Money, Money, Money

Growing up I was always taught not to talk about money… Well, sorry Mum & Dad that’s exactly what I’m going to do in this blog post.
Salaries are something we get asked about a lot on the information desk so I thought I’d spend a bit of time answering the most common queries.

What is a ‘competitive salary’?

I’m sure you’ll have come across this term in job descriptions before and been a bit confused as to why the employer is being evasive. Well, there a couple of reasons why. Sometimes it may be because they’re waiting to see what you expected to be paid (more about negotiating salaries later), but more commonly it is because they do not want their market competitors know what they are willing to pay employees.

Basically if an employer is offering a ‘competitive salary’ it’ll be equal to the industry average for similar roles.  A little bit of digging and you should be able to find out what that might be. Look at the job profiles on the Prospects website and research more industry specific websites.

How can I negotiate a salary?

Most salaries will be fixed by HR departments but there might be some instances where you are able to negotiate a salary or when an employer will ask what your expected salary is. The honest answer might be ‘as much as possible please!’ but in reality that really isn’t going to work! You need to be realistic.  There are a few things you’ll need to consider and take into account before deciding on a figure.

    • What is the going rate for that role in that location?
    • Do you have considerable experience in the sector or highly specialist skills
    • What other perks come along with the role (if any)
    • How much do you really want the job?

For further information on negotiating salaries check out our blog post on the topic.

Will I be able to live on that salary?

When you start working chances are you’ll be better off than when you were a student, but with a larger bank balance comes larger numbers of bills and taxes.  Certain deductions will be taken before your monthly pay goes into your account including income tax, National Insurance pension payments and student loan repayments.   NatWest have created a salary calculator which enables you to calculate after all of the typical deductions are made, what you take home salary will be.

You’ll then need to take into account rent, Council Tax (something you were exempt from as a student) food, travel costs and things like phone & internet contracts. What’s left will be your disposable income that you can choose to spend however you want (in my case shoes!)

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