Remember in the olden days (10 years ago) you would see the salary listed in the job posting in the newspaper ad. No more, or at least seldom, do you see the employer state what they are offering for the job. That leaves the job seeker wondering: is this job really the level I am looking for, should I even bother applying and what is the going rate for this type of work in the market.
Here are 3 ways to research salary information. It is best to use them all and take an average or at least compare.
1. Research Online (salary calculators):
This is usually the only thing people do and can be quite dangerous. Sites like Salary.com, Payscale, Glassdoor.com, indeed.com/salaries , Careerbliss are ok to start with but can sometimes be inflated and most employers don’t consider them 100% accurate.
There are other sites to check too. Your state’s Department of Labor website has salary info. Another resource with nice narrative about the occupation responsibilities and requirements is published in the Occupational Outlook Handbook (managed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). This has salary info at the bottom of each occupation.
2. Talk to Recruiters
Employment agencies deal with placing people in temporary, contract and/or permanent jobs. They have an idea of what the going rate is (and it certainly can vary by company). Pick their brains/ask for their advice on the going rates around town.
3. Ask People Doing the Job
I don’t really mean asking a total stranger “How much do you make?” Not only is that rude, it usually will not get you anywhere or anything. I mean network with people you know and who are in your profession or industry and ask the question “what are you seeing the going rate is for my kind of work today?” More often than not, you will get some sort of answer.
Get This Info Early
You will be asked to complete on-line applications that ask for your salary requirements. You will be asked in phone interviews for your salary requirements. You need to know so you don’t price yourself out of the market or under value your talent. This is tricky.
The Value of Your Skills is Determined by…
The basic principle of supply and demand means that when there is a greater supply, it will drive prices down. Today, that is something you should be aware of. Just because you made $190 billion in your last job, doesn’t mean that is what you are worth. Consider these questions:
- How many other people can do what you do?
- Are they also looking for work?
- How many openings for the exact job you are interested in do you see listed online?
In the world of economics, supply and demand matter.
At the end of the day, you are only worth what your future employer is willing to pay. And the job may require less or more than what you did in your past job. No two jobs are exactly the same, even if the job titles are.