Wednesday, July 8, 2015

6 Things Employers Wish Veterans Understood About Salary (Part 1)

Orion Navy NCO and SNCO Recruiter Sultan Camp recently published a blog post for Every Veteran Hired that explores six things employers wish veterans understood about salary expectations. Check out this excerpt below to see the first three reasons. Visit Every Veteran Hired for the full article.

First of all, if you’re looking for an article that will tell you that you begin the process of figuring out salary based on what you’re “worth,” read no further. This post is written for those military professionals who really want to know in a frank, candid way how to handle money talk in their transition from the military.

Most service members have never had to negotiate their compensation and benefits, and those who may have done so aren’t familiar with the current industry trends. So the purpose of this article is to share the six things you need to know about negotiating your salary so you don’t blow that dream job opportunity as you hang the uniform up.

1. Don’t You Dare Start with “As Long as I Can Maintain My Current Standard of Living…”

One of the first questions I ask as a candidate recruiter is “How much are you looking to make?” And, without a shadow of a doubt, the most frequent answer is “The same amount that I make right now.”

While this gives me a starting point as a recruiter to determine which jobs may be a good fit, it generally means that the job seeker has some homework to do. For some reason, a lot of folks like to have trained, accredited professionals do everything except give them an accurate assessment of their financial picture. This is an absolute must-do as you transition.

You can get one at no cost at your local FFSC if you’re in the Navy or at your local military Family Service Center and save the $500+ that civilians pay for a similar service. This takes the guesswork out of your salary range, as well as your insurance and benefits needs, especially with regard to the minimum levels needed. It gives you a practical “walk away” figure that will enable you to refuse an offer because you know that you won’t be able to make ends meet. Generally, I suggest that only you (and your spouse) know this figure.

2. Companies Don’t Care About What You Think You’re Worth So Much as What They’ve Budgeted for the Position

With the abundance of resources on the Web today, there’s absolutely no excuse for not knowing what the average salary ranges are for your given industry and your level of expertise. As a military candidate recruiter, I can provide “real-world” insight because I know what employers are willing to pay for candidates with a certain type of background. However, if you’re conducting your job search on your own, you need to know these figures.

As a matter of fact, a lot of online job applications mandate the salary field be filled out (and no, “negotiable” is not allowed). Don’t start with those military compensation calculators because that’s putting the cart before the horse. Instead, start with websites such as Glassdoor, Payscale or to find out what companies are paying for your type of position.

3. Understand the Dynamics of the Local Labor Market If You (or Your Spouse) Don’t Want to Move

By this I mean that Economics 101 applies here. High supply of military labor ÷ limited jobs = significantly less salary.

Not so long ago, when the defense budget was very well-funded, jobs in high military concentration areas paid very well. The multitude of jobs and high wages made transitioning into the civilian sector a painless process.

We’ve all heard of that person who left the uniform on Friday and went to work the next Monday in a suit making twice as much. These days, with a mandate by the general population to curb federal spending, not only are the salaries in those previously lucrative contracting jobs greatly reduced; the number of job opportunities themselves have dwindled.

Service members who are transitioning and will soon be job seekers acknowledge that they know they’ll be paid less in areas such as Hampton Roads, San Diego, Jacksonville, etc., but I believe that many don’t understand the full ramification of this (see point #1). Ironically, many of us would avoid high-cost-of-living areas when it comes to our next duty station to go where we would be compensated in a more comfortable fashion.

Click here to read more from Every Veteran Hired.

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