The inability to determine how much you are worth makes it difficult to ask for the salary or responsibility that will enable you grow within your profession.
By EDNA MARITIM
Determining your value – either to a current employer or a potential new one – is an important part of developing a long-lasting and rewarding career. The inability to determine how much you are worth makes it difficult to ask for the salary or responsibility that will enable you grow within your profession. There is an old saying that describes this issue. “You are never paid what you are worth; you are paid what you can negotiate for.”
Human capital is an asset in all organisations, one that is imperative for them to make more money and further their goals. It is thus important to understand how a company determines the value that you provide. Any organisation can accurately measure the various expenses spent on an employee using quantifiable data like salary, recruiting expenditures, training costs or the benefits package. All these are tangible elements factored in when determining how much a company should ideally pay you. There are also other factors based on the internal metrics of an organisation. For you the employee, however, salary information is the most ideal piece of data that will determine your worth to any employer in the market. In Kenya, finding market data that highlights the market rate for an individual based on the location, their experience and position is extremely difficult.
Consider this example: you have worked at a company for about five years and throughout that time, you have grown an exceptional team, delivered results and given your time. But at this point, you feel like you are ready to move, discover a new job, take part in a new training, find a new challenge, push your career trajectory a bit further and so you begin to apply for jobs. Usually, this happens passively. You don’t really understand your market value, so during that upcoming interview when negotiating for your salary, where are you going to begin?
Know market trends
You need data about the current market. Staying up to date on market trends will allow you to successfully negotiate for that training you want to take part in, the salary you want or that pay rise.
Data Fintech and Brighter Monday have developed a salary benchmarks service across several African countries that helps both organisations and job seekers to keep up to date with job market trends. The analysis uses metrics that allow one to keep track of market evolution for multiple positions and industries. These include, but are not limited to, median salary, job creation, salary level and competition pressure. This information serves two purposes. First, you can verify you are being paid what you are worth and secondly, it can inspire you to take steps to become qualified for some of the higher-paying roles in the industry.
- Median salary:
This is the salary that is in the ‘middle’ when ordered from the highest paying salary to the lowest paying salary. The median salary evolution allows you to know if employers are creating more or less high paying jobs.
2. Evolution of job creation:
This looks at the average number of jobs created every month in your area and the various levels of expertise. If the number of jobs created on average per month is high in your job category, then it means demand for talent is high and one can negotiate for better packages. Conversely, if the number of jobs created is low, demand for talent is low and negotiating for better packages becomes harder.
3. Salary levels:
These are salary ranges based on your position/experience in the market; that is senior, intermediate, junior and entry. In the legal sector for example, as of June 2017, junior level salaries ranged between KSh32,500 and KSh67,500.
4. Competition pressure:
This refers to the average number of job applications per job opening. For example, if there are 30 lawyers applying for five positions, then competition pressure would be high. Thus, negotiating for a higher salary would be difficult because there is a larger number of people ready to take the job. However, if there were five lawyers and 10 open positions then competition pressure is low. Thus, negotiating for a higher salary would be manageable as there is a shortage of expertise in the market.
In the latest Brighter Monday Job market July 2017 report for example, the legal job category performed best. A total of 29 jobs were created in the market place in June 2017 with most of the jobs created commanding senior salaries. Legal salaries also experienced a jump, with the median salary recording a 36.57 per cent growth to KSh118,362. The increase in median salary can be explained by higher wages and the creation of more qualified jobs in the market place.
For anyone working in the legal sector, this would be good news as there is an increase in both jobs and the median salaries. This would mean that they would have an idea of how much to negotiate for when applying for a job. The fact that there was also an increase in the number of jobs created means that if they had the needed qualifications, getting a job would be fairly easy.
Ultimately, the bottom line is simple; knowing your value by keeping track of job market trends will not only ensure financial satisfaction, but will also allow you to know what steps you need to take to move to the next level of your professional career.