This is especially difficult for candidates to assess when one is entering a new field, making a career change, moving to a new location, or entering the workforce as a recent graduate. It's also a question you should have an answer to before accepting a job offer.
In order to negotiate a competitive salary, you need to know what the industry standard is for that job and that location.
For instance, you can easily see a $20K or more salary difference for the same position simply by being based in a metropolitan city versus a small town, reflecting the associated cost of living.
Or if you have unique talent or skills valued by an employer, you may also have better leverage in negotiating a more competitive salary.
Although today's market condition means that many candidates are more concerned about securing a job versus being offered competitive pay, do not sell yourself short. At minimum, research what you are worth so that you are prepared to negotiate with the employer for a salary that meets the industry standard when an offer is presented.
So, you may ask, "Where do I begin to look for or research salary information?" Here are several reliable ways to obtain salary information. Resort to more than one of these resources for a comprehensive view of what is reasonable and fair.
1. Your Own Network Of Contacts
Do you know someone in the particular field of practice? While most people do not share personal salary details, you may inform the person that you are seeking advice on salary to help with negotiation. Present your contact with a salary range and ask for their opinion as to whether they view it as low, reasonable, high or what they think would be fair.
2. Your Industry's Professional Organizations And Publications
Many professional organizations and industry publications conduct annual surveys and publish results, breaking down fine details. For instance, public relation professionals may rely on PR Week's annual Salary Survey results. It also offers information related to job satisfaction for professionals at various levels in the industry.
3. Research At Salary Websites
There are dozens of salary websites you can resort to in order to find details on what others are being paid for similar positions in particular fields, industries and locations. Each site varies in their method of salary calculation. However, by reviewing several of these sites, you will have a general understanding of what a competitive salary is for the position you seek. In alphabetical order, some of the salary websites include:
Find salary information and reviews on positions at different companies and organizations from this site. Employees directly contribute to the information offered.
This site's data is based on information entered directly by employees at the companies included. In addition to salary information, you can obtain perspective on company and organization cultures.
This site offers salary information and you can also see trends for particular industries in terms of employment growth.
This site is relied on by candidates and employers, alike. The online compensation database provides current pay records collected from employees and employers. A salary calculator is also offered. Certain services and access require a nominal fee.
Provides real-time statistics on thousands of positions by location. You can price three jobs for free and other services and access require a nominal fee.
In addition to finding particular positions within an organization and the salary scale for those positions, you can review company message boards for insight to how the interview process is conducted and take a peek at other insiders' perspectives. There is a nominal fee to access certain information.
This site offers information on compensation for particular careers and insight into companies and desired talent and skills for positions.
At the moment, the job market is not in its best state. However, you still have the option to negotiate for an offer that meets industry standards. If you don't bother asking, you will never know and may end up falling short.
Also keep in mind while salary is important, you should also factor in additional employee benefits that may make the overall offer package a greater value, including benefits, bonuses, 401K matches, and many other considerations.
Thanks to Don Goodman / Careerealism
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