you have a starting point for your personal salary range, assess your personal situation. If you are a job starter, put your salary request at the lower end of the scale. If you already have several years of professional experience in the specific fields, or if you bring above-average qualifications, position yourself at the upper end of the salary range. Your experience is not the only factor to determine your worth. In addition to your knowledge, also consider factors such as industry, company size and region. There are some general rules you can apply for your salary range:

  • Companies based in regions with high living costs, e.g., bigger cities, will usually have a higher salary level than those based in more rural areas.
  • Larger companies are more likely to offer better salary packages than smaller start-ups.
  • Jobs including team responsibility will usually be paid significantly better than a staff position.

3. Find your feel-good salary with recruiters

In addition to your professional experience and qualifications, another factor plays an important role: the shortage of skilled professionals. The higher the demand for candidates with your profile is, the higher is your chance to negotiate a higher salary.
Weighing up all these factors and translating them into the right salary range is not easy for job seekers. That is why you should consider to work with a recruiter. They know the market well and have insights on salaries that you will not find elsewhere. Working with a recruiter or headhunter therefore means that they can not only help you find a new job but can also guide you in defining the right salary package – so that you get what you are worth!

You would like to know what salary you can ask for? Send us your CV and we will come back to you – completely free of charge.


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