How much salary can I ask for?

How much salary can I ask for?

By Published On: 20. October 2023


Who doesn't know this question when it comes to job applications or a possible career change? But how do you actually calculate how much salary you can ask for? Various factors play a role, such as the position, the industry, the size of the company and, of course, one's own qualifications and experience. But even if you take all these factors into account, it's often not easy to formulate an appropriate salary request. For many, it's a balancing act between overachieving and underachieving, and just as often it's a matter of self-esteem. In this article, we want to look at different approaches to arrive at a realistic salary expectation. In doing so, we want to shed light not only on theoretical models, but also on practical tips and tricks for the next salary interview. Ultimately, we want you to get what you deserve.

How do you calculate what salary you can ask for?

As a job seeker, it can sometimes be difficult to know what salary you can ask for. It's a balance between what you need and what the employer is willing to pay. To figure that out, you need to consider several factors. Here are some steps on how you can do that.

Factors that could influence your salary

There are several factors that could determine how much salary you can ask for. First, you need to consider your personal expenses and lifestyle. How much money do you need to pay your monthly bills? How much do you want to save or set aside for retirement? These factors will give you a baseline from which to negotiate.

Then you need to consider your professional skills and experience. If you are very qualified or have many years of experience in your field, you can probably ask for a higher salary. Conversely, if you are new to a field, you will probably ask for less.

Make salary comparisons

The next step in calculating the salary to ask for is to do salary comparisons. There are many online tools and websites that can help you get an idea of market salaries for your position and location. You can also talk to colleagues, mentors or career advisors to get another perspective.

But remember that these numbers are only guidelines. You should not consider them as set, but as a starting point for negotiations with potential employers.

It is important to emphasize that there is no exact system to calculate what salary you can ask for. It depends on many factors, including your own comfort zone. Some people may feel uncomfortable asking for a high salary, while others may be more confident. It's important to find an amount you're comfortable with that meets your lifestyle and financial needs.

In addition, it is important to note that salary is not the only thing that matters when looking for a job. It is also important to consider aspects such as work culture, work-life balance and career opportunities.

Factors influencing your salary

Beyond what we've discussed so far, there are a variety of other factors that can affect your salary that you may not immediately think of. It may seem obvious that aspects like education, experience, and position play a role, but did you know that gender, region, and sometimes even time of year can also affect your salary? Let's dive deeper into the topic and see what other factors can affect your salary.

Regional differences

Regional differences can have a big impact on your salary. In cities with a high cost of living, such as Munich, you can expect to earn a higher salary to compensate for the additional costs. It's not just about big cities, though - in some German states, wages can be higher on average than in others. This is due to a number of factors, including industrial focus, general standard of living and the economic strength of the region.

Salaries also vary greatly between industries and occupational groups within different regions. In particular, highly qualified workers in IT fields, technical roles or the consulting industry in highly industrialized regions could earn above-average salaries. However, there are also differences between urban and rural areas: Salaries in rural regions are generally lower than in cities.

The role of the industry and the company

The industry and company you work for can have a significant impact on your salary. Some fields are generally known for their high salaries, such as finance, while others, such as nursing or education, are known for lower salaries.

As for your company, its size can also play a role. Larger companies usually have more resources and are therefore able to pay higher salaries than smaller companies. But again, don't overlook the details. Smaller companies can offer competitive salaries, especially if they're in a rapidly evolving industry or if they're looking for highly skilled employees.

These and other factors can have a significant impact on your salary. Therefore, it is always a good idea to take a close look at these and other relevant aspects. However, keep in mind that salary is only one of many aspects that count in a job. Job security, satisfaction and a good working environment are just as important and should be considered in your salary negotiation. Ultimately, it's about finding a job that not only offers you a decent salary, but also long-term satisfaction and success.

Factors that determine how much salary you can ask for

A key element of working life is how much salary you can ask for. Since you've already considered some aspects such as cost of living, work experience, online salary comparisons, work culture and work-life balance, it's now time to discover other factors. The better you understand these factors, the better you can target your desired salary.

Skill set and specialization

The intensity and sophistication of your skill set can have a significant impact on your salary. Someone who has a specialized skill or is highly skilled in a niche may demand more compared to someone who has general skills. A large portfolio of skills and experience can help you negotiate a higher salary. However, if you have niche skills that are essential to your role and the industry, you may be able to ask for even more.

