As you're planning your career, salary comparison tools can help give you the insight you need to make smart decisions about your future.
Researching Salary Comparisons for a Specific Occupation
Have you ever found yourself wondering how your salary stacks up to others in your professional field? To check out salaries for a specific occupation, visit the following online tools:
Points to Remember
While salary comparisons can provide a useful way to see if you're being compensated fairly, it's a good idea to remember that many factors come into play when determining how much a particular employee is paid. For example:
- Related education, including professional certifications
- Professional awards and honors
- Length of service with the company
- Accomplishments directly related to a particular position, such as being the company's top salesperson for the past year
- Value of health insurance and other company-provided benefits
- Value of any applicable fringe benefits, such as a company car
It's also worth pointing out research has shown many employees wrongly assume they are being underpaid when their salary comparison research seems to indicate a discrepancy. According to a survey by Salary.com, the most common cause of salary discrepancies is over titling for a particular position. This is especially common in smaller companies, when an employee is offered a more prestigious title in lieu of a pay raise. To obtain the most accurate salary data, you'll need to compare actual job duties instead of formal position titles.
Planning a Move
If you're considering taking a job offer in different location, it's helpful to know how far you'll be able to stretch your salary in a particular area. What is considered a good income in rural Iowa, for example, isn't going to go very far in New York City.
To see cost of living comparisons for across the United States, check out the following helpful links:
- How Far Will My Salary Go in Another City?
- Best Places to Live
- Cost of Living Comparison and Salary Calculator
- Cost of Living Comparisons
Since each of the calculators listed above uses a slightly different mathematical formula, don't be surprised if you obtain different results from each Web site you visit. However, averaging all of the calculations together should provide you with a reasonably accurate assessment of the cost of living for a particular geographic area.
Earning More Money
If your research has convinced you that you need to start earning more money, consider these career development tips:
- If you believe you are entitled to a raise, don't frame your request in terms of how the raise will benefit you. Your employer doesn't care if you need more money to save for your child's college education or to pay off old credit card debts. When you're asking for a raise, stick to discussing your accomplishments and the ways you bring added value to the company.
- Don't be limited by your official job description. Employees who are willing to do whatever is necessary to help the company succeed quickly become great assets.
- If you're interested in advancing to a higher-level position within your current company, make your goal known. Many people are passed over for promotions simply because their manager assumes they have no interest in other opportunities.
- Many employers place a high priority on professional involvement. If you're not a member of any associations related to your line of work, consider choosing a group to join. As an added benefit, many of these groups offer exclusive classified job listings that you can use to find a new position when the time is right.
- If you feel your lack of formal education is a factor, consider going back to school to either earn a new degree or take the classes you need to update your skills.