Salary Speak: The Truth About Pay Increases When Changing Jobs

Imagine this. You are wrapping up an interview for a job that feels like a perfect fit. You researched the company. You prepared a list of well-thought out questions. You feel confident. Then, the interviewer lobs that final question that causes anxiety for even the most senior of candidates…”What are your salary requirements?”

First off, it is best to avoid answering salary requirements until you receive an offer, unless you are speaking confidentially with a recruiter (read more about salary negotiations, here). That said, one of the questions job seekers most frequently ask us is how much of a pay increase they should expect when changing jobs.

While many factors come into play, in our experience, those seeking a new job can expect a 10-12% increase over what they currently earn, regardless of what the industry is paying.

Honesty is Important

Becker Wright Consultants’ owner, Jennifer Wright, says to be honest about your current compensation. Overstating your compensation in order to get a higher salary is risky and could cost you the opportunity.

“Chances are, the in-house HR staff already has a solid understanding of what competitors are paying, and perhaps even your current company,” says Jennifer. “While you may be able to get away with exaggerating your base salary a bit, ask yourself whether it is worth the chance of losing an opportunity and damaging your reputation.”

That said, you want to seek the highest salary within that range you can justify based upon your skills and experience.

Finally, keep in mind that base salary is but one component of your compensation. There are many other intangible factors to remember when considering making a move including: potential for professional growth, company culture, opportunities for advancement, and office location (0r ability to work from home), to name a few.