Also think about training and development that will keep your skills up to date. The more you have advanced in your career and the more you have invested in your skills, the more you can ask for.

Company size and location

The size and location of a company can have a big impact on how much salary you can ask for. Larger companies often have larger budgets and are therefore willing to pay more. They also usually have a clearer salary structure and fixed salary thresholds for different positions.

The location of the company is also an important factor. In urban areas, where the cost of living is higher, salaries are often higher as well. Therefore, if you work in an expensive city, you can tend to demand a higher salary than in a smaller city or in the countryside.

But don't let company size be your sole guide. A smaller company may pay less, but may offer other benefits such as more flexible hours or a more family-like atmosphere.

Always negotiate your salary based on your knowledge of your skills, the industry and the company you work for. It is important that you feel comfortable with your salary and that your work is valued. The better you understand your strengths and the market, the better you can negotiate. A decent salary not only helps pay your bills and improve your quality of life, but also sends a clear message that your work is valuable.

Salary negotiation tips: how much should you ask for?

For each of us, the question arises at some point in our careers: how much salary should you ask for? It can be difficult and intimidating to answer this question. But with the right tips and strategies, salary negotiation can become a successful part of your interview process.

Preparation is the key

Preparation is the key to any successful salary negotiation. This means not only learning about the going salary in your field, but also knowing your own strengths and experience. Ask yourself: What do you bring to the table that could increase your salary? Can you point to relevant accomplishments or special skills that set you apart from other applicants? Try to put yourself in your potential employer's shoes and think about what skills and experience could be particularly useful to you.

Remember that during the salary negotiation you are not only sitting at the table with your potential employer, but also with yourself. You should be aware of what you personally consider to be an appropriate salary and where your lower limit lies. So decide before the interview what minimum amount you want to expect and stay consistent throughout the process.

The right time for salary negotiation

The timing of the salary negotiation is also critical. Usually, the best time to do this is after you receive a job offer, but before you accept it. At this point, the employer has already expressed that they want you on board, which gives you a stronger negotiating position.

However, you should not make any hasty demands. It is important not to push or try to catch the potential employer off guard. Diplomacy and negotiation skills are especially important here. Take the time to consider all aspects of the offer and make well-thought-out suggestions. Respectful dialogue at this stage can lead to better results.

Last but not least, don't forget that it's not all about the money. Other aspects such as flexible working hours, training opportunities or additional vacation days can also have a major impact on your overall job satisfaction. Therefore, consider in advance which factors are important to you personally and also take them into account when negotiating your salary.

As you can see, there's a lot to consider when it comes to the question: how much salary should you ask for? However, with sound preparation, the right timing and a holistic approach, you can ensure that you receive a fair and appropriate salary. Good luck with your next salary negotiation!

How do you figure out what an appropriate salary is?

That's a million-dollar question. It's not always easy to determine the 'right' pay rate, especially if you find yourself in a new industry or position. Many factors come into play here, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution that works for everyone. But don't worry, we've put together some useful strategies and resources that can help you determine an appropriate salary.

Use of salary calculators and market comparisons

There are many different tools and platforms on the Internet that can help you determine a rough salary range. Salary calculators like or Stepstone Gehaltsvergleich can be extremely useful to find out what people with similar positions and in similar industries earn. These platforms rely on self-reported data and market analysis to give you an idea of what you might expect. However, you should keep in mind that such figures are only averages and may not fully reflect your individual circumstances.

Market comparisons or so-called salary reports, such as those offered by HR consulting firms, also provide a comprehensive overview of current salaries paid in various industries, positions and company sizes. They provide a good orientation and can serve as a reference during salary negotiations.

Check with your personal network

Your personal network provides a valuable resource when determining what an appropriate salary might be. Ask colleagues, former co-workers, or even friends and family who work in similar positions or industries. It's often a taboo subject, but salary transparency can help you get a sense of what your work is worth.

You can also look for salary information at professional associations, unions, or in professional groups on LinkedIn. Many industries have special forums or discussion groups where salary issues are discussed. Again, apply here: Any information can help you get a better understanding of what to expect and what to charge.

