22 September 2010

by Maria Hanson, LiveCareer

In down economic times, companies seem to have carte blanche to limit salaries and make low-ball offers. But that shouldn't be the case.

Below are the top salary secrets your employer doesn't want you to know. With this information in hand, you'll be in a better position to get the pay you deserve.


Employers don't always offer a fair salary.

Some employers think they're being fair, but they're not up-to-date with the latest salary information. Others may try to pay less than the market value because they're financially strapped. That's why it's important that you know exactly how much money you should be making. A free salary report can help you calculate how much you should be earning in any job.


You can negotiate your salary in a tight job market.

In a recession, many people would rather take a pay cut than lose their jobs. Raises are hard to come by and new hires may feel they have less negotiating power. But that doesn't mean it's impossible to bump up your salary; it's just a little more challenging.


According to a recent survey from the Society for Human Resource Management, 80 percent of HR professionals say employers are willing to negotiate salaries. So, if you're looking for a raise at your current job, come armed with your marketplace worth and make your case. And, if you've been offered a job that pays less than you like, don't be afraid to name your realistic asking price. Keep in mind that, if you got the offer, you're clearly the best candidate for the job -- even in this highly competitive job market.


New hires sometimes earn more than long-term employees.

When there's a strong job market, organizations need to do whatever they can to attract top candidates. This often means that starting salaries may be higher for newbies than they are for long-term employees. Given the current economic conditions, that's less the norm these days, but it still happens in certain industries. If you suspect that a new hire with similar responsibilities is making more than you are, use current salary data to approach your manager with the request to bring your salary up to par.


Your performance doesn't decide your pay.

While your performance is one important factor in the salary equation, your pay is also a reflection of many other factors, including:

  • The job market -- lower pay is more acceptable in tighter job markets.
  • Location -- generally the higher the cost of living, the higher your salary.
  • Years of service -- in many cases, the longer you've been with a company, the higher your pay.
  • Organization size -- large organizations tend to pay more than small ones.
  • Education level -- in most cases, the more education you have, the higher your pay. Take a free education test to find out how going back to school can help you earn more.


If you're a valued employee who isn't making the money you deserve, you do have options. Know your value and make your case with the help of your free salary report. And know too, that many employers -- particularly larger employers -- have a little more in the "raise kitty" than they let on.


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