Finding the average salary for a job (opens in new tab) can be harder than you may have expected, however fortunately there are at least five different ways to do so.
You may want to find out a job’s average salary because you have been with a company for several years, and are considering asking for a pay rise. Knowing what other people in your position are earning is a great starting point for planning out your ideal salary range.
Maybe you’re in the opposite position as a recruiter looking to attract a high achieving employee (opens in new tab) from a rival company, and need to pitch your salary more competitively. Or you are that rival company, and you want to retain your staff with an attractive pay package.
While there are regulations in place that allow people to discuss their salaries, asking somebody what they earn can be particularly challenging, and indeed insulting to many. Use one - or more - of these methods to learn about the average salary for any job.
Remember, stay respectful of other people’s privacy and never ask somebody to disclose something if it would make them feel uncomfortable.
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1. Recruitment and employment sites
This will likely be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re trying to find out the salary of a specific job. There are several sites that offer this kind of information, and the most common rely on users to (often anonymously) post their salaries along with their roles or positions. A successful site will have thousands of entries across a range of employment types, as well as data for hourly rates, annual salaries, and rates per job for freelancers and self-employed workers.
There are several websites (opens in new tab) that aim to provide such information, as well as offer opportunities for employees to leave reviews about their places of work. ‘Glassdoor’ is one such company, known primarily for its extensive library of reviews ranging from company feedback to interview insights, however it also holds a considerable database of salaries.
‘Indeed’, on the other hand, is a site that specializes in recruitment with several thousand job adverts at any one time. What makes this a good job search engine is that it combines several powerful features. As well as average salary information, savvy users can compare similar jobs that are advertised on sites like these in order to gain a better understanding of the average pay per job.
Social networking site ‘LinkedIn’ has more recently added similar features to its account, allowing its users to compare data provided by both fellow users and employers.
Nowadays it can be quite easy to find a figure, but search for a niche job and you may find yourself struggling to gain any intel. This is because most sites require users - both anonymous and account holders - to submit their own data. With this in mind, a great way to help others find the average salary of any job is to share your own if you are comfortable doing so.
2. Blogs, forums, and other online groups and communities
The Internet can house a trove of information, some of it valuable, some of it not. Some of the most reliable information comes from larger organizations that work to a certain standard.
With other sites, like unofficial blogs (opens in new tab) and even social media (opens in new tab) groups, the information you are likely to find can be much more valuable. This is because it will be raw, which means you will be reading about somebody’s honest opinion and real-life experience.
3. Check public records
Most companies hold confidential information like workers’ salaries very closely, and only a handful of eyes will ever set sight on that information. There are some exceptions though, including some charities, not-for-profit organizations, and government or local authority employees. Many such businesses will need to disclose the financial data publicly, which gives you the opportunity to find out how much their employees are paid.
While other public companies will typically keep employees’ data under wraps, it is not uncommon for them to disclose top execs’ wages and other compensation, including the CEO. This is not only valuable information for people applying for such a position, but knowing how the company’s most important staff are paid paints a bigger picture of how the company is run, including how valued lower-down staff will be.
This, along with checking online blogs and recruitment sites, is the most inoffensive way to find out the average salary of any job in the sense that only people who are comfortable sharing this information will do so.
4. Ask your mentor
This is arguably the trickiest way to find out the average salary of a job, however it can also be the most accurate. The process involves approaching someone in authority, whether that’s a hiring manager, company director, or a member of an HR department (opens in new tab).
While you are unlikely to find out the exact salary of a specific individual - chances are divulging this sort of information will be against company policy - you may be able to obtain a range.
If the person you ask works for the company you’re interested in, you’ll be able to get an accurate estimate of the pay in that job. If you’re asking a competitor, you will be better informed when it comes to accepting a role, knowing what others are paying.
5. Ask a former employee
Asking a colleague can be particularly awkward; while there are no rules to prevent workers from discussing their salaries, they are often unwilling to do so for fear of finding out that they are either overpaid or underpaid, leading to embarrassing consequences.
If you get along well with your colleagues and are happy to talk about your finances, great! If not, reaching out to previous employees may be the answer. Depending on your line of work, you may be able to track down former workers who have moved on to competitor companies. Because their previous salary is irrelevant to them, they may be more open to discussing it with you.
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