Whether you want to take a job elsewhere, ask for a pay rise or change your job type, you want to make sure you get the salary you deserve. The first step is to assess yourself professionally and then negotiate an offer based on your value.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as it sounds. It’s not about what you think you deserve based on hearsay or sources that are not relevant to you, but how to argue and adjust your salary expectations for both yourself and your employer.
If you’re wondering how to properly evaluate yourself professionally in order to be happy with a new job or raise, we at MEDIjobs have put together a guide with resources to consider when you want to realistically estimate what salary offer you deserve at the stage of your career you’re at.
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Salaries for healthcare professionals have always been a widely discussed and negotiated topic over the years, both in the public arena and in the legal framework for those working in the public healthcare system.
The same is true in the private sector, where salaries vary widely from city to city and are often negotiated between employers and candidates. Here, you can influence your salary offer, but the hardest part is knowing your professional value.
Although salary expectations are negotiated equally by candidates and employers, few candidates know how to negotiate well. They either ask for too much or too little, increasing the chances of missing out on a real growth opportunity.
This happens because they don’t know what their professional value is in the job market to show why they deserve a particular offer.
And your professional value means taking into account a mix of factors:
You need to be realistic and practical when assessing your fair value to an employer. All relevant skills, education, experience and performance in previous jobs should be taken into account.
If it’s your first time in this role, you may have some skills needed for the job, but you will certainly need to develop others, and that takes time (and investment on the part of the employer).
Although this is the responsibility of the employer, internal rules or individual employment contracts may also contain a general prohibition on employees discussing salaries.
If there isn’t one, you can talk to your coworkers about how much they think someone in your position should make (direct questions about your coworkers’ salaries won’t go over well because they’re uncomfortable and too personal).
See this When’s the right time to ask for a salary increase at your first job?
But here are a few steps to help you get a much clearer idea of how to evaluate yourself professionally and get the salary you deserve.
Researching the medical salary market can easily start with using online salary comparison or estimation tools. There are recruitment platforms that help you find a realistic salary range for a specific type of employee, depending on the job and various details of the person, or they frequently publish market research.
With such a salary tool or questionnaire, you can compare your current salary with the average salary based on salary data collected for different occupations. Or you can simply use tools that estimate average salaries, such as Glassdoor or Paylab.
Although we are talking about the employer’s responsibility, internal rules or individual employment contracts may also mention a general prohibition for employees to disclose salaries.
If this is not the case, you can talk to your colleagues about how much they think someone in your position should be paid (direct questions about your colleagues’ salaries are not well received because they are uncomfortable and too personal).
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Salary is not the only thing that reflects your value and can give you job satisfaction. Often, it’s the policies and benefits an employer offers that can persuade you to accept a new job or make a change in your medical career. Or maybe you’re deciding between job offers and don’t know how to compare them.
In order to evaluate yourself professionally and know what you deserve, it’s important to know what’s most important to you: is it just the salary or is it also the opportunities for professional growth? Does the company offer flexible work schedules, bonuses, or extra days off?
Look at the whole package, not just the salary. People often enjoy their jobs when they find meaning, freedom, success, community and motivation in what they do.
But you can always talk to other colleagues, perhaps friends or acquaintances you are networking with. It’s even more useful if you can get information from medical professionals working in different small and large companies, or in different cities, so you can form an unbiased opinion.
You can use the same strategy and ask their opinion about the salary or salary range that someone in your role (or theirs, if it’s the same) should have or ask for.
As I said, it’s important to be informed, but also very realistic when it comes to evaluating salary or a job offer. Salary ranges can vary from city to city due to the economy and shortage of medical staff, which is understandable.
Just as there can be very high profits for certain companies or medical professions over time, there can also be budget cuts or tax changes that can negatively affect salary budgets for new hires.
By staying informed about these economic issues, you can find your dream job, even if the salary isn’t quite in the range you want, if it offers an incredible work environment and extra benefits, or a different and more enjoyable experience than you’ve had before.
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It’s so important to remember that both the candidate and the employer are equal partners who want something of value and need to communicate and collaborate in the hiring process. And negotiation is welcome when it comes to the salary package, it is not a negative practice to be avoided.
So don’t be afraid to have a conversation with the employer during the interview.
You can gather the relevant information, present the data you have gathered, and ask if it is in line with the medical organization’s expectations. This can start a constructive discussion that takes into account what they need from the person who will fill the vacancy, as well as your needs to do your job well.
To help you, here are some questions you can ask the employer to gather as much information as possible about the position and to ask for an appropriate and satisfactory salary.
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Salaries also vary by type of healthcare company. And your job satisfaction may depend a lot on where you work – a very large company with offices across the country will be different from a clinic or doctor’s office, both in terms of the work environment and salary expectations.
Typically, larger companies pay their employees more than smaller companies because they are more successful, have a better reputation, and earn more per employee. On the other hand, a small company may give you more freedom and autonomy, perhaps even decision-making power and the satisfaction of working the way you like.
Whatever your situation, be your own advocate. Try to make it as clear as possible to your employer what value you bring to the company or team, and what options there are for accepting a salary package that is fair and equitable. And don’t forget to ask questions if you feel the employer’s offer doesn’t match your skills and experience.
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All the information you’ve gathered about your professional value can help you ask for a justified raise or get hired where you want to be to follow your dreams.
It’s always about peer-to-peer communication: they choose you, but you choose them, too, if you share the same values and goals. Good luck!
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