If you are looking for a new job and keeping a close eye on vacancy databases and websites, there is a fair chance you will regularly come across the term ‘competitive salary’. But what does that mean exactly?

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What is a competitive salary?

A competitive salary is a salary that is in line with the market. In other words: a job with a competitive salary means you receive a monthly income similar to the average salary most other professionals in your position and sector receive.

How can I determine the competitive salary for my job?

Although having a ‘competitive’ salary may sound reassuring, it is often difficult to know precisely what that means. If you have no experience of a specific job or in a particular sector, you obviously won’t know what professionals in your field earn on average.

Read our free Salary Guide

Found an exciting job vacancy, but want to find out whether the salary fulfils your requirements? Our Salary Guide might provide some clarity. It contains average salaries in finance, IT and admin support. Once you know what these sectors’ competitive salaries are, you will be in a much stronger position when negotiating your own salary.

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Can I improve on my competitive salary?

The fact that a job vacancy mentions a competitive salary does not mean there is no room for negotiation. During the job interview, you can often still secure a higher salary. If you are by far the best candidate for the job, and if the employer really wants you in their team, you will often be able to negotiate your salary.

The same applies if you are offered a job for which few people applied and that pays a relatively low salary. To boost your salary, use the fact that you were one of only few applicants to your advantage. If there are plenty of other suitable candidates, you may not improve your chances by asking for too much.

Should you negotiate your salary?

If the competitive salary on offer is actually fair, it might be better to accept it. Let the circumstances determine whether or not you try to negotiate a higher salary. Remember that in salary negotiations, it is not only the gross salary that is important but also any fringe benefits.

Consider whether a salary negotiation is appropriate by looking at the number of applicants for the position and how excited the employer seems about having you on their team. If there are many other suitable candidates or if you feel the employer is considering other candidates as well, it might be better not to negotiate your salary.

What does a competitive salary look like?

To keep up to date with current salary levels, the latest recruitment trends, the best tools to attract top talent and much more, download Robert Half’s Salary Guide 2021 for your sector. This will ensure your search for top talent or a new job will be a success.

How much should I earn — or offer?

Explore in an accessible and interactive way everything you need to know about starting salaries for a wide range of jobs and the latest labour market trends for more various positions in administrative, HR and office support, finance and accounting, IT and project and interim management.

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Learn from Robert Half’s expert recruiters so you can build a talented team of employees or advance your career. Operating in over 300 locations worldwide, with recruitment offices in Belgium and Luxembourg, including our recruitment agency in Wavre, Robert Half can provide you with assistance including finance and accounting recruitment, where and when you need it.