Know Your Worth: How to Value Yourself in the Job Market

August 8, 2022 Employer Insights Article Written By: Andrea Prisha

Whether you’re negotiating a raise for your current role or discussing your new salary for that exciting new job you’re about to accept – it’s a good idea to know what you’re worth before you put a number forward. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

If you have no idea where to start looking, then here are 4 ways you can determine what you’re really worth in the job market:


1. Check Job Advertisements

As long as you have an account with a  job board, you should be able to view the salary range of the positions you view.

Those of you new to the workforce would probably make the mistake of searching and comparing jobs just by their job title because you haven’t realized how some titles like “Account Executive” are used for both accountants and sales account managers alike. Confusing, right? No worries, you can use filters on job boards.

Filter for years of experience, industry, and job function. The more specific you are, the more accurate the scope of salaries that will show up. Also, you’d want to read through the job description to determine if you would be required to manage any headcounts because management positions typically pay more than single contributor/independent roles.

Once you’ve controlled for all these factors, the range of salaries within the jobs that show up should be a realistic number for you to ask for.


2. Speak to HR Professionals

Who better to ask than the people who determine salary ranges for a living, right?

Especially the professionals who have worked or are currently working in compensation & benefits departments because they have the most intimate knowledge of the way salaries are calculated for different jobs. But don’t ask them for a specific number you should ask for!

Instead, ask them for a general salary range that corresponds with your current job function and position level. This is a better strategy because every HR professional’s opinion on salary ranges differs based on the way each department is structured and salary policies in the company. In case their opinion is biased,  do ask for a range to realistically expect and reality shouldn’t be too far off from what they tell you.


3. Look Up Salary Reports

There are various salary reports released annually by research firms, recruitment agencies, and job boards that cover various industries and common job functions. If your job is a niche, you would probably find it in a profession-specific salary report. These are a great way to understand how wide-range salaries can go for your industry and job function – but don’t get hooked on the averages.

If you’ve read this far you probably know we’re going to advise you to follow the salary range – not the average of the range itself as your benchmark because there’s no actual way you will know if you are earning above or below average based on a salary report which uses simplified factors, usually not accounting for things like capital vs outskirt salaries and so on.

Our advice read these with a grain of salt. This leads us to our final point.


4. Speak to Recruiters

Among all the HR professionals, recruiters are people who discuss salaries with people from all sorts of backgrounds on a regular basis. Recruiters however usually specialize in either industries or job functions. This means a tech recruiter may not know much about salary ranges in the retail field, or a marketing recruiter may not be the best to ask about the salary ranges of Finance Managers.

It’s best to first understand the scope of the recruiter and talk to the recruiters who specialize in your industry or job function. Even better if they specialize in both! You can ask recruiters for a confidential conversation about your career plans, and they will be able to advise on how your salary might grow as you progress in your career.

PentagonPlus happens to be one of the top recruitment agencies in Malaysia, and you’re welcome to drop us an email for a confidential discussion at


To Wrap Up

Always, always ask for salary ranges rather than specific numbers. If you realize you’re on the higher end of the range – don’t feel too happy. This means it could be harder for you to look for another job that pays you as well as you’re being paid now. So if you’re unhappy where you are, you might need to be realistic about your salary. In your case, even keeping your current salary would be a win.

But if you find yourself on the lower end of the range – don’t feel sad! That means there are plenty of opportunities for your salary to grow in your next move. Whichever camp you’re in, you just need to play your cards right and you’ll keep growing in your career.