Minding the Gap Between Salary Expectations and Realistic Increases

Salary expectations

Daniel le GrangeIn the delicate balancing act of matching businesses with the right procurement professionals, Daniel le Grange, recruiting specialist in the supply chain arena at Planned Talent in Pretoria, explains how to harmonise the desires and expectations of both clients and candidates to their mutual benefit.

Salary increases and expectations are undeniably a pivotal aspect when contemplating a career move. As a recruiter, it’s crystal clear that salary considerations occupy a paramount position during our initial assessments with candidates who aspire to embark on a new professional journey. Achieving that delicate equilibrium between a candidate’s salary expectations and the financial budget of our clients often translates into a surefire success in job placements.

Some of the key questions in the market currently are:

  1. What constitutes reasonable salary increases when transitioning between roles?
  2. What exactly does it mean when job listings claim the salary is “market-related”?

To delve into this, Planned Talent conducted LinkedIn polls to gather valuable insights directly from the candidates. The findings in the following two polls turned out to be remarkably insightful:

  • “What percentage increase in salary do you expect when changing jobs?”
  • “What was the percentage increase in your salary when you changed jobs last time?”

The options available for selection in both polls remained consistent, offering the following choices:

  1. 6%-10%
  2. 11% to 18%
  3. 19%+

In the first poll, a striking 42% of respondents expressed their anticipation for a substantial 19%+ increase, while 42% were hopeful for an 11% to 18% salary boost. Predictably only 16% of respondents expected a 6% to 10% increase.

The second poll painted a distinctly different picture. Here, 33% of respondents were fortunate enough to secure a handsome 19%+ increase, while 28% landed within the 11% to 18% range. The majority of respondents (39%) found themselves in the 6%-10% bracket. It’s evident that the results of the two polls couldn’t have been more divergent.

Salaries are probably one of the most complex areas to navigate when trying to make a successful placement as there are various factors at play, such as medical aid and pension contributions, discretionary bonuses and perks, like a company car or internet allowance, to name just a few.

Planned Talent’s primary objective is to secure the most favourable salary increases for candidates. While it’s true that higher salary increases translate to greater commissions for recruiters, the real satisfaction lies in securing that significant boost for applicants. However, it’s crucial to acknowledge the client’s perspective as well. We must respect their budgetary constraints for a given role and understand the inherent risk they assume when extending an offer to a candidate, who, from their perspective, may still be relatively unfamiliar.

It is for this reason that we generally advise candidates to align their expectations between the ranges of 10% to 18%. This range aligns with what we’ve consistently observed in the offers extended by clients, as it represents the most prevalent salary increase.

Now, let’s delve into the concept of “market-related” salaries. In practice, “market-related” increases aren’t generally based on fixed monetary amounts, but rather revolve around a percentage increase, specifically falling within that 11% to 18% range. There are several factors contributing to this approach. First, different industries yield varying compensation levels. Second, larger corporations typically offer more competitive packages than their smaller counterparts. Lastly, geographical location plays a significant role in salary disparities. Given these factors, adopting “market-related” increases as our guiding principle not only makes logical sense, but also aligns with the prevailing approach to offers in South Africa.

This doesn’t mean that a salary increase exceeding 19%+ when changing jobs as a procurement professional is an impossibility. In fact, recruiters, including myself, would welcome such instances with open arms. As our poll data indicates, these substantial increases do occur. However, it’s important to note that securing an 11% to 18% salary bump is often seen as a significant victory when transitioning roles. This range stands out because, as our poll revealed, a substantial portion of respondents received only a modest 6% to 10% increase. While those larger jumps are out there, aiming for that 11% to 18% range is a realistic and noteworthy achievement in the job market.

The most important factors for procurement professionals to consider when looking at accepting a job offer are:

  1. Will this offer provide the financial means to cover all your expenses?
  2. Is this an opportunity that will be beneficial to your career and future success?
  3. Does this offer/role address the concerns and issues you have in your current role?

Working with a recruiter as a candidate has its advantages. When your salary expectations align with reality, you can concentrate on these three aspects. Meanwhile, a good recruiter will tirelessly advocate for your increase, and potentially more, using every resource at their disposal. On the other hand, as a client collaborating with a recruiter, you can rest assured that when we propose a particular salary increase for our candidate, it’s done with a deep understanding of your budget constraints while also recognising the candidate’s true value.

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