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How to Figure Out and Present a Fair Salary Offer

Making a salary offer is a pivotal time in the hiring process. As a business, you want to hire the best candidates. But you also need to consider your budget and prevent salary decisions from being based on whim or emotion. Offer too high, and you might be overpaying for talent. Offer too low, and you risk destroying trust with the candidate.

Job seekers today have access to credible salary information. They know their worth. Do you? If you need some help, these tips can help you figure out and present a fair salary offer for any role.

Evaluate the role

Before you begin determining a salary scale, it’s crucial to evaluate the position you’re looking to fill. Start with a detailed description of the job, including all duties and responsibilities, the formal job title and time commitment. What value will this role provide to your business? How much time and energy does it require? What level of experience and certification is necessary to get the job done? Starting with this information can get you in the right state of mind to determine a fair salary range for the role.

Research wages

A salary guide can be a useful tool in figuring out the salary range for different roles and drilling down to numbers specific to your market. But don’t assume you can just offer a salary in the midpoint of a published range. Remember, a salary guide is a helpful tool, not a compensation strategy. You need to adjust that number based on other factors like the market’s supply of talent, your performance expectations and turnover rates.

For example, if a particular skill is in short supply, offering the median salary might not cut it. On the other hand, if your organization is widely considered to be one of the best places to work for in your area, turnover is low and top performers are lining up to work for you, you might not need to pay top dollar.

Consider other benefits

Of course, salary is only one factor of total employee compensation, so what else does your company bring to the table? Finding ways to “sweeten the pot” for candidates can give you some wiggle room in salary negotiations.

A 2017 survey from Qualtrics and Accel Partners found that 91 percent of Millennial employees say they’re most attracted to a new job by salary and benefits, but some job perks would make them consider working for less. Those factors include:

  • Long-term job security (38 percent)
  • Flexible hours (37 percent)
  • Good mentorship opportunities (30 percent)
  • Rapid growth (30 percent)
  • A team of extremely talented and smart people (26 percent)

Some of these factors come at a low or no cost to the employer. So, if you can include these in your total compensation package, you may be able to stay closer to your baseline salary figure.

Talk to your recruiter

Early in a search, talk to your recruiter about what kind of salary you plan to offer candidates and how you plan to broach the topic of compensation. Recruiters in your area have a feel for the job market that only comes from talking to employers and candidates on a daily basis. They can help you get a realistic idea of how difficult it will be to find the combination of education, experience and skills you’re seeking in a new hire. They understand what such a candidate will expect in terms of salary and benefits. And they can help you sell your company and negotiate salary with confidence.

The wealth of salary information available online makes researching salary ranges easier than ever before. However, it doesn’t absolve you of your responsibility to create a thoughtful compensation structure. Follow the tips above to figure out and present a fair salary offer. This will increase the likelihood of hiring happy, motivated employees.

Download our 2019 Salary Guide!


Accounting Principals

We're Accounting Principals--a leader in finance and accounting staffing. In fact, since 2010, we've been part of Adecco Group, a Global 500 company and leader in staffing services around the world. But this isn't staffing as usual. We take quite a different approach than most staffing agencies. A people-focused approach. We believe in forming real relationships with both our clients and our candidates. We want to understand the needs on both sides.