Clement May Blogs

Considerations when working out your salary expectations

As recruiters a large part of our job is finding the right candidate at the right price. This inevitably requires negotiation along the line and we always discuss the candidate’s salary expectation to ensure that it is within a negotiable range with the client. These are our tips for you to ensure you get the best deal without pricing yourself out of the competition.


It may seem obvious but skills should lay the foundations of your salary expectation. Do you have all the skills required? Do you have the skills desired? To what extent do you fulfil the brief? What additional skills do you have that aren’t mentioned on the job description but could give you a great advantage? If you feel absolutely confident that you can provide everything required and have the experience to back it up you should look towards the higher end of the pay scale. If not, work out where you position yourself.


Of course experience is crucial but it’s not a simple statement of years. Every project, every company, every role has some unique aspects and it’s about highlighting those very specific experiences that make you perfect for the role. 20 years experience within one department of one company is not as valuable as 10 years experience contracting and overseeing implementation of new systems for 10 different companies if that’s what’s required. Direct experience in a closely comparable role is a valuable asset.  


Are you a domestic cat or a snow leopard? We all think we’re snow leopards in some respect – a rare, reclusive gem in an unforgiving landscape? The point is you need to be realistic. How big is the competition? How unique is your skill set? And how valuable are those skills? Is the competition growing or is it shrinking? How easy would it be for the client to find your replacement? If you fit the brief and no one else does, your salary expectation should be ambitious.


Clement May recruit globally and we know that an identical role for the same company in different locations will pay differently. Your value is normally based on the location of the client site and will generally be related to the cost of living. We will advise on parity of wages but don’t expect to earn a London wage in South Asia. Equally don’t expect city-centre accommodation to be supplied in London, as is sometimes the case in lower or middle-income countries.


Have you got glowing references? Have you got letters of recommendation from the CTO of a FTSE100? Have you received any special commendations? Anything that will reassure the client that you are the best hire they could make opens the salary negotiation further. Clients are terrified of hiring an under-performing consultant at an inflated price – even with expert recruiters it happens! Do what you can to prove you won’t join a litany of embarrassing hires.

Essentially it is our job to get you the best rate within (and sometimes beyond) the pay scale provided by the client. If you’re in a competitive market place but asking for 50% above your peers we wouldn’t put you forward without very good reason. If you are asking for a premium you need to provide us with a great case to present to the client. Have realistic salary expectations and we’ll negotiate to get a deal that suits you and the client.


Check out these articles for more tips

Salary expectations: how do you know the price is right?

Salary checker: Glassdoor