How to Determine and Use Your Market Value (Part 2)

Jeff Cuellar



In Part 1, we covered how to discover your baseline market value to see if you’re being underpaid, and by how much. In this article, we’ll explore additional career factors that can help you get a more accurate (and possibly higher) market value. But what good is this information if you don’t use it right?

That’s why we’ll also go over how to use your market value to get the compensation you deserve from your employer. If you want to potentially move into a higher income bracket because you’re worth it according to the market, continue reading.


Factor These into Your Market Value Equation


That’s not the market value we’re referring to.


Once you’ve determined a good baseline salary (see Part 1) after doing your research, narrow down your market value by evaluating career factors such as experience and education. These factors can influence your market value and even raise it above your baseline number.

It’s a bit like finding the resale value of a car. You can uncover the average price range of a particular model by checking various car dealership websites. But to get an accurate resale value, you need to look at factors such as upgrades, engine capacity, mileage, and condition. The only difference is that you’re the commodity being evaluated for the following factors:


Generally, the more professional experience you have, the higher you’ll move up in the pay scale. That’s why you’ll typically see a salary difference of $10,000 – $50,000+ per year between employees with less than 3 years of experience and those with 5 – 10 years of experience. The rationale is that more experience equates to better problem solving, decision making, and efficiency in productive employees (see Performance below).


Many industries have professional certifications that enhance a professional’s knowledge and credibility within his/her field. For example, Singapore’s financial services industry is loaded with certifications such as CPA, CFA, CFP, etc. Some jobs don’t require them, but if you have a certification, it will positively influence your market value.


Typically, the more employees you manage, the higher your market value because your productivity is directly tied to that of your subordinates. But if you’re a manager who’s responsible for a grand total of – yourself, then you’ll have to make your management experience about the amount of projects or customer accounts you handle.


Your level of education can have a drastic affect on your market value, as the monthly pay gap between diploma and degree holders is about $1,000. So if you’re currently a diploma holder working your way through courses to earn your degree, that’s an immediate market value booster that definitely moves you up the pay scale.


This is one factor that can HURT your market value if you’re not careful. That’s because companies are more likely to pay/promote a hard working employee with 5 years experience instead of an average employee with 10 years experience. So if you consistently get good performance evaluations, this will boost your market value greatly. And if you don’t, work on fixing it if you want to strengthen your argument for a higher salary.


Try not to sink your “market value” by letting your work performance slip.


Client Relationships

Likeability is a powerful factor when it comes to doing business. In fact, many customers choose to buy because they like the person that they’re buying a product from, not the company that makes it. So if you’re in a position where you have loyal customers who only want to buy from you, this increases your market value. Additionally, your value will continue to increase as you successfully nurture more client relationships.

Job Scope

When you accepted your current job, you promised to fulfill the job scope listed on your employment contract. But how many times do we find ourselves going above and beyond what we signed on for? A good example would be the business development manager who’s also the company’s web developer, customer relationship manager, and administrative assistant. Doing more than your stated job scope will increase your market value because you’re saving your employer the cost of hiring another one or two employees in addition to broadening your existing skill set.

Industry Outlook

The industry outlook for your particular field/profession can either increase or decrease your market value. For example, if your skills are essential only in a sunset industry, your value will gradually decrease as the need for your industry’s products/services declines. On the flip side, if you’ve got skills or education certifications that the government lists as in-demand, your market value increases because there’s a shortage of employees with your knowledge and abilities.


Boss, I Have Some “Figures” I Want You to See


Cat-bosses are notorious for getting agitated at the mention of raise or promotion. So compliment him on his fine fur coat and mention how much tuna you contribute to the company first.


Once you’ve evaluated the factors that can positively influence your baseline market value, it’s time to play with the pay scale. Ultimately, experience limits how high you can adjust your market value on the pay scale. Chances are you’re not going to get executive pay at most companies if you’ve only got 5+ years of experience. But you can easily put yourself at the 60th/70th percentile of the pay scale once you back it up with hard data on the above factors.

After revising your market value, go to your employer with your research. Facts such as government/industry data are hard to dispute, and backing that up with your career accomplishments will strengthen your case for better compensation. This will at least open the door for dialogue with your employer so you can negotiate for a package that you’re satisfied with.

Remember, you only have a limited number of “working years” before you hit retirement age. Make every year count by earning what you deserve. And if your employer is unwilling to meet you halfway with any pay, promotion, or benefits package – start your search for a company that will.


Do you know any other ways to find out your market value? Share them with us on Facebook!

Image Credits:
jellywatson, The RocketeerPassive Income, kathyturner1

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Jeff Cuellar

I'm known by many titles: copywriter, published author, literary connoisseur, ex- U.S. Army intelligence analyst, and Champion of Capua.