The Salary Question

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Firstly, happy 2019 to all of you reading our first blog post of the year. This week, lets talk about something topical. It’s the beginning of a new year. Many technical professionals will be considering looking for the next step in their career as a New Year’s resolution. It’s around this time that employers also have to fill vacancies left by these professionals. All in all, many New Zealand professionals will be sent a job offer this month. As recruiters, we want to see both employers and job seekers prosper in 2019. Here’s a couple of tips for both employers and job seekers this month when dealing with job offers.

Job seekers: Know your worth

When you first look for a new job, it’s a good idea to head into the job search knowing roughly what sort of remuneration package you’re looking for. Typically, you’ll want more than you’re currently on, although it’s common to take a similar or slightly lower salary to take a job that’s closer to home or offers better working conditions etc. Regardless, the goal is to establish what it is that you want.

Next, you’ll want to reconcile the remuneration package you want against what you can realistically expect to get. This is where it can be useful to talk to people already working within the industry, look online at job market reports and perhaps most of all: speak to an experienced and reputable recruiter. Recruiters will be able to give you an informed estimation of what your future salary should look like, based on their extensive knowledge of market pay rates. Knowing what people are paid and what people should be paid is a pivotal part of what we do.

Once you know what you’re worth, you’re in a good position as a job seeker. This knowledge will help you to better weigh up any job offers that come your way in 2019.


If there’s a discrepancy between what you want to get paid and what you realistically should be offered by a potential employer, then it’s up to you to temper your expectations accordingly.

Should an employer offer you less than you know the market rate to be, or less than you’re on currently, you’ll be able to either negotiate this with the employer or speak with your recruitment consultant about it.

Employers: Offer your new hires a remuneration package to match

On that note, every employer should assume that the applicants they interview have a fair idea of what to expect salary-wise. In an age where so much information is available online, most job seekers are extremely proactive and will actively seek out information on jobs they apply for. Part of that research will include the typical salary bands for those positions. With that being said, that leads us to this blog post’s most salient point:

Don’t intentionally offer a candidate less than what they’re worth.

Any good employer knows that employees are not commodities that you can haggle for to try and get the ‘best price on’. Rather, employees should be treated as assets to a company. They’re a long term investment that will generate more revenue for business and provide value through their services.


The right move is often to offer a new hire a competitive and enticing offer – from the outset, this establishes you as a fair employer that is willing to invest in the employee.

No matter which way you cut it, it’s never a good idea to ‘lowball’ a candidate with a job offer that doesn’t offer them the appropriate rate for the role, or offers them less than they’re currently being paid. Best case for the employer is that the candidate still accepts the job offer – but then you’ve got an employee who may come to the job disillusioned on day 1. Those are the employees that burn out quickly and will be job hunting again in a few months or less. Worst case is that the candidate slips through the employer’s fingers by declining the job offer. More often than not, a professional candidate with many options will not be interested in renegotiating if they feel offended or like their time is being wasted.

Why salary matters so much

Whoever first said “money makes the world go round” was definitely onto something. According to, salary is the top driver of attraction for positions in the engineering industry, both worldwide and in the Australian/NZ market. The same goes for Construction and Mining, Resources & Energy. That’s why it’s a delicate subject between job seekers and employers – it can make or break an otherwise desirable job offer.

The bottom line:

If you’re going to be applying for a job, or you’re an employer looking to fill a position in your company, be mindful of ‘the money question’. Prepare yourself by conducting some market research ahead of time and make sure you know what the realistic dollar values are for you.

Article by Dario Luca, Marketing Coordinator

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