On salaries, daily rates and value
There’s been a glorious debacle lately in the Romanian social media about industry average salary, roles and how for some people ask what others see “outrageously high” salaries
I can’t help getting carried away in the discussion and here’s my two cents on this matter:
1) comparison is flawed. All East Europe negotiates net salaries (after tax) while the US, UK and for all I am aware of most wester nations mask up outrageously high tax by giving people the illusion of high gain. Gain 40K in Belgium. That’s about 32k in your pocket after tax.
2) what some people see as low salary — others will be glad to receive and sometimes they may even do a better job at it. Need to strike a balance here. A multicultural environment has taught me that is many cases enthusiasm is inversely proportional with the gain. It’s the newbie effect. Not few have been the cases when I’ve seen Romanians, Bulgarian, Indian (even some Syrian refugees.. yes.. some are very very well qualified) that come up on what’s a small salary compared to the average. They are filled with the enthusiasm of somebody who normally would be gaining much less in the homeland and now their gratitude filled heart for “catching God by his leg” pushes their desire to learn, work and achieve much higher than the average and even well paid.
3) Last but probably most important. If there is one factor that determines what you are paid is the sponsor’s appreciation towards your work. It’s true, for many domains not even sponsors know how much they should pay and they rely on “industry average” But end of the day whatever you are asking for needs to reflect in the value that you are bringing. Same work will mean a lot to one client and very little to other. Some things may be commodity for a client some may be very niche. Getting hired, getting a contract, is all a matter of how well you grasp the exact value that you can bring to your future partner (employer or client) by having you in.
Coming back to the Romanian debate… value is easy to measure in Social Media. Obviously there’s various roles and functions but normally ask yourself: what will my daily activity do? Pump up sales? With how much? Drive brand awareness? What’s the goal of the client? Some aspects are very quantifiable (think CPAs, CPLs big Ponzi-like spiderwebs companies build to get products across to the clients). Some others are fuzzy (although I know perfectly capable people who can demonstrate the direct relation between the money they spend and the results totally overlooking aspects like general state of the market, readiness, or even pure luck).
Is your job a business driving or business supporting function? Value, value, value. How much value do you bring?
Just a few questions to ask yourselves right before you enter the next negotiation.