Always remember that the 'appropriate' salary can depend on many factors, such as your level of education, work experience, location, and even the size and sector of your employer. It's important that you take these factors into consideration when doing your research, and that you don't jump the gun and make a salary request that is too low or too high. After all, your salary should adequately reflect the value of your work.

Avoid mistakes when asking for a salary

Just as important as knowing how much salary you should ask for is knowing and avoiding the typical mistakes we humans often make when it comes to salary negotiations. It is always good to prepare well beforehand and have some tips for successful negotiations at hand. Of course, you should not start the negotiation without having a clear idea of how much salary you can really ask for.

Know your worth and stay confident

Although it's often difficult, you can greatly improve your chances of earning a decent wage by knowing your own market value and appearing confident. Many make the mistake of settling for less than they are worth or believe silence is golden. It isn't! It is important to know and emphasize your skills and experience.

Surely you also know that you don't necessarily have to be the first to throw a number around. This gives you the opportunity to observe the reactions to your salary request and respond accordingly. But be confident and don't get flustered. You deserve to be paid fairly for your work and skills.

Do not forget the advantages and extra services

Another common mistake is to look only at the base salary when negotiating salaries and not consider the benefits and extras. These can make a considerable difference. For example, company pension schemes, subsidies for public transport or further training can represent a considerable value.

It is worth taking a closer look here and including these factors in the negotiations. Companies are often willing to make concessions on these points if there are bottlenecks in the pure salary. Therefore, additional benefits should always be part of your negotiation strategy.

In summary, there are many pitfalls when it comes to salary negotiations. Therefore, it is even more important to prepare well and appear confident. Know your value, stay confident, and don't forget about additional benefits and perks. With these tips, you'll have a much better chance of getting the salary you deserve. Good luck with your next negotiation!

Determining the market value of your salary

Okay, better get ready to negotiate your salary expectations now? Then it's time to determine the market value of your salary. Before we dive deeper, though, let me briefly explain what I mean by "market value." Basically, it's the amount you're worth in the job market. Sounds simple? But how exactly do you calculate this mysterious number? Don't worry, I'm here to help!

Identification of relevant labor market trends

To determine the exact market value of your salary, you must first determine what salary trends exist in the job market for your industry. This could be a challenge, but the Internet is full of reliable sources that provide labor market reports and salary comparisons. You could also talk to colleagues and acquaintances who hold similar positions. Remember, knowledge is power! The better you understand your field of work, the easier it will be to determine your true market value.

Other considerations may also play a role in determining your salary market value. New technologies, industry changes and other external factors can affect salary expectations. It's important to stay informed and factor these aspects into your salary decision.

Influence of your unique skills and competencies

Now that you've analyzed the general market trends, it's time to look at yourself. What do you bring to the table? Each of us has unique skills and competencies that may be in demand in the job market. Maybe you have a special qualification or are proficient in one or more foreign languages. Maybe you've had leadership responsibilities that give you a competitive edge?

No matter what skills you possess, they have the potential to translate into a higher salary. Think about how you can make your uniqueness stand out in the marketplace. Remember that what makes you stand out from the crowd is often what makes you valuable.

To determine your true market value, it is fundamental to consider both the current market situation and your personal skills and experience. The good thing is that you can learn and grow from this by understanding yourself and your value in your work environment. You are worth more than you think - and with a clear understanding of your market value, you can begin to demand the salary you truly deserve. Don't sell yourself short!

This is how your work experience influences how much salary you can ask for

It's great that you're still at it! The path to your desired salary is virtually peppered with the most diverse influences. One particularly crucial aspect is your professional experience. This is exactly what we will talk about in this section.

Your beginnings and the resulting salary claim

Do you still remember your very first job? Fresh out of training or university, ready to conquer the working world and full of enthusiasm. Your salary probably wasn't the best back then. But hey, that's totally normal! As a beginner in the working world, you didn't have much work experience yet, did you? The lack of experience is the reason why the salary for beginners is often lower.

However, as time goes on, things look different. You learn more, do more and, as we all know, you also make more mistakes. Through these experiences, you grow and with you your salary expectations. So as the years go by, the pendulum shifts towards a higher salary. Yay!

From work experience to sought-after expert and higher salary expectations

Imagine you just jump forward a few years. Maybe you've been working in your field for ten or even twenty years now. You've gained a lot of knowledge, worked on countless projects, and are a true professional at what you do. Maybe you've even picked up a few awards along the way. What does your salary expectation look like now, do you think?

