What Are Your Salary Requirements?

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This article is part of the Video Game Developer Salary series. Read about the annual salary ranges of all video game jobs, and get advice on maximizing your paycheck throughout your career.

Image courtesy of sheelamohan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of sheelamohan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When you apply for a job, it’s common for the company to ask, “What are your salary requirements?” If this throws you for a loop, you’re not alone. It’s a hard question to answer. You don’t want to give a too-high number and scare them off, but you also don’t want to sell yourself short.

The solution is this: give them a competitive salary range for your job type, but also let them know that it’s negotiable. This solves both problems – you’re asking for a salary that reflects your worth, but showing that you’re flexible if it’s more than they can pay.

This means you have to know what salary is competitive and understand how to negotiate if necessary. Read on!

To find a good competitive salary range, you’ll have to do some research. The goal is to get a sense of what salary range is being paid to people in your job, and in your region. Here are some good places to start looking.

GlassDoor.com

GlassDoor offers searchable salary info that people have submitted anonymously. You can search for salaries by job title, region, or even a specific company. It can give you a good sense of what range you should ask for.

Since the same job can have different titles across different companies, be sure to vary your search words. For example, a programmer should try “programmer”, “engineer”, “developer”, “game programmer”, etc.

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Gamasutra’s Salary Surveys

When you apply for a job, it’s common for the company to ask, “What are your salary requirements?” If this throws you for a loop, you’re not alone. It’s a hard question to answer. You don’t want to give a too-high number and scare them off, but you also don’t want to sell yourself short. Gamasutra does an anonymous salary survey every year, and posts them online (they had formerly been provided in Game Developer Magazine before that publication was closed). Just look up your target job title and see what salary ranges they list.

In my experience, their results are 10-15% higher than what people in the industry are really being paid. Many people I’ve met have verified that the GDMag salaries are higher than what their company pays. But it’s a good place to start while you’re gathering info.

Or, Let Us Do That For You…

Because we like you, we’ve gone ahead and pulled together salary numbers from multiple sources for a few of the most common jobs in the game industry. Save yourself some time by checking out these in-depth articles:

You’re welcome.

People in your Network

If you’ve been doing a good job of networking, then you’ll already have several contacts in the industry. Ask them what the people in your field are paid at their companies, or at other companies they’ve worked for.

If you know people in your graduating class who have received job offers, they may also be willing to help you out by sharing their salary numbers with you.

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The more data you collect, the more confident you’ll be when answering the dreaded question, “What are your salary requirements?” And the more confident you’ll be when you get a job offer and start negotiating for a higher salary.

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