Five Ways to Gauge Your Compensation
Am I being compensated appropriately? With so many variables in market, geography, industry and individual skill sets, it’s impossible to pinpoint an exact salary for every job. There are resources, however, which can help you determine your market worth and where you fall in the range.
1. Industry Averages
One of the easiest ways for someone to look for salary ranges is to check out sites like salary.com, PayScale.com and Glassdoor.com. These tools provide salary ranges, but keep in mind that the numbers don’t take into account an individual’s specific skill set as it relates to the market. And while the sites provide salary data that’s been researched and reported, they don’t include insights into each component of the salary. For example, there is very little detail regarding bonuses, stock or health benefits which are important components of a compensation package.
Another favorite source of information is reaching out to friends and former classmates and colleagues who work in your industry. The problem? There is a tendency for people to pump up their salaries. Differences in education, years of experience, companies and positions are all variables that make it tricky to compare yours with theirs. On the positive side, consulting with peers can offer insight and ideas into what a package looks like beyond a base salary including things like bonuses, stock grants and work-life-balance factors.
3. Your Employer
A key data point in the compensation questions is what you’re earning today. Based on your skill set and background, what you’re making is what you are worth to your employer. You can also determine where you stand by having a discussion with your boss and asking what goes into establishing your salary. This may sound intimidating, but it’s the best way to get a view of how your current employer values your experience and contribution.
You can get a good idea of your worth by speaking with a recruiter. Every day we see what companies are paying individuals with similar experience. The ongoing stream of information we receive from interviews and job offers provides a clear vantage point of the market and what you might expect based on your skills and experience. This includes all aspects of a compensation package. Even if you aren’t actively looking for a job, consult with a recommended recruiter and have the compensation discussion - most of us are happy to help.
5. Job Search
By and large, testing the market by going through a rigorous interviewing and job search process is the best-known way to understand your market worth. The offers that come in after you’ve met with several companies will be the most accurate indicator of your worth. Hiring managers will review your credentials, match them to their requirements and assess your value.
Knowing if your compensation is in line and appropriate isn’t necessarily a quick undertaking. But investigating a few options, comparing the results and keeping yourself informed can help you stay abreast of your worth in the market.
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