Believe me, the longer you work in your field and the more expertise you build, the more valuable you become to employers. You've shown that you can commit to a company for the long term, find creative solutions and successfully complete projects. This makes you a sought-after resource in the job market and rapidly increases your salary expectations. Sounds great, doesn't it?

But remember, it's about much more than the number of years you've worked. The quality of your work experience is equally important. Have you continuously acquired new knowledge during these years? Have you grown with new challenges? And most importantly, have you been able to demonstrate your knowledge and achieve concrete results? All this influences how much salary you can demand!

The ultimate salary boost: from expert to specialist

However, you will only reach the final step on the salary ladder when you are not just an expert, but a specialist. As a specialist, you have very specific know-how that is rare in your professional field and is therefore in particularly high demand. Perhaps you have learned a rare programming language or are familiar with very specific industry standards. One thing is certain: As a specialist, you are in a position to demand particularly high salaries. That's the way the rabbit runs!

Do it now! Sit down, think about your professional experience and how high your current salary expectations are. Even though you may still have a long way to go to reach your desired salary - always remember: every experience you gain will bring you a little closer to your goal. Go for the bacon!

How much salary can you ask for in your industry?

In addition to your skill set and experience, your salary is also heavily influenced by your industry. Whether you work in marketing, IT, healthcare, or arts and culture, there are different areas you should be familiar with and pay attention to in order to know how much you can charge. So let's dive deep and find out how and where to start when it comes to determining your salary.

Industry-related salary differences in Germany

Many job seekers and professionals wonder how much they could or should earn compared to their peers. Comparisons within the industry are essential to determine if your salary is fair and if you could negotiate more. In addition, it can also be helpful to know and understand industry standards before you negotiate a salary.

Each sector has its own salary structures and levels. Some industries, such as finance, IT and consulting, are known for paying particularly high salaries. Others, such as retail, hospitality and care, often lag behind. While this is not always the case, we often see that salaries in such industries are below average.

Know market trends and industry standards

In order to have a solid basis for negotiation, it is important that you keep yourself informed about the latest salary trends in your industry. It is also a good idea to know what other companies in your industry are paying. There are many online platforms that offer salary benchmarking. They provide you with an overview of salaries in different professions and industries and can give you a benchmark for your salary negotiations.

But it's not just salaries that can vary widely depending on what industry you work in. Other perks and benefits can also vary greatly. Things like meal vouchers, travel reimbursements, company pension plans or even training opportunities can add value for you and influence the salary you ask for.

So at the end of any salary negotiation, it's important that you know your value and what others in your industry and position are earning. Don't just be guided by the numbers, but make sure you also consider the full range of benefits and opportunities that could be offered to you. Salary is important, but it's not the only factor that matters for a fulfilling work life. Let's work together to make sure we all get the salary we deserve - in any industry!

Negotiation tactics for a higher salary

You've done all your homework, researched salaries in your industry, recognized your own value, and decided to ask for a higher salary. But where do you start? How do you bring up the subject? And how can you make your negotiations work in your favor? Here are some useful negotiation tactics to help you get what you deserve.

Entry into the negotiations

Before you bring up the subject of salary, you need to find the right time. It might be tempting to bring it up right away in an interview or at your first office action. But it's always better to wait until you have a job offer in hand. Then you have a stronger negotiating position and the company has already decided that they want you. At that point, they are more willing to accommodate you.

It is also essential how you start the conversation. Don't talk about salary first. Instead, show your commitment and enthusiasm for the role and the company. When you start the negotiation, you can then come back to how your skills and experience add value to the company. This way, you won't just be perceived as someone who wants more money, but as someone who is worth it.

Conduct negotiations

When the time comes and you start talking about salary, be prepared for resistance. Companies often have budgets and salary ranges that they must meet. So when you ask for more, you need to have good reasons. Be prepared to justify your demands. Emphasize your experience, skills and accomplishments and how they can contribute to the company's success.

Don't just negotiate base pay. Consider the total compensation package, including bonuses, stock options, retirement plans, flexible working conditions and other benefits. Sometimes a better overall package can be worth more than a higher base salary.

