Negotiating Salary Research Tools

Finding Out What the Jobs You Want Pay

Focused salary survey information delineated by industry and job function is available online. Salary comparison tools allow you to evaluate a new job offer or see how your current job ranks with the average salary for similar jobs in your industry. The best way to find salary information is to use these tools to analyze your credentials and to analyze salaries for the jobs and industries you're interested in. Review several surveys to get an overall perspective of the career field you're interested in. provides information either by job title or by zip code, industry and company size. We found difficulty finding information about smaller communities outside big cities. Also you have to sign up for a free trial account to get the information.'s Salary Calculator has type in occupation and location; gives low, high and average range. PayScale allows users to enter specific information such as geography, experience level, certifications and whether the job is with a nonprofit, government, a small business or a large company. Click on the Salary Charts tab to see a breakdown by yearly salary, or hourly rate, bonuses, average number of vacation weeks by experience, and a host of others. a popular job search site also provides a salary calculator. Simply type in the job and location. It is simple and straightforward and also compares the salary date given to the national average. We checked both rural areas and small towns and got information for every inquiry.

One complaint that is sometimes heard about these salary survey tools is that the posted job title and job responsibilities don't match what you are looking for. Be aware that employers sometimes get confused when posting ads and that you might have to broaden your search.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good place to find job titles matched up with job descriptions. Its Occupational Outlook Handbook provides information about hundreds of jobs and includes the training and education needed; earnings; expected job prospects what workers do on the job; and working conditions. Use the Occupational Outlook Handbook Search Index to find a specific occupation or click on a letter to browse a list of occupations. You can then match the responsibilities and job title yourself.

There are 13 major occupational clusters in the Handbook including management, business and finance, sales, service, production, farming, armed services, office and administrative support and construction. To find out about many occupations, browse through listings using the Occupations links that are on the left side of each page. For a listing of all occupations in alphabetical order, go to the A-Z Index and select a letter.

Job postings and ads on the Internet, in newspapers and in trade journals are also helpful for checking the job salary range. For a unique job, look at job sites specific to your occupation, i.e. nurses should check healthcare workers job sites.

Experts also recommend talking to people in your field. With the plethora of professional social networking sites, it is easy to find a connection to someone who works in the target company or similar company who can answer your questions.

Another source is professional networking meetings. Most occupations have professional associations. You can find them on the web as well as a schedule of meetings. When attending a meeting one question to ask of someone already employed at your target company or a similar one is "What kind of salary could someone like me expect at your company?"

International Salary Calculator. Select a country or city, then a job title, to get a salary range and average salary.

Valuing the Benefits Package

Your job offer will be composed of a salary figure and benefits package. Employment benefits can comprise 40%, or even more, of your total compensation package so it's important to know exactly what benefits you will be provided with and to get enough benefit information to ensure that the coverage is what you need.

Employee benefits vary across companies but typically include things like your health plans, disability benefits, life insurance options, retirement benefits and paid vacation time. Look at the companies Fortune magazine rated the best places to work. You'll discover many offer health club memberships, flexible schedules, day care, tuition reimbursement, and even on-site dry cleaning

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average number of annual paid holidays is 10. The average amount of vacation days are 9.4 after a year of service. Almost half the (medium and large) employers surveyed offered either a defined benefit or a defined contribution pension plan. About 75% offered health insurance but, almost as many, required some employee contribution towards the cost.

The average number of perks offered by companies range from 3.38 perks at the smallest employers to 5.20 perks at firms with over 5000 employees. A sure sign that employers are paying attention to the importance of added benefits is the fact that the most frequently offered perks mirror the most frequently desired perks - casual dress and flexible work hours.

Evaluating the entire compensation package includes benefits. Compute the dollar worth of these benefits and add this figure to the base salary for a more accurate compensation amount..

One source for information about benefits costs is the National Compensation Survey - Employment Cost Trends by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, we found it somewhat daunting to use.

Another source is Benefits Calculator use this tool to help calculate your total compensation package (base plus bonuses plus benefits). Enter your gross salary and industry, and it will provide information about employer dollar costs for Social Security, Health Insurance, Disability Insurance, 401K contributions, pension and time off.

How Far Will Your Salary Go?

You need to know what the salary figure you have researched will actually net you in take home pay to ensure you will have enough to meet your financial needs. The amount you will take home in your paycheck depends on deductions for federal, state, and local taxes. Paycheck Calculator will help you determine how much your paycheck will be after deductions, exemptions and taxes.

Improving the Offer

Your ability to get a salary offer improved will depend a lot on how the company is doing financially. Company Salary Information. A free inside look at jobs and companies. This is the place to find out a company's culture and compensation packages. Find jobs and see company salaries, reviews, and interviews - all posted anonymously by employees.

Publicly traded companies put their financial data on their Web sites, and you can search for it on sites like Yahoo Finance.

Vault Career also purports to have inside company information salary and benefits data but you have to buy a membership to get access to it. A one year subscription is $9.95 per month and a three month subscription is $14.95 per month.

How Far Will Your Salary Go if You Have to Move

Another set of useful tools compare your salary at your current locale with equivalent positions in other areas. Keep in mind that the cost-of-living varies widely throughout the country. If you earned $25,000 a year in Boulder, Colorado, for example, you would need to earn $50,000 to live in New York City just to break even.'s Cost-of-Living Wizard compares living-cost indexes and salary differentials to help you make an informed comparison. Learn how your disposable income will be affected by relocation between any combination of 300-plus U.S. cities. The Cost-of-Living Wizard also reports the salary adjustment needed to maintain your standard of living, and what salary increase or decrease is likely given local market factors.

Use Cost of Living Calculator to determine how much your current salary is worth in a new city and to compare the cost of living between two different cities. It lets you know what equivalent salary you will need in a new location. There are limitations. Usually there are a limited number of options per state which may not cover the areas in which you are interested.

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