August 1, 2004
Q: When searching for a job, how do you find out salary information such as pay relative to other positions within the organization? Or salaries comparable to positions in other organizations? I know how to determine how much money I must have to make a job change worthwhile, but I don’t want to base my salary decisions on what I need and later find out that I have a salary less than what I should have.
–S. Sutton, Via the Internet
A: Many job seekers spend time researching a company or an industry focusing on how well they understand the job requirements and their skills for the job. They spend a considerable amount of energy on what they can offer a firm, without any sense of how they should be compensated. Total compensation should be your focus as you investigate and compare jobs and salaries. Criteria should include bonuses, health insurance, and stock options, to name a few.
Of course, everything is negotiable depending on the size of the organization and the expertise you can offer, but you need a scale or platform from which to start.
Begin your research with Net Temps (www.net-temps.com), which offers a variety of articles on negotiating salaries, a report on national average salaries adjusted by location, and instructions on how to create an excel sheet to compare a variety of offerings in a compensation package. Another useful Website is www.salary.com.