Is it Okay to Accept a Position Below Your Salary Expectations?

January 30th, 2015

After polishing your resume and going on rounds of interviews, there are few things more exciting than having a job offer extended to you ─ but your level of enthusiasm may quickly fizzle if you’re presented with a salary offer that falls short of your expectations.

It can be difficult to know what to do when you really want the job, but are less-than-thrilled with the amount of compensation the company is willing to pay. The best way to handle this problem varies by situation. In some cases it’s wise to just accept the lower salary, while sometimes it’s better to keep looking.

4 Issues to Consider When a Job Offer Comes Up Short

Not sure what to do about a low-paying job offer? Take the following four issues into consideration:

Research Industry Averages

It’s important to know what the industry standard salary for your position is, so you can gauge whether or not your expectations are appropriate. If you’re asking for significantly more money than your peers are earning, it may be wise to scale your expectations down a bit. However, if the company is trying to pay you far less than the industry standard, you may want to think twice about accepting the job.

Factor in Company Perks

Many companies offer great perks that inadvertently save you money and add value to your life. For example, a low salary offer may be offset by a generous 401(k) match, 100% paid healthcare premiums and a tuition assistance program. Other non-monetary compensation may include generous vacation time and the ability to work from home.

Gauge the Urgency of the Situation

How badly do you need to find work? If you’ve been out of a job for a few months and the bills are piling up, it may be a good idea to take the job to avoid falling deep into dept. However, if you’re currently employed and just casually looking for work, taking a job below your salary expectations is probably not the best move.

Assess Your Competition

Are you trying to get an accounting job at a highly sought after company? If you really want to work at a specific organization where great opportunities are few and far between, you may need to accept a lower salary to secure your dream job. Conversely, if the company is growing steadily and new accounting opportunities are plentiful, it’s probably best to hold out until you’re offered the salary you want.

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