Surely there is no such thing as earning too much money, right?
After all, almost every career advice platform advises us to optimise our potential at all times, whether this is through the comparison of salaries between job offers or the use of an existing wage as leverage during a negotiation with new employers. Either way, the emphasis is on negotiating as high a salary as possible, regardless of the responsibilities that are associated with a chosen job role or the overall value of the proposition in question.
See Also: How to get a Salary Increase
Recent studies suggest that this approach may be flawed, however, with an estimated nine out of ten Britons adamant that there is a tipping point at which the demands of the workplace outweigh the benefits of their salary. A further two-third of respondents even claimed that they would happily accept a pay cut in order to enjoy a more relaxed schedule and improved work-life balance, underlining the age-old value that while money may be able to procure a good time, it cannot buy true happiness.
Before the majority of your scoff and see if you can scrape together enough change to keep the electricity running until pay day, it is important to consider these findings in context. In terms of bare numbers, for example, the average person wants to earn a minimum of £24,270 in order to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. The survey also reveals that wages in excess of £37,396 carry additional responsibilities and workloads that may impinge on your work-life balance, which suggest that while there is an ideal salary for every employee it may not necessarily be the highest on offer.
Are you convinced yet? If not, let’s explore the concept further and understand the steps that are required to determine the ideal salary for you and your personal circumstances.
1. Determine the Relevant Salary for Your Specific Job Role and Location
Let’s start with the basics, as it is important to understand exactly how much you should be earning. Whether you are appraising your existing earnings or applying for a brand new role, there is little point in attempting to cultivate a positive work-life balance if you are not being paid enough to support your lifestyle!
This is determined by two central factors, namely the precise job role that you undertake and the geographical region you are located in. While it may seem a little unfair that your salary is at least partially influenced by the area in which you live, this is due to the changeable cost of living and the fact that unit prices fluctuate between individual regions. So while the average Westminster employee pocketed an estimated £619 per week during 2014, for example, those in Wakefield earned just £392 during each seven day period.
While other factors will also create small variations in salary, these are the two most impactful considerations. So once you have dismissed the appealing but ultimately fanciful idea of moving all the way to West London or enduring a two hour daily commute, the next step is to compare your existing or prospective job salary against local and national averages. You will need to use a comprehensive market analysis tool to achieve the best results, this handy salary checker is one of the most accurate and easiest to use.
While the data that you acquire may be either satisfying or completely soul-destroying, it enables you to make informed decisions about your future. From here, you can account for variable factors that are personal to you and your circumstances and negotiate your salary from a foundation of confidence.
2. Account for Your Own Personal Circumstances
Once you have determined the industry standard salary for a specific role and region, this information will serve as the focal point for any negotiations. It is important that you are not consumed by greed and the lure of the mighty pound alone, however, as while this may help you to drive a harder bargain, it may also bring challenges in terms of workload, responsibilities and soaring stress levels.
As an employee, it is crucial that you add value to a hiring firm and justify the salary that you negotiate. Similarly, it is important that your job role offers reciprocal value, both in terms of remuneration and the quality of life that you will be able to enjoy outside of work. While this may be less of a concern for young professionals with no dependants, minimal outgoings and burning ambition, employees with a more challenging set of personal circumstances must balance their monthly pay check against the demands of a role and their ability to fulfil them.
If you are a parent, for example, it is beneficial to work for a company whose infrastructure supports flexible working directives. Whether this is in the form of a job share or a working schedule that is tailored to suit the needs of your family, this empowers you to give your all to the role without compromising on your duties as a parent. Otherwise, one of two things will happen: either you will fail to meet employer expectations and satisfy the criteria for the role, or you will sacrifice time out of work and may even need to account for additional financial costs such as childcare.
Either way, this will impact negatively on your work-life balance and may even eat into your carefully negotiated salary hike. This is why you must always consider a salary offer alongside the job specification, before determining whether or not the role is suitable for you and your circumstances (and vice-versa, of course). If you are unsure about aspects of the role or working hours, just make a note and confront the issue directly during the interview stage, while accounting for any additional costs that may be incurred.
3. Think Beyond the Bottom Line
Finally, it is important to note there is more to a job offer than the bottom line salary. This has been underlined by some of Hollywood’s most famous actors, who have boosted their earnings and career prospects by accepting a smaller initial wage in exchange for a percentage of the revenue generated by a specific film. Jack Nicholas (Batman), Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump) and Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible) have achieved this, and while you may be dealing with slightly smaller salaries the principle remains the same.
We have already touched on how an employer and job role needs to offer value, and this extends beyond flexible working hours and directives. More specifically, you may find that a lower paid job comes with a rich and diverse package of bonuses, from health insurance and gym membership reductions to the option of buying cut-price shares. These may not only improve the quality of your life, but also lead to annual savings or gains that outstrip and deficiencies in bottom line salary.
It is increasingly common practice for companies to offer lower salaries in exchange for additional employee benefits, and this has been driven largely by the demands of workers themselves. These benefits often have a financial value of between 20% and 40% of your bottom line salary, and this is no small amount when you consider that they may also improve your standard of health, help you to get fitter and afford you the opportunity to sample the risk-reward rollercoaster of the financial marketplace!
To explore this myriad of options you need to speak openly to the employer, determining the full employment package and bottom line salary before making a final call. You may even benefit from breaking out the calculator to determine the financial value of specific bonuses and features, so that you can estimate the total value of the job offer on the table and the positive impact that it may have on your lifestyle. They say that size isn’t everything, and this is especially true when it comes to bottom line salary offers in the modern age!
With these points in mind, you can hopefully avoid the tipping point by securing a salary that truly reflects both the demands of a job role and the value that you offer an as individual. Like a good trapeze artist, the secret lies in striking an ideal balance while it is also important to look beyond the appeal of the almightly pound.