Your pay — what are you worth?

© Dennis Morton

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Your pay is typically a reflection of your education, your experience, the industry you work in, and possibly also previous pay.

1. Know your pay level

Depending on where you apply to work, the pay you can expect to get from your first job can vary greatly. If you'll be negotiating your salary or going to a job interview, we recommend using DM's pay checker (in Danish).

DM’s pay checker distinguishes between public- and private-sector employment, when you completed your education, and what area you work in. We also recommend talking to your local union representative or contacting DM before the conversation.

If you're curious as to what others with your same educational background earn as recent graduates, you can use Uddannelseszoom (in Danish). It gives you an opportunity to see the average pay for all courses of study in Denmark. Note that pension contributions are not included, meaning that actual pay figures may be higher.

Uddannelseszoom also lets you see how others from your course of study typically find their jobs, such as through networking, student jobs, or other avenues; which industries they typically are employed in, what they earn as recent graduates, and what skills they use the most on the labour market. Uddannelseszoom is developed by the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education.

2. Find out what you're worth

Before deciding what pay you should ask for, consider your pay in relation to:

  • Education and seniority
  • Working conditions
  • The business
  • The industry
  • Any labour market agreement or salary agreement in effect
  • Other terms of employment, such as working hours, parental leave, and days off

It's also a good idea to think about what (for example) paid parental leave, extra holiday time, or no limit on hours worked are worth to you.

3. Employment at a private-sector workplace

A very large proportion of employees in the private sector are employed under individual contracts and negotiate their pay themselves. When hired under an individual contract, almost nothing is given in advance — not even how your pay will be regulated. That's why you need to be properly prepared for pay negotiations when looking for a job in the private sector.

Make two decisions before going to a job interview. Decide what pay you want to ask for initially, if requested, and figure out where your limit is. That is, the lowest number you'll accept. These decisions are important for productive negotiations, so you don't agree to something you'll regret afterwards. It may take a long time before you have your first opportunity to renegotiate your pay at your job, so your starting pay should be something you can live with until that point.

4. Employment at a public-sector workplace

If you take a job in the public sector, your employment will be subject to a collective labour agreement, and your pay will comprise a base figure with various additions: fixed additions, individual additions, qualification additions, and functional additions. These additions are negotiated on a per-workplace basis when you are hired, and once a year after that.

Your union representative or DM will negotiate your pay. So you're not alone. Contact your union representative or DM immediately when you have been offered a job, so you can find out what your target pay should be.

If asked about expected pay, it's good to have taken a look at DM's public pay statistics (in Danish) or have called DM in advance, so you can have an expectation and answer questions about it from your potential employer.

5. Your pay is more than just kroner and ører

Your employment contract generally includes rights that have some kind of monetary value. For example, you may have paid lunch breaks, paid parental leave, or a pension scheme your employer pays into. You should also take these things into account when negotiating your pay.

Use DM's Terms Calculator to find out what different benefits are worth (in Danish)

You can also contact DM (in Danish) for guidance about your pay and what you should require in an employment contract.