Around this time of the year, clients ask us for help with salary reviews. They want to know if they are paying their staff too much, or not enough and how they compare with the rest of the market. We have similar conversations with recruiters who want to know if they are on a good wicket, or could do better elsewhere. As a consultant to the recruitment industry, there are probably few people better positioned to offer this advice…but I often find it very difficult.
The problem, is that there is very little consistency out there. The difference in salaries paid to very similar recruiters working in different companies can be significant. If there was once a rule book that everyone followed, it got forgotten about a long time ago. In a competitive industry that is continuing to undergo dramatic changes, this is to be expected.
Whilst the rule book might have been ripped up a long time ago, people are still looking for some guidelines. So, we thought it might be useful to offer some broad advice:
1. If you are in a billing role, your base salary should be predominantly reflective of how much you bill. If you are historically someone who bills around $250k then asking for a $100k base is just not realistic. A multiple of around three – four is a good guide.
2. The focus should be on the OTE, not the base Any serious recruiter who backs himself or herself will want a lower base so they can earn more in commission. Your OTE should be around a quarter to a third of what you bill.
3. Don’t get caught up on salaries matching job titles. A Team Leader in one business is junior consultant in another., and a resourcer can justifiably be on more than a Team Leader.
4. If you are not in a billing role, then it is probably a bit easier to compare salaries. Internal recruiters can expect a higher base salary if there is no commission element to their package and there is a more obvious route through different salary levels.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to the business you work in and how they do it. Some are happy to pay overs to get the people they want into their business. Other businesses are more inclined to pay lower bases and offer a more lucrative commission model. For some the focus is more about culture and non financial benefits than money.
Whether you are employing recruiters or a recruiter yourself, it is a good idea to get some advice though. The recruitment world changes at such a dramatic pace, it’s best not to assume that you have it right.
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