New Job – It’s all about the money!!! …or is it?
For many people a new job means a rise in salary and status but in the formative years of your career, a focus on salary can be a big turnoff for employers and the kiss of death in an interview.
I work exclusively with Building Surveyors and Quantity Surveyors but the same rings true for other professions and recently I have spent a lot of time working with job seekers to discover what they really need to focus on to reach their long term goals.
Why do we work?
One of the major reasons that we head in to work each day is to make money so as to put food on the table, a roof over our heads and some money in our pockets. In a market like we have seen in recent years’ salaries have been rising and you are told by the market that your skills are in demand and in shortage. This all leads to the idea that you can demand a higher salary and in some cases this is true but you have to remember one vital question… Are you worth it?
Are you worth it?
I have worked with a number of Graduate Surveyors recently who kicked off their new job wish list with “I am looking for a salary of £X thousand”. I’ll admit, I cringe when I hear this. It’s commendable to want to progress but it is easy to lose sight of your value. If you are a graduate Surveyor you are most likely working towards your APC so as to reach Chartered status. You will certainly be an asset to a company at this stage but your experience is limited by your time in the industry and the responsibilities you have been given. It is also worth remembering that if your company has a good APC program then there is a considerable amount of time that needs investing in you to get you those initials after your name, MRICS.
Don’t let the £££ push you off track
In the last year I have worked with a number of job seekers who have been pushed off track by focussing on money. Remember your goals and your direction. If you want to specialise in a particular sector or type of company then don’t forget how important it is to stay true to this path. A Building Surveyor I worked with recently had achieved a great salary working within the Housing sector… the problem was that he didn’t enjoy the work and had always wanted to specialise in the Commercial sector. When searching for new opportunities for him we were knocked back by many companies who said that whilst he had great experience it was not relevant to them. Whilst we found him a great job eventually it came with a salary reduction and set him back a number of years. He himself put this down to bad advice and following the £££.
Where should I focus?
The wish list No.1 that I love to hear is progression and IMHO this is a good place to start. Progression delivers experience and experience is what employers will pay for. A company that pays well but cannot offer progression give you a great short-term gain but in the long term those people who opted for a realistic salary within a company that trained and developed them as a Surveyor will very soon surpass the others’ achievements.
It is also often fed back through employers that an attractive job seeker is one who is motivated to progress. These are the people that they want to employ, will devote training too and will ultimately reward for their increased value to the business.
What’s the next step?
The help for which I receive most thanks is that which guides a job seeker to define and reach their goals. A truly specialist recruiter should be able to help you with this or perhaps a lecturer or contact in the industry who has been through the same process. Either way, your value to an employer is what will drive your salary and if your motivation can be directed towards progress then you will get there.
As always these are just my thoughts and I would love to hear your comments. You may have had a different experience or found success through a different approach and I would love to hear about it.
I am the founding Director of HD Surveyors Ltd, specialising in bespoke job searches for Quantity Surveyors and Building Surveyors across London and the South East. Feel free to get in touch if you are considering a move in the future. I would love to help.