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What does competitive salary mean?

What does it mean when job adverts say ‘competitive salary’? Is this a good thing, or something to avoid?!

What does competitive salary mean?

If you’re in the middle of applying for jobs, you might have noticed some jobs don’t tell you the salary. Instead, they just say ‘competitive salary’. This may leave you feeling a little frustrated. After all, you don’t want to apply for a job that doesn’t pay you enough

So in today’s blog, we’re giving you the inside scoop on competitive salaries.

What does competitive salary mean?

A competitive salary means the company pays the average salary (or above) for the role. 

Why do companies write this?

There are a couple of different reasons why companies choose to write ‘competitive salary’ rather than specifying an amount.

The first reason is that the salary is likely to be negotiable. Some companies don’t want to put people off by listing a low salary because they’ll pay more for the right person. At the same time, they don’t want to list a salary that’s really high. Believe it or not, but this can put some people off from applying.

The second reason is that the company may want to keep the salary confidential. Many companies don’t like when employees discuss their salaries. They prefer to keep this information confidential. But you should know that you can always ask your colleagues about their salaries.

How do you know if you’re being offered enough?

At some stage in the process, you’ll want to ask the employer for more information about the salary. At this point, they should be able to tell you a salary bracket.

It’s important to gauge the going rate for your role in your area. To do this, you can check other job adverts online or use salary checkers

Examples of competitive salaries

  • The average salary in London for a software engineer is £72,500. So a competitive salary for this role could be between £72,500 and £76,000.
  • The average salary in Manchester for a Carer is £20,545. So a competitive salary could be between £20,545 and £23,000.
  • The average salary in Birmingham for a Head Chef is £27,000. So a competitive salary could be between £27,000 and £30,000.

Important note

Average salary checkers aren’t black and white. You should remember that salary isn’t just about the job title and location. Your experience and level of qualification will also affect the salary you’re entitled to. For example, a software engineer with just 1 year of experience wouldn’t expect to earn £72,500. The average salary for a software engineer with 1 year of experience will be much less than £72,500.

What to do if the salary is too low

When you find out BEFORE the interview process

If you find out before the interview process that the salary is too low, here’s what you do:

  • Address it as soon as possible. 
  • Tell the hiring manager that you’re very interested in the role, but the salary isn’t close to your desired bracket. 
  • Ask them if there is any room in their budget to increase the salary for the right candidate.
  • Let them know that you know their time is precious and that you don’t want to waste it if your desired salary is out of the question.

When you find out AFTER the interview

If you find out the salary is too low after you’ve been interviewed, you’ll need to negotiate your salary:

  • Tell the hiring manager you really like the sound of the role and are very interested in working for them.
  • Let them know that the salary is slightly under what you were hoping for.
  • Tell them the salary bracket you’d be happy with.
  • Reiterate the reasons why you think you’re deserving of the salary and position.

Know your worth

Seeing ‘competitive pay’ on a job ad isn’t a bad thing. It often means the employer is open to negotiation and will pay for the right candidate. But it’s important to get clear on the salary bracket as soon as possible. You don’t want to waste your time or the employer’s time if your salary brackets are total opposites. So always gain clarity on the salary bracket at your first opportunity!

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