Career Advice Tuesday – “20 Percent Increase = Bad Assumption”
May 1, 2012
I am planning on moving back to the USA this fall, as I am currently living in Eastern Europe. As you may or may not know, the standard of life is poorer/lower than at the states. As I have heard on one of your presentations, one should ask for a salary maximum 20% of their current earnings. But the 20% would be not even close to what I would be satisfied with, or the standard for job class.
Do you have an opinion/recommendation on approach I should take, to get the salary I want and or deserve, regardless of my current pay?
Is Twenty Plenty?
Before I address your question, I want to make this very clear to all of the Infosecleaders audience:
I HAVE NEVER STATED THAT WHEN CHANGING JOBS YOU SHOULD ASK FOR A MINIMUM OF A 20% COMPENSATION PREMIUM OVER YOUR CURRENT ROLE
THIS IS FALSE, INCORRECT, UNREALISTIC AND SIMPLY WRONG!!!
Now to your question:
The real question about compensation can only be answered by understanding the market place value for your skills and experiences in your employer’s industry and geographic location. The best way to understand your marketplace value is to either survey your peers, (with similar skills) or people with industry knowledge (hiring managers and info sec recruiters) who can provide you with a benchmark of how you should be compensated.
Many information security professionals believe that the compensation for their individual specific skills should be treated differently than the market at large. This is a bad assumption and often leads to poor decision making about compensation expectations.
In general, compensation for similar skills in the same market will only fluctuate by about 10-20%. This fluctuation will be determined by seniority, alignment with the business need, urgency, the demands of the work environment and industry.
Given the above, your current salary is irrelevant to your future one, considering your change of location and the cost of living differences inherent to your move. However, before you embark on your job search you should get a better understanding of how your skills will be valued, and set some baselines and parameters with perspective employers as you begin your interview process.
Upon their assessment of your skills and your performance in the interview process they should be able to determine a suitable salary in their attempt to acquire your services. If you would like to keep them honest, interview with two companies simultaneously to see if the compensation they offer is similar.
My guess that the difference will be not much greater than 10%.
Hope this helps,
TO BE CLEAR
*** I HAVE NEVER STATED THAT WHEN CHANGING JOBS YOU SHOULD ASK FOR A MINIMUM OF A 20% COMPENSATION PREMIUM OVER YOUR CURRENT ROLE. THIS IS FALSE, INCORRECT, UNREALISTIC AND SIMPLY WRONG!!!***