How Much Salary Should I Ask For?


So you have graduated from college and finally got a call for that job interview. Congratulations!

In addition to your skills and work attitude, the topic of salary will inevitably come up during the job interview.

I know. I know. It’s uncomfortable talking about money.

It is true that many hesitate to mention any salary expectations during a job interview, despite having prior work experience. For a fresh graduate, mentioning “a number” is even more challenging. Rest assured, you will feel a lot less uncomfortable after reading this post.

For starters, here is how NOT to answer the question “what salary do you expect?”:

- It’s up to you

- I don’t really know

- How much are you willing to pay me?

It suggests that you have not done your homework on the role and the company you are applying for.

So how to determine what salary you should ask for?

1. Research... Research... Research...

Aside from the minimum wage in the city or area you are working in, you also need to know the salary standards for the industry and the position you are applying for.

Websites like Qerja.com or Glassdoor.com gives salary ranges for specific jobs and companies.

Check out the data below collected from Qerja.com:

Banking Industry

Teller position at BRI Rp2,900,000 (USD 217.57)

Internship at Citi Bank Rp4,000,000 (USD 299.76)

Teller position at BCA Rp3,400,000 (USD 255.08)

Officer Development Program of Bank Mandiri Rp5,300,000 (USD 397.62)

Telecommunications Industry

Telkomsel staff Rp5,200,000 (USD 390.13)

XL administration staff Rp2,500,000 (USD 187.56)

Indosat Administration Staff Rp4,000,000 (USD 300.09)

Creative Industry

Content writer Mirum Agency Rp4,000,000 (USD 300.09)

Copy writer Exo Agency Rp4,000,000 (USD 300.09)

Media monitoring staff Dwisapta Pratama Advertising Rp4,000,000 (USD 300.09)

*information is correct at the time of publishing

**exchange rate: 1 USD = 13,329 IDR

You can also search by area. This data from Glassdoor.com for Convergys Philippines shows salaries for a customer service representative in two different areas:

Manila Starting Php 16,000 (USD 316.59)

Baguio Starting Php 13,000 (USD 257.23)

*information is correct at the time of publishing

**exchange rate: 1 USD = 50,5377 PHP

In addition to the type of industry and size of the company, job value also matters. The more complex your job or the higher level skills it requires, the higher the salary you can ask for.

For example, a graphic designer doing only print work may not get as much as one who makes animations and video graphics.

2.Consider the facilities and benefits offered by the company

Gina works for a non-profit organization. Her salary is below average compared to her peers; however, the health benefits are really good --- 80% hospitalization coverage, full dental and eye glass benefits yearly. Is she being underpaid? She doesn’t think so.

Here are some benefits prospective employers may have:

- Travel for work or incentive trips for sales roles

- Remote working or work from home options

- Transport reimbursement generally given to employees whose offices are located far from the city or for employees who are highly mobile such as account executives or sales managers

- Mobile phone allowance usually for those whose jobs require constant communication with clients and/or team members

- Health insurance

- Maternity coverage

When evaluating two job offers with similar salary range, looking at benefits may often tip the scale towards one company.

3.Know your cost of living

This will give you an estimate of how much you will need to cover basic expenses. If the job offer is higher that your basic living expenses, then you know you are covered.

In the unfortunate situation that the salary offer is lower, then you need to either look at lifestyle adjustments or an alternative job.

At the end of the day, do not worry that you will give a figure that is too high (or too low), since a good interviewer or recruiter will tell you whether the salary you quoted is within the range of what the company is willing to pay.

All the best on that job interview!

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