Job application

Workwise: What salary should I put in my job application?

If you are looking for a job, be prepared to receive many requests to submit an application indicating your salary requirements.

This may lead you to wonder what is better to write, as determining the appropriate salary requirement is not necessarily a simple undertaking. It is therefore worth taking a little time to answer the question. Why do companies even ask for your salary requirements in the app in the first place?

“Salary requirements are still partly a criteria that companies use to screen candidates,” says Katharina Hain, human resources manager at Hays Recruiting.

She says this is meant to show if candidates have a good assessment of their own skills and also know the market.

At the same time, she says, it indicates whether the company and the candidate can come to an agreement when it comes to negotiating a salary.

So what should you consider when formulating your salary expectations?

Start by setting a lower limit, says career consultant and author Christoph Burger.

Applicants should note their living expenses against their other assets or income, such as that of their spouse, so that they can determine the amount below which they would definitely not accept the job.

Equally important is determining how much responsibility you want in the business. More responsibility pays better, but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

Career coach Bernd Slaghuis recommends asking the fundamental question: “Do I want to help shape the company strategically and conceptually, or am I better at implementing operational tasks? “

Both are important, he says, but the jobs behind them can have very different salary structures.

Personal skills and experience also matter.

“Knowledge gained through work experience and life experience makes employees valuable to an employer,” says Slaghuis. This is something candidates should be aware of.

Pay, he says, is not just about achieving a standard of living, but also about one’s own self-worth and self-esteem.

How do I know reliably what salary I can claim?

A quick way to check is to go to an online comparison site, but beware: “Sites often only have salary estimates determined from information provided by users, which is not necessarily meaningful. beyond an initial orientation,” says Slaghuis.

However, the sites can help you get an idea of ​​industry and region, two factors that have a direct impact on salary.

For example, in Germany, the national employment agency publishes a salary atlas which gives a good overview of median salaries for many professions in different parts of the country.

There are also websites, such as Glassdoor, that provide average salary levels based on search criteria such as job title, region, degree, age, and gender.

You can also get help from unions and professional associations, especially if you’re applying to an industry with collective wage agreements.

Union websites usually publish pay scales and many associations carry out studies on wage developments in their sector and offer advice.

It is also worth asking your friends and acquaintances whether there are suitable contacts there.

“The most reliable statements come, of course, from people with comparable careers and experience in similar positions,” Burger says.

After an initial research, it is also important to examine the business situation of the company.

“Suppliers to large companies are often under price pressure and therefore unable to pay more. On the other hand, there are niche companies that practically have a monopoly position in their field, even if they are very small,” says Burger.

These factors are closely related to the structure of the company and influence the salary.

“So try to find out what exactly the position advertised is, where it is in the hierarchy of the company and what responsibility comes with it,” says Slaghuis.

If you’re worried about going too low or too high, then Hain points out that stating a salary expectation that’s too low isn’t usually a disaster — unless the job requires a persuasive personality, for example in sales, says -she.

Some companies may ask you about your previous salary during the interview and then offer you 10-15% more.

“What you earned before is none of the employer’s business,” says Slaghuis. He suggests that you ask during the interview why this information is important for the selection process and to be clear about the future salary.

In Burger’s experience, a candidate is eliminated from the process if there is a deviation of more than 10% from the actual estimated salary. “However, there is no clear rule.”

When no precise estimate is possible, his advice is that it is better to ask for more than less as an applicant. – dpa/Victoria Vosseberg