The inspiration for this article came from a conversation with a friend of mine about the property industry and it grabbed me as it's a subject I’ve never really thought about in great detail or touched on before. He made a point about pay for grads in the property industry and big brand attitudes towards financial generosity for salaried employees. Funnily enough, it’s not the first time someone has brought this up in discussion with me, but it’s the first time I’ve paid real attention to it. Does working for that big brand name mean they can pay you an average wage for the privilege?
Per social identity theory, they CAN pay you a little less for a seat in their office. Social identity theory is all about a sense of one’s self through feeling and being a part of an exclusive ‘club’. It’s a self-esteem booster - the concept of being involved in an elite social membership that others perceive to be desirable (and in this case, successful) is apparently all one needs to feel satisfied career-wise. Strong brands offer employees benefits to their self-esteem that they won’t get working for a lesser known organisation. Being able to simply say “I work for Apple” or “I’m at Google now” is said to offer more value to someone than earning an extra few thousand pounds every year. I get that.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom for your bank account if you choose to work for a big brand and it's certainly not suggesting that all big brands pay average salaries. Far from it! In most cases it makes total sense to take that cut and play the long game as your future earning potential is likely to increase dramatically when you decide to move. Popular opinion argues that strong brands attract the best talent and every business is looking to attract top talent so it's a no-brainer. Sending your CV through to a prospective employer with a good brand name on it means you’ve probably already made a positive impression. It's positive connotations. When you take the time to think about it, you realise that companies with strong brands get away with paying average salaries because they have the advantage of non-financial benefits such as social status and better future job prospects.
This, again, is not to say that all big branded companies pay average salaries, and it would be unfair to assume so. It is simply a case, I guess, to excuse the ones that do (if ‘excuse’ is the right word). The topic wouldn’t arise if it didn’t exist. What are your thoughts? Does working for ‘the brand’ mean they can pay you an average wage?