What Competitive Pay Is and How to Negotiate It

If a company wants to be successful, it needs to hire professionals and pay them decently. But what is a decent salary, and how can you qualify for one? What are the factors that will allow you to claim for a competitive payroll? How should you prepare for an interview to get the desired remuneration? And, finally, what are the obstacles that can affect your success in getting a decent job?

In this article, we will answer these questions and also explain how to negotiate a worthy payment.  

Defining Competitive Payment

A competitive payroll is equal to or higher than the standard salary in the industry or remuneration for similar jobs. Moreover, the term refers to a particular geographical area. The word "competitive" here means that such payroll can attract a qualified specialist and compete with other labor market proposals.

However, competitive payroll often means more than just a monthly payment. To retain personnel, organizations offer benefits other than "base salary" –– the amount stated in an employment contract. Some companies provide their employees with free language courses, fitness, or yoga classes, and others buy them laptops, prepaid mobiles, and other equipment. Some companies cover medical insurance and organize transfers home –– these benefits vary across the size, industry, location, and managerial style.   

Factors that Influence the Payroll Amount

Before finding the balance between the salary you want and the remuneration, you can get, you probably want to check what influences it. Below you will find four factors that the human resource and personnel departments consider before announcing annual or monthly payments.

Job Title and Industry

In general, software developers earn more than personal assistants –– do you agree? Yes, and no. If you are a PA to a CEO of an IT giant, you will probably earn more than a Python developer in a small web design agency. But, if the two companies are more or less similar, developers usually make more. Another point to consider is lucrative industries. In our example, the personal assistant of a flower store owner can be paid less than the assistant to the general director of an oil company. So, the industry is one of the essential factors to consider in your career.

State and City

An office manager in Texas will probably get a different salary compared to a colleague from New York. Even within one state, financial analysts in small towns will earn less than those who live in big cities –– partially because businesses make more and can spend more in cities. So, check various locations on job boardings to get an idea of how much you as a specialist can cost. Moving to another city for more funds can also be an option –– especially if you start your career.

Skills and Years of Experience

When you have just graduated from college, and this is your first job application, employers consider you to have no experience –– which is true. Even if your GPA is 4.0, your skills are mainly theoretical. So, you will probably be offered entry-level jobs that are paid moderately. However, with every year, your level of expertise grows, you learn to complete tasks faster, requiring fewer resources, etc. This is what is called professionalism. HR specialists sometimes use the terminology Junior, Middle, or Senior –– to reflect the level of expertise.


In LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and other job boards, we can see how long ago a vacancy was posted and how many people applied for it. This is valuable information for understanding labor supply –– current competition in the industry, city, or enterprise. If you also settle job notifications for a particular job title and city, you will understand the labor demand. Matching the demand and supply, learning the requirements for each position, you will know how to prepare for the interview, test tasks, and future work.

Negotiating Payroll: Steps to Follow

Calculate your minimum financial requirements

Start with all required payments that you have to cover every month. Include monthly rent and utilities, mortgages, plan for car maintenance and gas, student loan, mobile expenses and allow funds for food. Then add non-obligatory costs like sports and entertainment. Consider also coffees-to-go, snacks, going to the cinema, Netflix, and YouTube subscriptions. 

Also, be prepared to add medical insurance and retirement savings if your employer doesn't cover those in your contract. Research to understand the average payroll for this position and compare it against your needs.   

Give arguments

Being polite during an interview is a must, but this doesn't mean you can't stand your ground and explain your vision concerning higher remuneration. Recruiters can decline your first proposal, but try to convince them and listen to you. And, to motivate them to change their minds, you have to give arguments and be confident while pitching. This way, the recruiting managers will have to justify their refusal, agree to your conditions, or offer a compromise. Future promotions and payroll raise together with health insurance coverage and annual bonuses can be a decent option for you. 

Improve your skills and stay informed

Even after you have accepted a job offer and negotiations succeeded, keep an eye on the current situation in the labor market. Look through job listings and check the skills required. If your employer arranges or is ready to pay for training courses, use this opportunity to gain experience, obtain additional certificates, and grow professionally. This will allow you to ask for a promotion, bonus, or more competitive salary in some time.


Getting a decent salary is crucial for any professional, but obtaining it may not be that easy. You have to understand your minimum monthly expenses and get prepared to motivate your proposal if the announced salary is too small for you. Learn how you can be valued before applying for a position and which factors can oppose you in taking this advantage. 

We hope our advice will help you get the best salary. Good luck!


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