Requesting a “salary surge”: is it reasonable?

December 7, 2015 2 mins read
Requesting a “salary surge”: is it reasonable?

Salary expectation plays a key role in any job search. Everybody wants to have a higher salary in their new job which is perfectly reasonable. But what about those who have even higher salary expectations? A 'salary surge'?

Facing this phenomenon, what we need to consider is whether we have made a beneficial or rational decision for ourselves. We can answer this question in the following ways:

How well do you know the market rate for your desired remuneration level?

To start with, we need to know the market. We should be familiar with the whole market situation regarding pay increases. This can be done through various channels:

  • we can collect information directly by going to job interviews, since we will then be informed of the company’s salary level which makes it possible for us to compare our pay expectations with the employer’s
  • we may contact people in our network to find out what the going rate is
  • recruitment websites are an option, you can search for annual salary reports issued by headhunters or consultancies with salary brackets for different companies and the industry '
  • the most effective channel is to contact the headhunters personally, who will share with you the most up-to-date information about market rates.


Does your value match your pay expectation?

Next, after we have familiarized ourselves with the marketplace, we need to make an objective judgment on whether our value matches our expected pay. We may come across different people at the job interviews, be it human resources managers, line managers or headhunters. By communicating with them, we may come to a general estimate of our value and the corresponding salary we could be offered.

  • What skills are most in demand? Do you have these and can you demonstrate this well during your interviews?
  • What levels and/or kinds of experience are being asked for?
  • Are certain qualifications needed?
  • What does the competition look like? How do you compare to other job seekers in this field?


Confirming the offer

Finally, we need to consider this: according to the salary level of the whole market and our perceived worth, is a potential job offer at risk when demanding a very high salary rise?

Everyone has the right to ask for and negotiate for their expected salary whether it is a much higher pay, the market-level pay or otherwise. When we tell our potential employer our expected salary, we should know what we really want and value the most.

Marlon Mai's picture
Marlon Mai
Managing Director, Greater China