Select the Right Salary Survey for your Company

According to a recent Society of Human Resource Management survey, “salary is by far the leading cause of employee dissatisfaction among U.S. workers,”. Given this statistic, it makes sense that employees want to know how their company determined the salary for their position. Employers who deliberately select the appropriate salary survey can be confident about their response to employees and where their salaries lie in relation to the market average.

The key is to be strategic about selecting the appropriate survey for your company, industry and your workforce. There are many to choose from as evidenced by a quick online search. To help you develop a deliberate approach, we’ve compiled a list of questions that will help you with your salary survey selection process:

  1. Do you have management support? Purchasing a survey can be costly. It is important that your management is educated about why the survey is necessary and how the data will benefit the company.
  2. For which jobs are you seeking salary data information? The type of job you are benching can narrow down your search. Ask yourself the following questions:
    1. Where, geographically, do I recruit to find the most qualified candidates for specific jobs? – locally, nationally, internationally?
    2. Which companies/industries employ people in the same positions? Another way to arrive at the answer is to ask, “To what companies/industries do I lose my employees”? – private, public, large, small, start-ups, mature. Type of industry – research, manufacturing, government, retail, etc.
    3. What types of jobs do I need data on?
      • Generic jobs that cross employer segments like Receptionist, Accountant, and IT Help Desk are generally easier to find data on than positions that are specialized like Biotech Pharmacology Associate, Environmental Safety Engineer and Microchip Manufacturing Manager. The specialized positions may only be found in industry or job specific surveys. In addition, because there tend to be fewer qualified candidates a company must cast a wider net to find them. This means that you may need a survey that provides national and international data cuts.
      • Do I need senior management and executive position data? Because higher-level management positions often require additional data like long-term incentive, stock, revenue and operating budget, they often are found in “executive compensation surveys”.
  3. Where can you find the best survey based on the questions you have answered in step 2 above?
    1. Search the internet
    2. Call colleagues in your industry and inquire about which surveys they participate in
    3. Contact professional associations like American Electronics Association (AEA), National Pharmacy Technician Association (NPTA), National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)
    4. Contract with a third party to locate an appropriate survey

What has been your experience with salary surveys? How often do you update your salary data? We love hearing from our readers. Please respond via the comments area below.

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1 Comment on "Select the Right Salary Survey for your Company"

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Dong Constante
I’m not positive if I am placing this in the correct location, but I’m preparing to transfer to the United States and am trying to secure jobs in the technology industry. I currently have a job lead with a enterprise (LTJ Management, LLC, 900 Congress Ave, Suite L-150, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 895-9500) and sought some ideas on the best way to study them to see if they might be a great company to work for. I’ve checked on their website, but thought someone here may have some other ideas on exactly where to look. Thank you in advance.