Where to Find Job Salary Information Online

Seeking the right job salary means doing research to find out what's fair for your experience and expertise. Look for job salary information online, and your efforts will "pay off." Knowing your market value — the going rate for people in your industry with skills and a job description similar to yours — is the centerpiece for negotiating the compensation you deserve.

Finding job market rates has never been easier than it is today. You can discover a wealth of job salary information at various online sites. The Salary.com and Payscale sites dominate the online salary research services now available to job seekers. A newer online service called Salary Search is also available.

All three services offer free basic data and informative salary negotiation articles; a custom report for your specific situation costs between $25 and $150.Why would you want to pay for something you presumably can get for free? Generalized averages produced by online salary calculators aren’t always spot-on for specific companies and jobs.

Be certain to benchmark the job you’re applying for by job content — not just by job title. The same job title can mean different things to different people in different companies.

WorldatWork, an international association of human resource practitioners, is a recognized authority on compensation matters. Here’s a selected glossary of WorldatWork terminology that defines the four core elements of cash compensation paid by employers:

  • Fixed pay: Also known as base pay, fixed pay is nondiscretionary compensation that doesn’t vary according to performance or results achieved.

  • Variable pay: Also known as pay at risk, variable pay changes directly with the level of performance or results achieved. It’s a one-time payment that must be re-established and re-earned each performance period.

  • Short-term incentive pay: A form of variable pay, short-term incentive pay is designed to focus and reward performance over a period of one year or less.

  • Long-term incentive pay: A form of variable pay, long-term incentive pay is designed to focus and reward performance over a period longer than one year. Typical forms include stock options, restricted stock, performance shares, performance units, and cash.

To make certain your salary research is on target, network in professional groups. At association meetings, speak to people in a position to hire you. Work the conversation around to asking a question: "What could someone with my skill set expect to earn in your organization?"

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