Finding Out What your Salary Should be: Ultimate Guide to Salary & Compensation Research

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The Comprehensive Guide to Navigating Your Worth: Mastering Salary & Compensation Research

Ever wondered how to look up your salary? In an era of readily available digital insights, knowing your professional worth has never been easier. If you’re asking the question “How much should I get paid”? or  “Is $ 120,000 a good salary?” it’s not just about checking a few websites; it’s about comprehensively understanding the financial landscape of your industry. Here’s your definitive guide.

First, what is a Salary?

According to Wikipedia “Salaries are typically determined by comparing market pay rates for people performing similar work in similar industries in the same region. Salary is also determined by leveling the pay rates and salary ranges established by an individual employer. Salary is also affected by the number of people available to perform the specific job in the employer’s employment locale”.

The Necessity of Researching Your Worth

First, every professional, whether a seasoned core c-suite executive, experienced engineer, or a fresh graduate, needs to grasp their market value. This knowledge isn’t just pivotal for negotiations; it’s crucial for understanding one’s standing in the industry, aiding job searches, and establishing a benchmark for future career growth.

Knowing the Economic Trends for Compensation in Your Industry and the Broader Economy

Knowing the economic trends for salary and compensation will give you a good starting point for what to expect when asking for a raise or accepting a job offer. Think of it as taking the temperature of the room before taking action. Currently, despite indications of a possible economic downturn (recession), Canadian workers are forecast to receive an average salary increase of 3.6 percent in 2024, according to a new survey by Normandin Beaudry.

The Canadian financial management consulting firm released the results of its annual salary increase survey in September 2023.

Good Websites to Research Salary

  1. Glassdoor: Often the first stop for many, Glassdoor has a vast database.
    • Pros: Peer reviews, company ratings, interview experiences.
    • Cons: Voluntary submission may skew data. Visit Glassdoor
  2. Catering mainly to the tech industry, it’s a blend of crowdsourced data and professional insights.
    • Pros: Specific to tech giants, offers negotiation tips.
    • Cons: Limited industries covered. Visit
  3. Offers a unique insight into immigrant salaries in the US, vital for those on or considering a H1b visa.
    • Pros: Accurate, governed by US law.
    • Cons: Narrow focus, limited to H1b positions. Visit
  4. PayScale: Delving into a more personalized approach, PayScale offers tailored insights.
    • Pros: Considers experience, location, and education.
    • Cons: Might be skewed by user-selected data. Visit PayScale
  5. Repvue: Sales professionals will find a goldmine of company reviews and ratings.
    • Pros: Tech-centered, peer reviews.
    • Cons: Access limitations. Visit Repvue
  6. US Bureau of Statistics: A pillar of statistics established in 1884, providing raw and unbiased governmental data. Visit US Bureau of Statistics
Salary Websites by volume of visitors (source of data: similarweb)

Global Perspectives: Casting the Net Wider

  • Canada: With its burgeoning job market and high demand for qualified candidates, resources like Canadian Salary Survey and Randstad’s Salary Guide are indispensable as a starting place if you are in Canada and trying to find out average salaries.
  • O*NET OnLine: Providing a more academic stance, this site is rich with data on job outlooks, descriptions, and, of course, salaries. Visit O*NET OnLine

Inside the HR Playbook

HR professionals have their own compensation toolkits. While many rely on a mix of the popular free platforms and also use the site listed above, some delve into specialized databases that are behind paywalls:

  • Mercer: Revered in HR circles, it offers detailed compensation metrics.
  • Tailored for employers, it provides an aggregated and searchable view of various job markets.

Decoding Salary Websites: What You Must Know

However, researching what your salary should be is only half the battle; interpreting is key:

  • Timeliness: Ensure the data is recent. The job market is volatile; what was standard a year ago might be obsolete now.
  • Coverage: Some niche roles or industries might not be covered.
  • Access Barriers: Be wary of sites that mandate sign-ups or bombard you with ads.

Venturing Beyond Websites

  1. Networking: Salary transparency is becoming a norm. Use platforms like LinkedIn or alumni networks to get real-world insights.
  2. Reddit & Forums: Seek out niche communities or industry-specific subreddits for anecdotal evidence and personal experiences for candidates trying to find out what their salary should be.
  3. Internal Metrics: Larger companies often have standardized salary bands to provide a guideline of what your salary should be. These can be reliable indicators of industry norms.

A Word of Caution

Finally, while anecdotes from friends and testimonials are insightful, it’s crucial to discern between fact and fiction. Anecdotal evidence, though valuable, should be taken with a grain of salt.

For those standing on the precipice of salary negotiations, remember that knowledge is power. Arm yourself with data, dive into our detailed guide on how to negotiate compensation, and step into those discussions with confidence. If you are still at the beginning stages check out the best job boards to get job information.

Trying to find the right candidate for your open role? Core Executive Consultants can help with that too. Successfully Hiring across Canada and the United States every day. Learn how. LET’S GET HIRING TODAY!