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Are Your Salary Expectations Practical?

Throughout your career journey, the question of salary expectations is bound to come up, often surfacing during interviews to gauge alignment with a company’s budget or industry norms. Employers seek to ensure that your expected salary aligns with their capabilities, as budgets are often predetermined for various roles. However, exceptional talent or market trends may prompt adjustments.

So, how do you establish practical salary expectations?

Drawing from my experience, many jobseekers gauge their salary expectations against their current earnings, evaluating their comfort level or desired increments. Unfortunately, this method can lead to setbacks. Before initiating your job search, it’s important to consider a spectrum of considerations beyond your existing compensation package. Here are 5 key factors to consider when establishing practical salary expectations:

1. Market research

Salaries can significantly differ among organisations based on their salary structure. Hence, conducting comprehensive research on industry standards and salary ranges in your country is crucial. Platforms such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn offer valuable insights into average salaries for comparable positions. Additionally, consulting market insights reports or contacting recruiters can provide further clarity. By grasping the market value of your skills and experience, you can establish practical salary expectations in line with industry standards.

2. Evaluate your skills & experience

Assess your qualifications, experience, and unique skillset. Consider factors such as specialised certifications, advanced degrees, or relevant achievements that add value to your candidacy. A thorough evaluation of your professional value will help you justify your salary expectations and negotiate confidently during the hiring process.

3. Consider total compensation

Salary is just one component of your overall compensation package. Benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, bonuses, stock options, and paid time off can significantly impact your total income and job satisfaction. Evaluate the complete compensation package offered by potential employers to determine its true value and whether it meets your financial and lifestyle needs.

4. Assess level of responsibility & decision-making authority

Consider the scope of responsibilities, decision-making autonomy, and level of accountability associated with the role. Roles requiring higher levels of initiative, judgment, and accountability typically command higher salary increments. Evaluate the complexity of tasks, leadership responsibilities, and potential impact on the organisation when determining your salary expectations.

5. Understand internal equity

Understanding internal equity involves recognising how your salary expectations align with the company's existing pay structures. This knowledge, combined with market research, empowers you to manage your salary negotiations effectively and set realistic expectations. Knowing that employers aim for internal consistency will help you approach salary discussions with a balanced perspective, considering both market standards and the company's internal pay equity.


Conducting salary research and comparisons early in your job search can save you considerable time and effort when exploring new opportunities. Understanding how your current earnings stack up against market standards and benchmarking your current role against prospective positions helps you avoid fruitless job applications or being disqualified due to salary misalignment. A focused job search that aligns with your priorities yields better outcomes. Remember, success isn't always solely about monetary compensation.

For those seeking opportunities or career guidance in the technology space, feel free to connect with me at

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