What Does a Competitive Salary Mean?

When searching for a job, it is crucial to be conversant with all the vocabulary commonly used by employers. Today we are going to address one vocabulary that confuses most job seekers, yet employers frequently use it. That is, “competitive salary.”

We are confident you have seen this vocabulary many times when applying for a job. Do you know what it means? Let us help.

What does competitive salary mean?


A competitive salary means that the salary an employer will offer is equal to or more than the industry standard for similar positions in the same area. That makes it easier for you to estimate if you do your own research well.

Other commonly used phrases include market rate or negotiable salary.

Where is competitive salary shown?

A competitive salary is displayed within a job advert. Employers prefer using this vocabulary, where the salary may vary.

Why do employers list salaries as competitive?


There are a number of reasons why employers like using competitive salaries:

  • To create a room for negotiation: By setting salaries as competitive, employers create room for negotiation where they get to hear candidates’ expectations. This approach is more friendly than when the employer decides the final figure without a candidate’s expectation.
  • Salary information is confidential: Salary matters are always sensitive. By using the term competitive salary, employers are able to keep information about salary confidential to everyone except for the successful candidate.
  • Allow employers to pick the right candidate:  By listing salary as competitive, employers can target only those candidates who are interested in the job and the organization and not the lucrative pay.

When is the best time to ask for a salary if it is listed as competitive?


It can feel uncomfortable to ask about salary, but it is worth it before investing too much time in the entire hiring process.

Often, most employers will bring up the issue of salary even before you ask. If they don’t, gauge the interview process and see whether it is ok to discuss your salary.

Alternatively, wait until the second interview to bring up the issue. If there is no sign of a second interview, it is ok to ask during the first interview.

It is also fine to bring up the issue if the interview is informal and short.

How can I figure out what is competitive in my area?


The best way to find out what is competitive in your area is by doing your own research. You can also use tools like salary checkers to get a better idea of what similar positions are paying.

That way, you will be confident naming a figure that you can discuss with your boss to be.

What if the salary offered is not enough?

When a salary is listed as competitive, there is a higher chance you will be slapped with an offer that you will admire. If not, be brave enough to negotiate for a better offer. If you have researched well, negotiating for a suitable alternative is a simple task.

The good news is that most employers always create room for negotiation. So, if allowed to table a better offer, make sure you demonstrate why you think the offer is worth considering.

In most cases, if you prove why the alternative offer is suitable, and you don’t go overboard, there is a chance your offer will be accepted.

Note: Never accept a lower offer unless you are 100% sure it is the right position for you in the long run.

Interview, Jobs, Salary