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How To Set Salary Expectations In Light Of New Equal Pay Laws

With New York City’s new Employee Protection laws set to go into effect next week, you may be thinking about how this will change future salary negotiations during interviews. Since a potential employer can’t use your past salary to determine your new one (unless you disclose it), you’ll need to go into each interview prepared with knowledge of your worth in the market!

As a financial services professional, it’s important to do your homework on how to approach discussing your prospective salary. “Even though an employer can’t use your salary history to determine how much they will compensate you, they will still want to know what your salary expectations look like,” says Paul Herman, a Senior Managing Director in The Execu|Search Group’s Financial Services division. “Researching where your qualifications put you in this competitive field will serve as a huge asset in getting you a salary that is competitive with market trends.”

Before your next interview, here are four ways to prepare for future salary negotiations:

Provide a range

With the new employee laws, potential employers can no longer ask for your past salary. However, they can ask what you expect to make with your next opportunity. When you get asked “what does your target salary range look like” by an interviewer, Paul recommends providing a range that aligns with what you would be willing to accept based on your research. “When doing so, it’s important to provide a range that doesn’t exceed market trends but also doesn’t undersell your work,” he says. “If you don’t do your research and give an employer a number that is too high, they may think you’re unrealistic. However, aim too low and you risk selling yourself short.”

Keep company size in mind

There are plenty of variables to keep in mind when thinking over salary negotiations, such as whether you have acquired in-demand certifications or a proficiency with specific financial services systems. However, one thing for you to also consider when deciding on a new target salary is the size of the company you’re interviewing for. While you may be exclusively interviewing for VP roles, for example, Paul says it’s important to remember that a VP at a smaller firm can be compensated much differently than a VP at a larger firm. “At a larger firm, a VP could have a more specific area of expertise to oversee as opposed to one at a smaller firm, where a VP’s oversight could be much more expansive,” says Paul. “When you take this into account, it’s important to judge how the company’s size could determine your compensation.”

Talk with your peers

Discussing salaries with your peers in the industry (but not at your current company) can sometimes be seen as a faux pas, but it’s a great place to start when you’re trying to determine what your next salary should look like. “If you aren’t sure of your market value, talk to someone who has a comparative role and background to yours,” says Paul. “You can get a better grasp on what your salary should look like if you get a second, third, and even fourth opinion from people with similar qualifications to yours.”

Consult with an expert

If you’re stumped on how to decide what the best salary range for you looks like after talking with your peers, reaching out to an industry expert can help you make a more definite decision. “If you’re working with a recruiter, place trust in them when it comes to determining your targeted salary,” advises Paul. “They have an expansive set of knowledge when it comes to what salaries look like across the industry, so they can advise you on what to realistically expect to make with the positions you’re interviewing for.”

The Execu|Search Group has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided in this article. If you have any questions about these laws, please reach out to your legal counsel.