The year 2020 isn’t an easy time to be searching for a job. Whether you are a fresh graduate applying for your first job, recently retrenched and looking for a new position, or are currently employed but searching for better prospect, it’s likely that you will see jobs advertised with a salary range, rather than a single fixed salary.
For example, you may see a company advertising a job position that pays between $3,000 to $5,000.
For some job seekers, this makes it unclear. How much then would the job be paying? Some sceptics may even think that the company will make an offer based on your last drawn salary. While this may or may not be accurate, as a job seeker, it’s important to understand why companies sometimes prefer to advertise a range rather than a fixed salary.
#1 Open To Candidates With A Range Of Experience
The first reason is simple, and usually, the most common. When a company advertises a range, it usually means that it’s open to candidates across a range of experiences. This is a good thing. If you have slightly less experience than what is required, you can still apply for the role and they may consider you. At the same time, if you have more experience, you can still apply for the position.
It’s naïve to think that companies do not have an ideal profile in mind. A company that advertises an account manager role may expect an applicant to have at least 2 to 3 years of relevant experience, which it’s willing to pay a monthly salary of about $4,000.
At the same time, it could be opened to filling in the role with someone with lesser or more experience. Companies generally do not reject ideal candidates just because they don’t fit the right level of experience they are looking. However, what they may be willing to pay for the ‘right’ candidate could change.
For example, while a company may be willing to pay $5,000 for a more experience candidate that they wish to hire, it doesn’t mean that the company would be willing to pay this same salary for a person with much lesser experience, even if they are keen to hire the candidate.
What candidates should do?
It’s important to know your market value and what’s the market rate for someone of your experience level and skillsets. Just because a company advertises a role that shows they are willing to pay up to $5,000, and you pass the interview and get an offer, doesn’t mean they will automatically be paying you that. Neither does it mean they are low-balling you. As a rule of thumb, you should expect the company to have a clear idea of the market rate.
#2 HR Is Working Within A Range
The other reason for advertising a salary range is because the company is working within a budget for the multiple roles it wishes to fill. For example, the company might be looking to open two positions for the role and have a total budget of $8,000 a month. Rather than to insist that both candidates take $4,000 each, which may seem ‘fair’ to some people but rather draconian to others, HR would advertise a reasonable salary range of $3,500 to $4,500 so that it has the flexibility of negotiating with the candidates that it wants to hire.
What candidates should do?
Not pricing yourself out of the negotiation is important. While the company may have a range to negotiate with you on, they may not entertain an asking salary which isn’t logical to them. As a job candidate, it’s your responsibility to know what the market rate is and to try negotiate an asking salary which is favourable to you, but still reasonable from the company’s point of view.
Imagine if you wish to buy a Mercedes C-Class that costs $170,000. But you walk into the showroom and offer $120,000. Chances are, the salesman won’t even take you seriously. However, if you offer $150,000, they may start negotiating with you to find a sweet spot which is acceptable for both parties.
#3 To Manage Expectations From Existing Employees
Unless it’s a new position, the company would already have existing employees working in a similar role.
Imagine that you hire an employee with one year of working experience at a reasonable salary of $3,500. However, you are looking for additional candidates to fill in the role.
The ‘fair’ way will be to advertise the role at $3,500. However, this would unfairly penalised individuals with slightly more experience than your current employee, and reward those with slightly less experience than your current employee. Forcing yourself to find someone with exactly the same level of experience is neither easy nor logical.
Thus, a company may prefer to advertise a salary range of between $3,000 to $4,000. This way, current employees who view the job opening will not feel like they are being short-changed.
What candidates need to do?
Generally speaking, the range that a company advertises is not only what they are willing to pay, but also what existing employees are earning. It also means that it will be very difficult to get something significantly above what is being advertised. So go into the negotiation with an understanding that even if the company likes you and wants you to join, it may be restricted by what it is currently paying existing employees.
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