Researching salary ranges
Video: Researching salary rangesIt's important to prepare for negotiations ahead of time by researching realistic salary ranges. In fact, it's actually best to prepare before you even interview for a job. You want to set yourself up, so you get your best salary. However, if you've already been made an offer you can still do this research. You want to have your pre-negotiation worksheet for this part of the course. Begin by writing down your personal range. What is the minimum salary you need to make to meet your financial obligations? The low end of your personal range will be based on your budget needs.
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In this course, author Valerie Sutton shows smart ways to set up a foundation for negotiating your salary, discuss your strengths, and follow up to achieve agreement. Discover how to research the salary range for the position you're applying for, put it in the context of your salary history, and make a persuasive request. Whether you're at your current job or making a leap to the next, this course will help compare your expectations and performance with others, and negotiate for not only the best take-home pay, but also a combination of benefits, such as vacation days and flextime, that work for both you and your employer.
- Understanding how employers determine salaries
- Determining your priorities
- Writing your negotiation story
- Reviewing the offer
- Holding the conversation
- Leaving an old job on good terms
- Understanding equity compensation
Researching salary ranges
It's important to prepare for negotiations ahead of time by researching realistic salary ranges. In fact, it's actually best to prepare before you even interview for a job. You want to set yourself up, so you get your best salary. However, if you've already been made an offer you can still do this research. You want to have your pre-negotiation worksheet for this part of the course. Begin by writing down your personal range. What is the minimum salary you need to make to meet your financial obligations? The low end of your personal range will be based on your budget needs.
The high end of your personal range will be your ideal salary. This is the amount of money that will allow you to lead the lifestyle you desire. Next, you need to have a realistic idea of what the market actually pays; the external equity. So how can you find out what the market ranges are for your area of interest? I recommend you use the same resources that HR often uses to determine external equity. First, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is an excellent place to start.
The BLS website allows you to search by industry and job position, and is one of the most reliable sources of job data. Our first step is to locate where to find wage information. You'll find this under the tab Subject Areas under the PAY & BENEFITS subsection. You can see there are quite a few selections, but to get the most detailed information you want to click on Wages by Area & Occupation. This will allow you to search wages in a variety of ways including occupations, industries, geography and even gender.
Let's start with occupation. So I'll click on for over 800 occupations. The BLS will start you out with the major occupation groups. You may have to explore this a bit if you're unsure of where your title fits. For our example, we'll use graphic designers, which is most likely under category 27; Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media Occupations. By clicking on section 27, you'll see a full list of occupations in this category.
As we quickly scan the list, you'll see graphic designers at 27-1024. Let's click on it. You can already see some great information including national estimated hourly wages, annual wages and the 10th through the 90th percentile wages. In addition, if I scroll down, I find the mean hourly and annual wages for the top industries including highest employment and top paying. Finally, you get to see employment by geography.
But for this video, we want to focus on salary ranges for a particular industry. You can do this by creating a customized table, which I can click here. You're able to create tables in a variety of ways and for our example, we're going to focus on one occupation for multiple industries. That way we can see how wages differ. When we continue, we'll need to reselect our occupation, graphic designer, which we know is 271024.
I'll click continue, and then I can pick one industry. I'll choose retail trade, and then I'll hold down my Command key on the Mac or Ctrl key on PC and also select Information, then click continue. Now I'm given a breakdown for these industries, so I can further narrow my search. So I'll select furniture stores, because there is a large number of them in my metropolitan area. And I want to compare it to my current industry of newspaper publishers.
So again, I'll hold down the Command key on the Mac or Ctrl key on the PC and select that. Then I'll click continue. I want the most recent data, which right now is May 2011. Then I can select which data I want to see including hourly and annual wages, but for now, I'll just leave this as all data types. Finally, I can select the output, either as an Excel spreadsheet or HTML in my browser.
We'll use HTML for our demonstration and I'll click continue. As you can see, there are fewer graphic designers employed by furniture stores, but the wages including hourly mean wage and annual mean wage are significantly higher for those employed in furniture stores. The BLS only covers the US market, so if you're looking outside of the US then you may need to rely more on your country's standards. Many governments gather this data and have it available on the web.
Second, professional organizations are a good source to benchmark salaries as they allow you to target your industry or role more specifically. These organizations often publish salary surveys of members on their websites. If you don't know an association in your area of expertise, weddle's.com is a great place to find your professional organization. Third, once you have a broad role or industry perspective, you can visit a salary comparison website to confirm your research.
Some of the more popular sites include PayScale.com, Salary.com and glassdoor.com. These sites allow you to target specific companies whose employees have reported their salary information. Once you've done your research, fill in the market range salary information on the pre-negotiation and analysis worksheet. If your personal range and market range match up, you'll next want to determine the negotiation items that are most important to you, which we'll discuss in the next video.
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