Generally, compensation is a topic that most people tend to avoid. You probably don’t want to reveal your compensation to your coworkers, and they don’t want to reveal their pay to you. At the same time, you want to make sure you are getting paid fairly or that your potential employer is giving you a fair offer. Here are a few ways to benchmark your pay against the market.
Glassdoor has a fairly extensive database of compensation for a large number of companies and positions. People submit their compensation (including salary, bonus, and other monetary benefits) and company reviews anonymously. You can look at a national or local average for a position or pull up a specific position title within a company. For example, you can pull the average salary and salary range of Analysts at Goldman Sachs along with any additional performance-based compensation. Keep in mind however, you need to consider years of experience and geographic location when comparing your current salary or offer to what you see online. If you live in a low cost of living area or have only a few years of experience, you’re most likely going to be paid less. However, salary data is also backwards looking. A lot of data points are old, so inflation and other factors may have increased the average salary that is currently offered, making the Glassdoor data inaccurate. Nonetheless, Glassdoor can still give you a good ballpark of what your compensation should be.
Salary.com can provide compensation statistics for a large variety of positions in varying industries. You can pull compensation data for a specific position within a specific industry. The available data includes salary and bonus at the 10th, 25th, median, 75th, and 90th percentiles. It even includes a pie chart breakdown of the value of a variety of other benefits such as healthcare, 401K, pension, etc. The downside to Salary.com is that it doesn’t provide data for a specific title in a company.
If you are lucky, you may be able to get your hands on professional compensation reports. Companies such as Towers Watson and Radford create compensation reports and data based on surveys. These surveys allow you to look at specific positions in specific industries and break down the compensation components by salary, bonuses, stock, etc.
Industry-Specific Job Sites
Some industry-specific job sites will provide research reports on compensation. For example, the Institute of Supply Management produces a compensation report for supply management professionals. The compensation information is broken out by industry and years of experience. The Project Management Institute (PMI) provides compensation statistics on Project Management Professionals (PMP). Try to find if there is a professional association for your industry and start your search from there.
Some industries may have blogs that cover compensation data. For example, managementconsulted.com provides an annual refresh of management consulting salaries at both the entry and MBA graduate levels.
How to Use Data
I recommend looking at a variety of sources to determine what you should get paid for a particular position. Be sure to make adjustments based on your experience, education, geographic region, job market, and any special skills you may have. Use this data point as a starting point for negotiations and to make sure you are receiving a fair offer. Also, keep in mind that some companies may pay below market but provide more flexibility or growth opportunities.
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