Why Salary Should Never be the Deciding Factor - Success Recruit

Blog Post Published 7th September 2015

Job Hunters – Why Salary Should Never be the Deciding Factor When Choosing a Job

Boy with money

Okay, so perhaps never is a little bit strong but in the vast majority of cases it is a bad idea to base your final decision purely on salary.  At first glance money is the most important factor as “people work for money”; but in reality this old adage is increasingly irrelevant.

A generation ago people stayed in jobs for their entire career; nowadays I am surprised to see CVs with less than 5 jobs in a 10 year period!  Why is that?

You could write a library on it never mind a book but the simple fact is the world has changed.  People are increasingly looking for much more from their jobs than just a wage check at the end of the month.

But still I see so many people make the mistake of taking the highest salary, or package, on offer when really their heart is set on the other job.  In my eyes this is a short-sighted way of looking at it that allows the promise of extra money each month to cloud the reality of the decision.

Of course the salary is going to be a consideration and, despite the content of this blog, will and should be the one of the first criteria in a job hunt.  After all, money (still) makes the world go round.

However, the likelihood is that the salary of the job you are going for is going to be sufficient for you to meet your basic needs or you would not have applied for it in the first place.  Once these needs are met, is an incremental increase in your salary as important as other factors such as; prospects, location, a company’s values or ethics for example?

I think most people’s answer to the above question is yes.  Even to the point that in the first 2 or 3 months, until the extra money becomes an accepted way of life, the answer is still yes.  What people must do, and what it takes real strength to do, is look beyond that initial period and ask that question again.

I have seen countless examples of people in my career that take that additional sum of money over the job and the company that they were really suitable for.  In my experience what happens is that in the wrong job and the wrong company people stagnate, their performance levels drop and they become unhappy.  In these cases the employer is not going to increase their salary or advance them within the company.

(N.B. if you are an employer reading this you should consider this reality if you are using additional salary as a method of tempting people to your company.)

In a parallel world where the person accepted the job in a company that was a better fit with their circumstances, personality and values they are now thriving and happy.  Seeing as the main point of this blog is that it is not all about money it seems a little churlish to mention it but, they will probably have had a healthy pay rise to reward them by now!

When people are happy at work they perform better and employers reward performance.

If you take that sentence as fact then when you are looking for a new job, or career, you should be looking for the set of circumstances that will allow you to perform at your best; everything else will follow.

Don’t allow a higher salary to cloud your initial decision.