Finding a job with a salary that you are happy with is rare, because while living costs are going up, the average salary is not going up at the same rate. As a result, many people are having to endure salaries they aren’t actually comfortable with, in order to keep their jobs.
Although this is a widespread issue, it is not to say that finding a job with a salary that matches your demands is out of the question. There are plenty of jobs that offer a competitive salary, it only requires you to work out a target salary for yourself and pursue jobs and industries that match your demands.
Of course, deciding upon your target salary isn’t easy. You can’t just pluck a number out of thin air and hope for the best, because you will probably be left disappointed. Instead, it requires a rigorous examination of your current lifestyle, overheads and where you want to be in a certain number of years.
Here is how to work out a target salary that’s right for you:
Find out what a good salary actually is
The first step in finding a target salary that’s right for you is to find out what a good salary would be in your chosen occupation. What is a good salary will depend on many different factors, including number of hours worked, the intensity and difficulty of the work, and how much responsibility you will need to take on in a certain role.
Once you have a figure to work with, you will be able to better assess what a good salary would be for you, without being wildly out of touch with your industry.
Assess your overheads, and aim for a salary that covers them easily
One of the most crucial demands put on your salary is how well it will cover your overhead costs. If you live in an expensive area – such as a city – then your salary will need to be able to cover your accommodation and travel costs, which will be pricey. This will not always be immediately apparent, because you need to take taxes into account.
Go through all your overheads with a fine tooth-comb, then assess what tax you will owe. Once you have a clear idea of what your overheads are, and what portion of your salary you will actually take home, then you can better work out whether it is the right salary for you.
Aim high, but not unrealistically
With your target salary, it is best to be ambitious but competitive. This is to say, come up with a figure at the top end of what you believe your work is worth, but keep in mind that there is always someone who is willing to do your job for less.
Therefore, avoid living in fantasy land, demanding a salary that you just aren’t worth, and instead work to secure a competitive salary that appeases both you and your employer.