Using the internet to do compensation surveys

A rapidly expanding array of internet based options makes it easy for anyone to access published compensation survey information. Table below shows some popular salary survey Web sites.


Some pay Data Web sites

What it provides
Salary by job and zip code, plus job and description for hundreds of jobs

Adapts national averages by applying local cost of living differences

Wage web

What it provides
Average salaries for more than 150 clerical, professional and managerial jobs

Charges $ 169 for breakdowns by industry, location etc

US office of Personnel management

What it provides
Salaries and wage for US government jobs, by location

Limited to US government jobs

Job smart

What it provides
Profession specific salary surveys.
Necessary to review numerous salary surveys for each profession.

What it provides
Median salaries for thousands of jobs, by city

Doesn’t consider factors like company size or benefits

What it provides
Input your current salary and city, your current salary and city, and this gives you comparable salary in destination.

Based on national averages adapted to cost of living differences

Many of sites such as provide national salary levels for jobs that are then arithmetically adjusted to each locale based on cost of living formulas. To get a real time picture of what employers in your area are actually paying for say, accounting clerks, it’s useful to access the online Internet sites of one or more of your local newspapers. For example, the South Florida Sun –Sentinel uses a site called career builder. It list career opportunities – in other words, just about all the jobs listed in the newspaper by category and , in many instances, their wage rates (www, / classified / jobs). From this listing you’ll find jobs listed for Accounts receivable clerks–$10.00 per hour. Accounting clerk — $ 25k, Accounting clerk – credit card, to $22k and Accounts payable clerk, $ 22- 26k among many others . Switching to the Miami Herald’s Website ( classifieds you similarly find a list of several dozen related job listings. For example there is a Payroll clerk Doral area, $ 25k an Accounting clerk – City of Hialeah starting at $594 biweekly and Accounting assistant – Miami Lakes area, to $29k.

The Internet also provides numerous fee- based sources of international salary data. For example, William M Mercer Inc ( publishes an annual global compensation planning report summarizing compensation trends for more than 40 countries plus representative pay data for four common benchmark jobs.

Employers usually use salary survey data to price benchmark jobs, around which other jobs are then slotted based on the job’s relative worth. Determining the relative worth of a job is the purpose of job evaluation.

Job evaluation

A systematic comparison done to determine the worth of one job relative to another

Job evaluation is aimed at determining a job’s relative worth. It is formal and systematic comparison of jobs to determine the worth of one job relative to another, and eventually results in wage or salary structure or hierarchy. The basic principle of job’s evaluation in this: Jobs that require greater qualifications more responsibilities and more complex job duties should be paid more highly than jobs with lesser requirements. The basic procedure is to compare the jobs in relation to one another – for example in terms of required effort responsibility and skills. Suppose you know (based on your salary survey) how to price key benchmark jobs, and then use job evaluation to determine the relative worth of all other jobs in your firm relative to these key jobs . You are then well on your way to being able to price all the jobs in your organization equitably.

Compensable factors

A fundamental compensable element of a job, such as skills, effort responsibility and working conditions

You can use two basic approaches to compare several jobs. First, you can take an intuitive approach. You might decide that one job is more important than another and not dig any deeper into why. As an alternative you could compare the jobs by focusing on certain basic factors the jobs have in common. Compensation management specialists call these compensable factors. They are the factors that establish how the jobs compare to one another, and that determine the pay for each job.

Some employers develop their own compensable factors. However, most use factors popularized by packages job evaluation systems or by federal legislation. For example, the Equal Pay Act focuses on four compensable factors — skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions. The method popularized by the Hay consulting firm focuses on three factors: know how problems solving, and accountability. Wal-Mart bases its wage structure on knowledge problem solving kills and accountability requirements.

Identifying compensable factors plays a central role in job evaluation. You usually compare each job with all comparable jobs using the same compensable factors. However, the compensable factors you use depend on the job and the job evaluation method. For example, you might choose to include decision making for a manager’s job though it might be inappropriate for a cleaner’s job.