Paid What You’re Worth? Why You Shouldn’t Rely on Salary Data

Man holding brief case with money, salary

What salary is appropriate for a new job? | iStock.com

Are you looking for a new job or promotion? If you’re interviewing for jobs, one of the most important pieces of information you’ll need is how much money to ask for during salary negotiations. When it comes time to discuss the numbers, your first thought might be to look at online salary data. While salary data can be a helpful reference, it’s not a good idea to rely too heavily on this information. There are many other factors that can affect your salary at a new company. Here are some other ways you can determine how much salary you should get.

Speak to friends and colleagues

Lunch meeting

Lunch meeting | iStock.com

Take time to chat with close friends and colleagues who have held a similar job. If you know your predecessor, this is even better. He or she can give you an idea of what salary to ask for (but you’ll also need to take into consideration your own level of experience and education). Also remember that you shouldn’t expect to make exactly what the employee in the previous position made. Budgets change as well as the economy, so that could impact what your final take-home pay will be. If you don’t have access to your predecessor, one website that may give you a better salary picture is Glassdoor, which includes compensation surveys directly from current and former employees.

Another reason why talking to your predecessor can help is he or she can clue you into who your competition is. You may be able to find out if a friend of the hiring manger or a colleague’s relative might also be in the running.

Consider the company size

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Organizational chart | iStock.com

If you’re joining a startup or a small company, don’t automatically expect to be making the big bucks. Fortunately, startups and smaller companies are often willing to make up for a lower paycheck with great perks like unlimited vacation time and services like in-office massages. And if you happen to snag a job with massage perks, take advantage. The experts at Incorporate Massage say getting your knots and kinks worked out at your desk can be highly beneficial. Among the benefits are reduced stress, decreased anxiety and depression, and better sleep quality.

Pay attention to how salary data is collected

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Graph | iStock.com

While you need to be careful when sifting through salary data, don’t throw them out altogether. Some of it can be very helpful. This advice comes with a warning, however. When gathering information, don’t blindly accept just any paycheck information you see online. Make sure to vet your sources before using them to decide on a fair salary. Mark Szypko, vice president of compensation strategy for Salary.com, said in a Monster interview that the standard for compensation data is a salary survey that was put together by your company’s direct competition. Szypko also suggests looking at salary surveys that were assembled with payment data gathered from employers within the same industry and then analyzed by compensation professionals.

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