Staten Island, New York CPA

Free Consultation

How Do You Determine How Much to Pay New Hires?


Small business owners know that high performers seek out jobs that offer them an opportunity to grow and to develop professionally. Benefits are also important to job seekers. However, salary plays a major role in the decision to accept a job offer. Every owner of a small business struggles with the question of how much to pay a new hire.

As a small business owner, you understand that applicable wage and hour laws are an important factor in that decision. But beyond these legally mandated requirements, what else should you look at when trying to figure out a compensation rate that is fair and competitive? Here are some issues that you should review.

Education and Experience Requirements

It's a given that jobs that require a specialized set of skills, long experience, or extensive educational background will be harder to fill than jobs that require only very general skills. Employees with in-demand skills expect a premium salary. If you find a likely candidate for an important position within your company, you may want to determine what others in your industry and in your location are paying for that type of job before you make that prospective employee an offer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website is a good source for information on employment and wage statistics for various occupations throughout the country. BLS data is broken down into occupational types as well as various subcategories within that occupation.

The Nature of Your Industry

Certain industries, such as engineering and health care, typically pay employees more in wages and benefits than other low-paying industries, such as hospitality and retail. However, you may have to consider paying above-market wages and benefits if the job you want to fill is critical to the profitability of your business. That could be particularly necessary if your business is located in a region where the cost of living is higher than the national average.

Supply and Demand Issues

If you are located in a region where labor is plentiful, you may be able to pay the going rate for the workers you need. However, if the talent you need for your business is in short supply, you may have to get into a bidding war with other employers in your region.

The Candidate's Value to Your Business

Ask yourself: What value will the job candidate bring to your business? How much revenue can you expect the candidate to generate in the first 12 months? What skills do they possess that can help move your business forward? You want to come up with an approximate salary that you can justify, one that aligns with your expectations of the candidate's potential contributions to your business.

What Does the Job Candidate Expect?

Take the time to understand why a particular candidate is interested in working for your business. During the interview process, try to determine what it is that drives them: more responsibility, a salary increase, or a career path towards management. Their answers can help you formulate an offer that is acceptable to both sides. Clarify what their expectations are in terms of benefits and how important benefits are in their final decision about whom to work for. Many candidates who prioritize working remotely part-time or a solid health insurance package may be willing to take a smaller paycheck in return for the benefits they truly want.

The reality is that finding the right candidate for a critical job at a salary you can live with is tough. Your financial professional can help run some numbers so that you can have a better idea of what you can afford to pay an employee who will be a valuable asset to your organization.