The 4 Factors That Determine How Much Your Job Pays

We rarely feel or hear about people who think that they’re overpaid at their job—but ask a group of people if they feel underpaid and a vast majority is likely to say yes. The truth is you don’t determine your dollar value; the market does—at least in a capitalistic society.

So what factors determine how much you get paid in your profession? I’ve outlined the 4 key components below.

  1. The number of people willing to do the job—Think about general, clerical office work. Regular office hours, clean office setting, usually a civil and friendly environment, no exposure to harsh weather, physical danger or health risks, and a respectable profession. Now think about a garbage collector. Exposure to outdoor (often harsh) weather, dirty work environment, and often not a well-respected profession. Yet in many cases, garbage collectors earn higher salaries than clerical workers.
  2. The specialized skills required to do the job—In a hospital, nurses and doctors both take care of the same patients. Nurses actually spend more time with the patients so why do doctors get paid more? Because nurses lack the specialized skills and knowledge that doctors have, allowing them to diagnose and treat their patients.
  3. The unpleasantness of the job—Not everyone is willing to go to school and study for several years to end up exploring their patients’ digestive tracts from the back end, but that’s exactly what gastroenterologists do. They also get paid on average between $250-400K for doing it, not a crappy salary at all.
  4. The demand for services the job fills—When the internet first became popular and commonly used, the demand for website developers was incredibly high. Now we’re seeing a similar demand for mobile developers. The trouble with demand is that it’s constantly changing—so in order to maintain this at a peak, you’ll have to adapt by constantly adding new skills to your repertoire.

To learn more about your earning potential, check out the new LinkedIn Salary tool.

Navid Amin is Recruitment Consultant at RMSG in Toronto, Canada. Navid helps clients through designing and implementing hiring initiatives. He is passionate about sales, marketing and technology. Connect with him on LinkedIn at and follow him on Twitter at @Navid_Amin.