Salary requirements are something that an employer will likely ask you to share at some point in the hiring process. Some companies may require you to include a salary range in your application while others may ask during a phone screen or interview. Regardless of when you’re asked for this information, it’s important to be well prepared.
Salary Pay vs. Hourly Pay
Salary Pay Pros
1. Consistent paycheck
2. Paid time off and sick days
3. Eligibility for more, better benefits
4. More career advancement opportunities
Hourly Pay Pros
1. Overtime compensation
2. Holiday pay (ex. time and a half)
3. Ability to dedicate time to other interests
4. Some autonomy over your schedule
Salary Pay Cons
1. Potential to work more than scheduled hours
2. Potentially less autonomy over and holidays and overtime
3. Reduced availability for additional jobs
Hourly Pay Cons
1. More vulnerable to economic changes
2. Pay losses when tardy or absent
3. Typically fewer benefits
Here are some helpful tips and examples to make sure you’re ready to disclose your salary requirements with confidence.
Why do employers ask for salary requirements?
There are a few reasons employers ask job applicants for their salary requirements. Here are the top three:
They want to make sure your requirements fit their budget
Because employers typically have an allocated budget for each hire they make, your salary requirements can help them understand the potential impact on their accounting. If you require more than they’ve budgeted for, employers may need to request an increase in budget for your position.
They want to make sure you know the value of your skills and experience
From your skills and experience to your career history and education, many factors determine how much value you bring to an organization. Being able to communicate the value of your knowledge and skills shows employers you’re confident in your abilities and you’ve done your research.
They want to make sure you’re at the right level for the position
If your salary expectations are on the low end of what an employer has budgeted for a position, it could indicate that you’re at a lower experience level than the job requires. Alternatively, if you ask for significantly more than expected, it could suggest you’re overqualified for the role.
When determining your salary requirements, be sure to consider all the factors that impact your value as an employee and make sure your research backs your desired salary range.
How to calculate a fair salary range
There are several factors to consider when determining how much you should be paid for a position. Here are a few things that can impact your salary requirements:
The cost-of-living has a significant impact on salary. For example, if you’re applying for a job located in New York City, you will likely have a higher salary requirement than if you were applying for the same role in rural Oklahoma.
An applicant who has a Ph.D. will likely anticipate a larger salary for a position than an applicant with a bachelor’s degree. However, remember to keep the employer’s requirements in mind. If a job posting doesn’t explicitly state a high-level degree as a requirement, they may not have budgeted for a higher salary.
Years of experience
The more experience you have in a particular job role or industry, the more value you can provide an employer—and the more compensation you deserve.
As you move up in your career, your salary requirements will also grow. For example, if you have managerial experience, you will likely expect a higher salary than you did when you first applied for an entry-level role.
If you have a skill that’s in high demand within your industry, you’ll likely have higher salary requirements. Some examples include expertise in industry-specific software or fluency in more than one language.
Licenses and certifications
In some industries, you may be able to obtain special licenses or certifications that make you more valuable to employers. If you’ve gone through the effort to earn additional credentials, you may also expect higher pay.
One way to find the average salary for the job you’re applying for is to use Indeed Salaries. This tool will tell you the average salary for the position you want in your city, the average salary for the position in nearby cities, the national average for the position and the salary paid for the position at several nearby companies. All estimates come directly from data submitted anonymously by other Indeed users, as well as the salaries listed from past and present job ads posted on Indeed.
You can also visit Indeed's Salary Calculator for a free, personalized pay range based on your location, industry and experience.
How to provide your salary requirements
In some cases, you may be required to enter your salary range into a field on the employer’s application. However, if you’re asked to provide your salary requirements within your cover letter or during an interview, it can be helpful to share your reasoning. Here are two examples:
Salary requirements in cover letter
“My salary requirement is in the range of $45,000 to $50,000 as this is the local industry average for a professional with my level of experience.”
Salary requirements in interview
“I would like to secure a salary in the range of $75,000 to $85,000. This is on par with the average in our city for a professional with my level of experience and education.”
When you disclose your salary requirements, be confident and let employers know if you’re open to negotiation. By doing your research ahead of time, you’ll have a much better idea of what’s considered a fair salary for the role.