Simple Way to Determine Your Salary as a Fresh Graduate and Avoid Failing the Job Interview

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By Joram Mwinano, Strategy and Entrepreneurship Consultant & Co-founder www.wyldeinternational.com. He’s also an alumnus of Egerton university.

So this one goes out to our fresh graduates. I’ve spent some time in the last few months recruiting (for ourselves and for clients). And noted a disturbing trend. Someone is either giving wrong advise or lying to fresh graduates. Upon asking the question “what is your salary expectation”. The answers 90k, 100k, 120k and even 170k were offered. Let me break it down here.

For a first job in Kenya , that is too much, unless you are going to work for Big 4 consultants or Mckinsey or a handful of blue chip companies. And only a handful of people will get that opportunity in a year.

In a country where less than 3% of employed people earn more than 100,000 shillings (According to Kenya National Bureau of statistics although let me confess I don’t believe that statistic but lets work with it for this posts purpose only), where a good managers salary ranges from Ksh 80,000 to 150,000, expecting the same for a FIRST JOB is totally unrealistic. It doesn’t matter what academic credentials you have.

So let me burst the bubble and help me take this viral so that we help a lot of people out to get a job. (My interviewees allow me to share this lesson with many at your expense, my apologies if this hurts but we gave some of you direct feedback on the same, and we are still considering some of you for future positions….but , lower your starting salary expectation a bit).

A good company will start you out at 25,000 shillings. You will be lucky if you get benefits. If they offer you 40k or 50k , you are VERY lucky and halfway to being amongst the top 3 percentile of earners in Kenya. For your first job , your focus should be on getting your foot in the door and beginning to learn how the world of work,works.

Statistics show that chances of getting a good 2nd job after having your first job increase dramatically. But staying at home and learning nothing because you want to earn 100k is not wise at all.

The other problem is , if your salary expectation is high, you lose out to the person who may be less qualified but has a lower salary expectation. No employer wants to risk hiring a person who will be lemon faced and looking bitter about their pay and spending time online looking for their next opportunity that matches their expectation.

I remember arguing with a fresh graduate who was justifying why they need to earn more. I made a mental note to have a conversation with them after society humbles them a bit. No one will offer a good salary on a silver platter and those that do will make you jump hoops competing with other brilliant minds and once you get the job, they will recover it from your productivity in a short time. Be wise, get in , learn, prove yourselves. You will grow faster than you think. And learn to delay gratification, its a battle of self control but it will help you greatly in future.


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