Which Job Should I Pick? How To Do a Salary Comparison

by on August 16th, 2012

If you are on the hunt for a new career, it is vital that you know how to do a salary comparison between job opportunities. How can you decide which job is preferable between two options at two different companies that offer two different salaries? The decision might not always be as simple as picking the one that seems to pay a higher number at first glance. The decision could be much more complicated than it initially appears; these are a few of the factors you should consider.

Does the Job Title Matter?

Similar jobs can go by very different names, depending on the company that is offering the job. For instance, if you are looking for a job that requires you to have skills in writing, editing and public affairs, that job may be listed as a Communications Specialist, a Content Writer or Editor, a Brand Specialist or one of many other titles. Depending on the title and the exact way the job duties are listed, the actual salary could differ even if the requirements are virtually the same.

City versus Rural Salaries

When comparing salaries you also must take a look at cost of living in the cities in which the jobs are located. For instance, one job may pay $50,000, which would be great in a place with a low cost of living, but may not be adequate for living expenses in a more metropolitan area. You should be very careful to find out the cost of basic expenses in the neighborhood you plan to take the job, such as food, rent, utilities, taxes, and so on, and include these factors in your comparison.

How Qualified are You?

With some jobs, you also must consider the amount of education or training you have in comparison to other applicants, and how that will impact salary considerations. If one person has a master’s degree, while another has a bachelor’s degree, it is likely that the first individual will command a higher salary for the same job. Take a close look at the requirements of any job that you are applying for and see what minimum and maximum educational or experience requirements could be affecting your salary offers.

It’s the Details That Make the Difference

Another factor that figures into salary comparisons is the perks of the job being offered. For instance, if you work for a restaurant and get all the meals and drinks you want for free, that should be considered as you decide whether or not the salary is the best you can get in that kind of job. If you are considering a restaurant job that gives you all your meals for free, but pays a dollar per hour less than one that requires you to pay for your meals, then you have to decide if the difference is worth it to you or not if all other factors are the same. Take a close look at any benefits, including medical and retirement, and determine their value to you. This can make a huge difference in what your salary is actually worth.

What’s In It for Me?

The bottom line is that you cannot judge a salary offer by the mere numbers on the page indicating what you would take home every week. You must figure in things like cost of living, related expenses, benefits offered and so on, or the salary comparison will not be accurate.

Today’s post is contributed by Jordan Traeger. Jordan is a freelance writer who studied Commerce at La Trobe University and has worked extensively as an insurance broker at short term medical insurance quotes.

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