A Job's Worth
Many job seekers think employers, as a general rule, try to hire them for substantially less than they're worth. While there's nothing wrong with negotiating a better compensation package, consider that employers focus on what the job is worth, not what you think you're worth.
For many companies, determining what a job is worth depends on a variety of factors, many of which have nothing to do with the people applying for the job. For instance, a company's budget may be the sole factor determining the amount of money allocated to a position. Larger companies may spend years defining job classifications and compensation hierarchies.
Realize that every position comes with a predetermined compensation and benefit package -- period. Don't forget, a compensation package is more than just your salary. Company-paid health insurance and other benefits have a direct dollar value that should be added to the total compensation package. Also note that even though some jobs have defined salary ranges, hiring managers generally have some latitude to negotiate within that predetermined range based on a number of different factors. Those factors generally include the requirements of the job itself.
Employers also take things like how much formal education is required, what skill sets and core competencies are needed and how much real-world work experience an applicant should have into consideration. While this is not an exclusive list, it does go to show you that determining a job's value is up to the employer.
Marital status and gender should not affect compensation.
The Bottom Line
Another factor many employers take into consideration when determining compensation is how long it will take the new employee to become a significant contributor to the employer's primary goal: Making a profit. This fact alone is why many jobs start at a lower level of compensation than job seekers would like.
ROE: Return on Education
One of the common misconceptions many job seekers have, especially recent graduates, is that a degree automatically means more money or a certain amount of it.
Over one's working life, that may be true, but a bachelor's degree, for example, could be a minimum prerequisite that keeps you from being screened out of the applicant pool. What you bring to a prospective employer is a set of qualifications that either fit the job's requirements or don't. And while an advanced degree, such as an MBA, may help you negotiate a higher starting salary, an employer will always consider your mix of education and work experience.