Finally, be prepared to negotiate. You may receive a counteroffer or be asked to justify your proposal. If this happens, remain calm and professional. Keep in mind that this is a business conversation and should not be taken personally. Hold on to your value and be willing to compromise if necessary.

Negotiating can be challenging, but if you prepare well and go into the conversation confidently, you can greatly improve your chances of getting the salary you deserve. Think of it as another skill you can learn in your professional development. Good luck with your next salary negotiation!

Salary expectations: How do you articulate what you want to ask for?

In the ever-changing job markets, it's essential to be aware of your salary expectations and know exactly how to formulate them. How much do you want to earn? What exactly is it that you want and how should you express yourself? Here, we'll figure out together exactly how this works with formulating your salary expectations. Confusing, isn't it?

Know and assess your own value

You are fantastic and have a lot to offer. Of course you do! But how do you get your ideas across? How do you come across clearly without scaring off the employer? Pick up your brain and take stock of your skills. Do you have special skills that make you attractive? Or maybe even skills that are rare? The point here is to reflect and celebrate your personal market value. It's as if you were your own PR agency and you were your own best product.

You must be absolutely convinced of your offer and shake the working world according to your value. Do some expert research and see what your market value actually is! Have conversations with Mini-Me's who hold similar jobs and dare to make a realistic comparison. But please remember, always stay realistic.

The optimal formulation of your salary expectations

There it is, the huge question - how do you get your salary across? First of all, think about your minimum! Try to determine the minimum salary you need to live a comfortable life. Otherwise, frustration is inevitable and you want to avoid that. Use this number as a starting point, but remember to always ask for a little more. That way, there's always room for negotiation!

When negotiating, always remain friendly and professional. Don't go to the barricades just because your idea wasn't accepted right away. The best solutions can often be found in a calm and open discussion atmosphere. And remember to consider the overall package of flexibility, work-life balance and other benefits.

Employers will appreciate it if you have precise ideas and can communicate them in an appreciative but firm manner. Someone who is aware of his or her own strengths and can communicate them comes across as competent and reliable.

What do you need to look out for when negotiating your salary?

Wondering what to look for when negotiating your salary? You've come to the right place! We have the best tips and tricks for you. A salary negotiation is not only about getting the highest possible amount. It's also about presenting and conveying your own demands and achievements in the right way. Be authentic and precise. Let's take a closer look.

You are your best investment

First, you should know yourself well. What are your strengths? What skills do you have? How much experience do you have in your field? And most importantly, what is your work worth? When negotiating your salary, you need to be confident and be able to present your skills convincingly. Show the company why you deserve what you ask for. So don't be too modest, but show what you can do! It's also helpful to find out about average salaries in your industry beforehand. This will give you a good basis to justify your salary request.

Also, keep in mind that your salary is not only measured in euros. Also consider the other benefits the company offers you. Maybe there is an excellent company kindergarten, regular training or very flexible working hours. All of these also have value and should be taken into account during negotiations.

The art of negotiation

In a salary negotiation, it's not just the content that matters, but also how you approach the entire process. It's about conveying that you value your work and are convinced that your salary claim is justified. If you are convinced yourself, you can convince others more easily.

Prepare well for the interview. Think about how you will present your skills and perhaps practice the interview in advance with a friend or family member. Always remain friendly and professional. This shows that you take not only your salary, but also your behavior and attitude seriously.

Be prepared to compromise. Maybe your company thinks your demands are too high. But maybe there is an intermediate solution that suits both sides. For example, you could propose a bonus if you reach certain goals, or you could ask for more vacation days. There are many possibilities and often the negotiable room for maneuver is not as large as you think.

Now you have many useful tips to prepare for your next salary negotiation. Good luck! And don't be afraid to know and claim your worth! You are worth it!

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About the Author: Sven Emmrich

Sven Emmrich avatar
Sven is a business graduate, DEKRA-certified coach and passionate entrepreneur. As CEO of Karrierehelden, he has been writing for many years on all career topics such as job applications and job changes, money and salary negotiations, leadership skills and management issues, psychology and personality development, communication and conflict management, self-confidence and entrepreneurship, and the line between work and private life with work-life balance... or much more work-life integration. Sven has coached over 1,000 academics, professionals and executives with his team and is happy to help you too.
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