• By Check-a-Salary
  • Posted Wednesday 08 th May 2019

What Does ‘Competitive Salary’ Mean?

You’ve seen a job advert for your perfect job - you’ve got the right skills set, qualifications and experience.  But…no salary is listed and instead the advert states ‘Competitive Salary’. So, what does this vague statement actually mean?

What is a ‘Competitive Salary’?

The statement simply means that the salary available for this particular position will be more or less the same as other companies will offer for the same position in a similar location. In some cases, the term ‘Competitive Salary’ may even mean the pay is negotiable.  

Therefore, although a specific salary isn’t listed in the job advert, you should be able to get an idea of the salary you can expect by using a salary checking tool.

Why Do Employers use ‘Competitive Salary’ in job descriptions?

There are various reasons why employers choose to use the term Competitive Salary. One is that it leaves room for negotiation, allowing input from both sides rather than using a specific salary which won’t take into account the candidate’s qualifications and experience

Another consideration for using the term Competitive Salary is for confidentiality reasons.  It’s much better to keep salary information confidential in the workplace and by not stating a salary on a job advert, the salary details are kept confidential between the candidate and HR.

‘Competitive Salary’ V ‘Salary Bracket’

The simple difference between competitive salary and salary bracket is that the latter a salary bracket is much more restrictive, with little scope for negotiation. whereas However, a competitive salary suggests that there is room for flexibility when your experience and qualifications are taken into consideration. In other words, think of a salary bracket as a set range of possible pay grades within your job, and a competitive salary as a more flexible ‘going rate’ for that particular role in that particular location.

How Can I Help Myself?

So, if your job offers a ‘Competitive Salary’, how do you ensure that you’re getting the salary you think you deserve?

  • Be prepared. Understand as much as you can about the company you are interviewing with (which is the first rule of interviewing anyway!) and try to find out the average salary for the position you are going for.  Using a salary checker tool is very useful for this.
  • Remember, it’s not just about the remuneration; the company may offer other benefits such as training or further qualifications that may be more valuable to you than money alone in the long run.
  • Discussing salary is rarely a comfortable conversation to have. With any luck, the interviewer will bring it up during the early stages of interviewing.  If not, you are well within your rights to enquire – perhaps at the second interview stage.
  • If you are offered a  ‘competitive salary’ which you believe to be lower than the market rate, explain what you were hoping for, based on your research. There may not be any room for negotiation, but if you can back up your salary expectations with proper research, you will give yourself the best possible chance. 
  • Always be polite and respectful when negotiating as you may end up working for this company and you want to create the best first impression that you can.
  • Have a clear idea of what you are worth and what salary and package you are prepared to accept. Remember though, on rare occasions, you may choose to accept a lower salary if the company is one you are desperate to work for or the experience you will gain will further your career.  Just make sure you accept a position for the right reasons.


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