What’s fair pay?

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TOPIC: Pay in the media industry

“What are your salary expectations?”

This can be a tricky question to answer, especially when you’re first starting out.

Do some research on what the going rates are.

You can look at things like industry snapshots that give you salary ranges, minimum rates (eg the MEAA equity minimums, the various commercial radio industrial award rates, the community radio wage guide, the MEAA rate tracker for freelance writers, or sites like Glassdoor

You can look at job ads and have a look at any comparable published salary ranges.

You might consider asking in a post in an industry Facebook group.

And once you’ve built up your professional networks, you might broach the subject with your trusted contacts.

Buy yourself some time if you need it:
If you’re not sure, you can postpone the question by simply saying (or writing) something along the lines of “I expect a salary in line with others in a similar role”.

This is probably a whole lesson in itself, but in brief:

  • You can take some time to think about the offer.
    (Overnight is appropriate. A week is too long.)
  • You can counter the offer – depending on the organisation and the employment conditions.
    (Some employers will be flexible – others will be not at all. Think: working at a large chain eg Woolworths or McDonalds, vs a small company eg your corner store or local cafe.)
  • You can ask questions, or ask for copies of relevant documents.
    (Questions could include: overtime, time in lieu, leave, Christmas holiday shutdowns, any inclusions with your salary eg phone, professional development fund…)
  • You can negotiate on things other than salary.
    (Depending on the organisation, you might be able to negotiate extra leave, flexible working times, work from home days or other non-salary things that make a job better.)
  • You don’t have to give details about your previous salary.
    (It’s a common practice in the US. If someone asks you, you can be vague or politely decline to answer.)

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