HR Guide to the Internet:
Compensation: Salary Survey

What are Salary Surveys? Surveys:
  1. Gather and summarize information to monitor movement and developments in the labor 'market'.
  2. Provide a means for comparison of salaries at the institution

Types of data gathered in a salary survey include:

  1. Base salaries
  2. Salary Ranges
  3. Starting Salary
  4. Incentives/Bonuses
  5. Allowances and Benefits
  6. Working Hours
  7. Working Conditions

Where can I find salary surveys? List of on-line survey vendors available at hr-guide.
Associations that conduct surveys of their members.

"Choosing the right survey" and "What to look for in a survey". How do I choose a salary survey? The results of surveys conducted by third parties (e.g., associations, consultants, survey vendors) can be relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of developing the same results your self. Surveys conducted by associations and vendors are often have a large number of participants which results in a more accurate analysis. Before purchasing survey results, you should make sure the results contain:

  1. Appropriate Job Titles
    industry-specific occupational titles
    Little overlap in job titles
    Use of titles that don't differentiate/specify the duties performed
  2. Summary
  3. Methodology Is there a minimum number of responses needed before reporting results? Data should not be reported for too few incumbents. Need to report median salary as well as averages. The mean is the average of all numbers divided by the number of responses. The 'mean' can be affected by extreme values. The median is the midpoint with half of the responses are above that number and half fall below. Please note that in salary data, the median tends to be lower than the mean due to the fact that there is no upper limit to the rates that can be paid for a job. However, the lower limit is zero. Therefore, the distribution of salaries tends to be skewed with a few salaries at the extreme high end of the range. Fact: In salary data, the median will almost always be lower than the mean. Explanation.
  4. Tabulation of results by Job Title, public/private, industry, geographic region
  5. Breakdowns by size/location/industry
    Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes:
    07Agricultural services
    10, 12-14Mining
    20-39 Manufacturing
    40-42, 44-49Transportation, communication, and public utilities (TCPU)
    50-59Wholesale and retail trade
    60-65, 67 Finance, insurance, and real estate (FIRE)
    70, 72, 73, 75, 76, 78-84, 86, 87, 89Services

    Principles of Compensation Discussed
    Use survey results that will match jobs at your organization within the same industry and/or geographic location.

  6. Data from comparable institutions (size/location/industry)
Participating in a Survey
  1. Identifying the response deadline
  2. Matching jobs on the survey questionnaire to your institution - Job matching should be based on several factors:
    1. Title - The easiest jobs to match on a survey questionnaire are those in your institution that have an identical job title. All companies have a ‘President’ and at least one Secretary. Most have a Director of Marketing, Director of Human Resources, Director of Information Systems, Director of Facilities.
    2. Organizational Structure - The next easiest technique for matching jobs is to find jobs in your organizational structure that match the implied (or even displayed) stucture on the survey. Often a survey will examine the salary data for jobs at several levels within a career path. For example, the jobs Accountant, Senior Accountant, Director of Accounting, Chief Financial Officer may be included in the same survey questionnaire. The structure of two or more jobs within your institution may closely match the structure of jobs on the questionnaire.
    3. Job Duties - The most time consuming technique for matching jobs is to match them on the basis of decriptions.
  3. Determining what data is needed
    1. Salary Ranges
    2. Lists of employees by job title with salaries
  4. Copying the completed questionnaire before returning


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