Tools for Calculating Your Salary


It is important to know not only how much of a salary you will require to sustain a certain quality of life, but also how much you are actually worth within your field based on experience and education factors. People range from feeling inadequate where they never ask for enough salary to those who exaggerate their skill sets and demand a salary that is far beyond their range. Hopefully as a job seeker you fall somewhere between. Employers are prepared to negotiate salary, but they do not act favorably when it is demanded. So utilize some of the concepts listed below to be a diplomatic negotiator and acquire the salary you not only want, but deserve.

Research your career, field, or specialty within your geographic area. Many times when people move from one part of the country to another, they realize that there may be a slight difference in salary, but if they neglected to research it fully they may find that the slight dip in salary that they expected becomes the grand canyon. Factors like cost of living, the size of a city, and the size of the organizations are huge aspects to determine before you calculate your necessary salary requirements. Contacting local Chamber of Commerce, Business Associations, and Industry Associations can assist you in determining the salaries for your area. In addition, a well known and trusted site on-line is through at:

All public institutions offer a salary chart for their staff and can provide salary schedules for any field regionally, state-wide, or nationally. Anything from your local county building department to the area university can offer a list of salaries for your geographic area. Some also do research and study fields in the private sector as well, so don’t be afraid to call around and ask. Being armed with this information is one of the most effective tools that you can have when negotiating your salary.

Armed with the general salary information you can now determine your market value. Many compensation specialists use complex mathematical equations to determine someone’s market value. You as a layperson can calculate this in a general range with the salary information as defined by your geographic area and field and then by adding your experience and education. If you have recently graduated from college with an MBA, your market value may not be as much as someone with no degree and 20 years experience. While your MBA certainly adds value, it is your experience, internships, and training which may elevate your value more for an employer. In addition, if you have spent the last 10 years training as a basket weaver, you may not have as much value for an organization as someone that has been in the field of office administration. While most of this seems to be common sense, many people look at their value through their eyes and not through the eyes of the employer. Good employment and professional association references add value as well.