The amount of money a person earns is often a taboo subject, especially among co-workers and particularly in American culture. Whether due to social faux pas or company policy, finding out what others in your position and industry earn for a yearly salary can be tough to figure out. While it may not make much of a difference when you are happily employed, it can be an important bit of knowledge to arm yourself with when your actively on the hunt for a new job.
Luckily, you don’t have to ask uncomfortable questions to get a fair idea of what you are worth in today’s job market. Several websites exist that will give you a range of salaries for your title. Some are even specific enough to tell you exactly what others with your job title are making per year in your geographic area. We have listed a few of the most reliable here for your reference. Knowing what is a fair wage for your experience level can be a significant asset when it comes to negotiating salary with your future employer.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists thousands of occupations and reports data collected during the U.S. Census to show what people in specific industries and occupations are earning. While it does not provide a chart listing how experience or education impacts salary, it does allow you to see what the top and bottom 10% of people earned, as well as the average salary for the position and industry. You can also do a customized search based on your metropolitan area and see how salaries for the same title vary by industry. This can be a great tool for recent grads that are deciding on how to put their degree to the most profitable use.
Salary.com provides a very detailed, but time consuming, means of determining your value in the marketplace. This customizable search requires you to enter information about your experience, geographical location and education to calculate a personalized report showing the earnings you should expect to receive. The process takes a few minutes to complete, but the information provided appears to be accurate when compared against the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics website. One of the best features of Salary.com is that you can search for salary rates in smaller towns, as well as big cities.
PayScale.com works much the same way as Salary.com, but it has an added feature that makes it worth checking out before you go into salary negotiations. Career salaries can be displayed based on the company name. PayScale.com collects data by other users on a confidential basis, allowing others inside the company to report their earnings for others to see without showing the employees name. If you are interviewing with a specific company, looking up the career salaries before negotiations begin can give you a very in depth look at what your future co-workers are earning so you can be sure to negotiate on par with the team.
Most people know Indeed as a job search engine, but it also has a wealth of tools for researching the number of open job listings and for determining average salaries for particular positions. Their data is driven from real job listings at employers across the county, so it’s objective. If you cross-reference the salary of the position that you are interested in with the availability of that job, you can determine viable positions for your qualifications.
Of course, breaking into your HR department or rooting through your colleagues’ folders is still a bit more exciting. Good luck out there!