Should You Take a Lower Salary?

What would you do if you were offered a job with a lower salary than you were hoping to receive?  Would you take the job and make some cuts to your budget?  Or would you hold out for more money and risk being out of work for a few more months?  Before you make that decision, here are some questions to consider:

Are you making a career change?  Are you looking for your first job after graduating?  Are you trying to get a different type of job or enter a new industry?  If that is the case, you will likely have to start off in an entry level position with a lower salary. As your skills and experience grow, so will your paycheck.

Is it a tight labour market?  If there are a lot more qualified applicants than there are jobs available, then it might be a good idea to take any job that you can get.  The reality may be that there are very few positions available at the wage that you are expecting.  It is better to keep your skills sharp and build up your experience, and when the market turns around, you can find a job that pays more.       


Will the position give you valuable experience?   Will this job make you a more attractive candidate for future positions?  Will you be gaining skills or making contacts that will open new doors for you? Sometimes the value of the job is not completely in the salary.  If taking this position is an investment in your future career, then it may be worth putting up with a smaller paycheck.

Is there some other trade off?  Does this job offer anything else that makes up for the lower salary?  Is there a benefits package?  Is the employer offering more vacation days?  Does the position allow for a better work-life balance?  Is it a shorter commute?  When you’re evaluating the position, make sure that you are considering the whole package; there may be something there that more than makes up for the low salary.

When deciding whether or not to accept a position with a lower salary, it is important that you get all of the information and that you are honest with yourself.  Would you be motivated to work at this salary?  Would you feel resentment towards the employer?  Don’t accept the position unless you are genuinely happy about it.  If you are only taking the job out of desperation, it probably won’t work out well.

(Written by: Karen Bivand, Photo by: Stock Images/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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