How Much Are You Worth In Today's Job Market?
Do you know if your current salary compensates you fairly for the skills and contribution that you make in your existing job? Would you know how to appropriately price yourself during a salary negotiation? Could you determine if a compensation package is actually a good offer? Understanding the current market value placed on a specific position and your unique talents & capabilities are critical to securing a fair compensation package.
Conducting Salary Research --You can conduct online research and perform a free salary survey based on your current or desired job title, work history, geographic location, or a specific company name. You can even find out if you are paid fairly compared to people like you in your own company. However, you must be certain that the data comes from reliable sources and all the relevant components have been included in the search criteria – or the data will be useless.
Your Purpose & Goals – The first step is to clearly define the objectives of conducting compensation research. What do you want to learn? How will you use the information? With this decided, you can determine which sources of data will best meet your needs and achieve your goals.
Sources of Data -- It is critical that the salary data is accurate and current. Only use sources of data that are valid and reliable. The information should include specific employer and industry statistics, compiled & scrubbed by experts, and collected in a non-biased manner. Good examples of reliable data sources are sites like Salary.com or the most recent information compiled by the US government, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics Wage Data.
Geographic Location – Employers adjust compensation in accordance with the varying cost-of-living in different geographic locations. Therefore, it is imperative to conduct research based on a specific geographic market. Search for compensation data using a zip code, city, state, or region to ensure the information includes this cost-of-living differential.
Job Characteristics -- Don’t rely only on job or position titles when conducting research. Be sure you compare ‘apples to apples’ when researching compensation packages. Review the job duties in the data collected and compare these to the requirements and duties of the baseline job to ensure the positions are similar in scope and responsibility. Research and compare compensation packages based on the following criteria: job title, job duties, skills, level of responsibility, years of experience, education / certifications, and other related job requirements.
Value-added Experience & Skills – Don’t underestimate the value of relevant and high-demand knowledge, skills, capabilities, and experience. Typically, there is a significant difference in compensation if you speak multiple languages, are willing to travel, work the overnight shift, or hold relevant certifications or licenses.
Conduct research to determine the premium paid for additional relevant, in-demand value-added skills or experience that differentiate you from others.
Negotiate like a pro – Once you know your market value and the median salary range paid in the geographic market for the position, including pay differentials for value-added experience or skills, you can price yourself appropriately and negotiate a fair compensation package that you desire and deserve.