Knowing where you stand in terms of compensation compared to your coworkers can help you understand your value to the company, whether or not it’s time to ask for a raise, and if you should potentially be looking for a new gig. It can be quite tricky to figure out how your salary stacks up, but lucky for you, there are many options these days for gathering financial intel. Below, find for our top five methods for making sure you’re in the know about where you fall on the pay scale.
1. Know Your Worth™
Get your free, personalized salary estimate with Glassdoor’s latest tool. When you enter in your current job title, employer, current salary, location and years of relevant work experience, you will see the median estimated market value, or the base pay you could command in today’s job market. That’s right. It’s a real-time tool to see what colleagues with your same qualifications can earn, and the number changes as the job market fluctuates. This allows you to see if you’re underpaid or overpaid, and allows you to determine if you want to ask for a raise. It also allows you to think through the other portions of your compensation package, like how much you value benefits, equity or stock options and the perks of the job.
[Related: Complete Know Your Worth Then Try the Salary Explorer™, Too!]
2. Job Listings
Many job listings, including ones on Glassdoor, list the salary or salary range for the position they’re advertising. This practice is most common with government jobs, but is also seen in other industries frequently — especially if you’re accessing job postings through a recruiting service. If you’re able to find a few listings for positions that are similar to yours, take the average and see where your compensation falls. You can also use job listings as a tool to evaluate if people with similar titles have the same duties that you do. If you’ve got way more on your plate than what job descriptions for positions like yours indicate, you’re probably being under compensated.
3. Your Coworkers
While many experts caution against getting too specific with your coworkers about your salaries, speaking in generalities can help you figure out a broader idea of where you stand. Barry Maher, career consultant, speaker and author, notes, “both within the industry and with fellow workers, you have to show them yours before you ask to see theirs. I always advise using the idea of a pay range rather than specific numbers.” He suggests that a way to broach the subject could be to say something like “I’ll be talking with my boss about compensation at some point soon, and I’m just trying to get a rough idea of what I should be looking for. I know the company doesn’t want us to compare salaries and I can see how that benefits them, but I can’t see how it benefits us. To give you an idea of I’m getting right now, it’s roughly (whatever you feel like sharing). Is that the kind of range you’re in as well?” It’s important to note that you may or may not get an answer, and if you do, it might not be 100% true. “But if you’re at all perceptive,” says Maher. “And you carefully watch their reaction, you can often tell from that reaction if they think your number is low or if they’re a bit jealous because it seems high or if it’s just about what they’d expect because they’re in the same range.”
4. Glassdoor Salary Reports/Reviews
Glassdoor has a vast database of self-reported salaries available for browsing—for free! If you aren’t into the idea of asking your coworkers about their compensation in a general way, give our crowdsourced intel a try. Not only can you research pay rates at your current company, but you can also check out your competitors’ stats. Who knows, maybe your company’s rival is more generous with compensation, making a jump over there a no-brainer. Another handy tool Glassdoor offers is a salary estimator. All you have to do to access this is go to Glassdoor.com and click on salaries. Then in the open field for job, just type in your occupation (i.e. nurse or software engineer), and make sure that the city/location field is blank. Once you hit “submit,” you’ll get to see the national average for the job you entered, plus what Glassdoor users say they make. Pretty nifty, huh?
5. Your Network
Personal and professional coach Rachel B. Garrett emphasizes the importance of using your professional contacts to get the full picture on your industry. “Mine your professional network for former colleagues and others who may be hiring managers for positions like yours.” she suggests. “Try to set up informational interviews with these folks and ask about salary range as part of your conversation. I would aim to set up these conversations with a wider context in mind, beyond the topic salary. You never know — you could get a new job out of one of these conversations so you may not need to revisit your less than exciting salary du jour! “