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How business leaders can handle ‘unrealistic’ demands

By Emma Musgrave | |4 minute read

Earlier this week, we heard about how candidate demands have risen to a whole new level. Here, we explore ways how employers can deal with them.

On Monday, 6 March, Robert Half released its 2023 Salary Guide, which showed 61 per cent of Australian employers have had a candidate request an unrealistic salary in the past 12 months, with these candidates requesting an average of 16 per cent above the salary initially offered to them.

Medium-sized employers were the most likely to encounter unrealistic salary demands in the past 12 months (66 per cent), followed by large employers (62 per cent) and small-business employers (56 per cent).


If you’ve been someone who’s experienced unrealistic salary expectations, there are certain strategies you can explore, according to Robert Half.

1. Be familiar with industry salary trends

The first step is making sure you enter a salary negotiation as informed as possible.

Resources such as the Robert Half Salary Guide lists current market rates for numerous positions and breaks down both the experience level required and geographical locations where rates may vary.

“Pay particular attention to the ‘hottest jobs’ and ‘in-demand skills’ sections of the Salary Guide, as candidates who hold these skills are more likely to enter salary negotiation,” Robert Half said.

2. Build your case

It’s vital to take the necessary time to build an effective case once a salary request from a candidate is received, Robert Half said.

“Once a salary request from a candidate is received, don’t just counter with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Explain why the request is accepted or rejected.

“Highlighting industry trends, salary benchmarks, and/or company-specific reasons behind decisions can help ensure the candidate is informed and a successful agreement is negotiated,” it said.

3. Lean on perks and benefits

Salary negotiations often include employee perks and benefits, according to Robert Half, which said, “it may be less costly than a bump in salary to concede ground on providing extra leave days, flexible hours or a work-from-home schedule, especially in today’s environment”.

“Consider what’s valuable to the candidate and what would make an offer more attractive. If they’re considering multiple offers, remember to directly compare or highlight career progression opportunities or specific wellness programs that can differentiate the company from the competition and allow the candidate to make an informed decision,” the group said.