How much should you get paid?

It is impossible to get an exact answer to this question. But to help you make sure you get the right compensation for the job that you are going to do, we are going to guide you into asking for the salary you want.

After an interview, the interviewer might ask you ‘how much are you expecting to get paid?’ This can be a very tricky question, because you might give them a figure and it might be too low or it can be too high and actually lead you to lose the job. So how do you get around this question?

Your salary is based on your qualifications and experience. Even something as small as fixing electronic devices for a small shop in your hometown can be considered experience. As you are studying or right after you have graduated, it is recommended that you try to take on a few part-time jobs so you can build your CV.

When you are asked the big salary question ‘how much are you expecting to get paid?’ your first response to this answer should be ‘market related’.


What does market related mean?

Market related means that you are not really giving the interviewer an amount, instead you are asking them to pay you according to how much people with your qualifications and experience are being paid.

It is highly recommended that you go with this statement, as it saves you from putting yourself in a hole that might lead you to losing the job offer. But, market related salaries can be too low, so what do you do?

This is the point where you sit down and do your research. Use the website to see an estimation of how much people in your line of field are getting paid. The website will help you get an estimated salary depending on how qualified you are, as well as experience.

Another way to get around the question, is by calculating your expenses, include transport, groceries, your credit card amounts, clubbing expenses or for those random expenses. This will give you an idea of how much you believe you are worth.

Asking for a salary is very difficult, but it helps to know where you stand and where you are going. Sometimes salaries may also differ even though you are in the same field. For instance, Engineering is a broad discipline with different types of Engineering. Whether it is Electrical, Mechanical, Civil or Mining, the salary will differ for each field, because although it is under the same discipline, each has its own value and requirements.

Are you looking for a job? Visit the Job Mail website for available jobs in Engineering, or register your CV to find a job in South Africa.

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6 Responses

  1. Heinrich says:

    I don’t fully agree with this.

    Why not give a straight amount from the beginning. Not be be over-eager or arrogant, but to show your worth. If you have done research and compare with other professionals in the same industry with the same experience that should give you a better estimate of what you should get.

    Alternatively, why not ask them what they are willing to offer from the beginning, then you won’t have to waste time by going in for the interview.

    It’s not difficult, it is about negotiating. It is a sales game. Always canvas and sell yourself.

  2. Mandlovandile Zamisa says:

    Thanks for sharing this and honestly speaking I’ve been running away from this question during the interview. Next time I will know how to answer it. Please do supply me with more interview tips as I’m still job searching

  3. Tri-zenia says:

    Hi I started working at Occupational Therapy and my 3 months is almost due then wee going to descuss my pay raise after the 3 months I’m a Receptionist didn’t have experience. I Learned on the job I passed Grade 11 and failed Matric. I did a Computer course that’s also helping me more do understand the job I’m doing. Other work qualifications I have is Online enquiries, Survey Data Capturer and Promoting. I ujst wondering atleast hoe much I must get payed cause my pay is very low now.

  4. musa says:

    im working as stock clerk and i have passed matric but i dont have more qualification i learn the job here and now i put more effort and push my self to know peoples job to give my self some opportunities of getting another job but now i dont know how much should i get paid as a stock clerk

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Hi Musa – Your best bet is to find out what other people in your profession are getting paid, then you’ll be able to determine the market related salary average.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Yolanda for sharing this information with us, one of my friends has called for an interview and he has been asked this question but unfortunately he didn’t make it. I have S4 National Diploma in Electrical Engineering ( Heavy Current )… I wish you should enlighten me with some of the tips that will help me making it happens.

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