Are You Paying Right?

By Subadhra Sriram

People have been paid salaries since the Neolithic Revolution.  You’d think we would have got the salary phenomenon figured out by now.

Much has been said about salary negotiations, benchmarking etc., but managers and workers still dread those salary conversations.  So how do you know whether you are paid right or paying right? How do you know the pay that contingent worker is demanding is fair? To help with those kinds of questions, Staffing Industry Analysts recently investigated a few free salary and wage information online sources to see which were easy to use and produced reliable information.

To name a few, and were both user friendly and offered detailed information. Of course, some data sources are better than others for specific things. For example, don’t go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for IT data—they still lump the great variety of javascript, C++, Ruby on Rails, etc. programmers into just “programmers”. However, if you want information on blue-collar jobs, the BLS has those in detail by the hundreds.

Of course if you are willing to pay, there are more sources available.  Price notwithstanding, the biggest criteria to choose a data source is to understand what information you is looking for.  Some sites are better for certain type of jobs than others.  For example, was the only source to offer pay rate data by occupation for specific companies and is therefore valuable while has historical wage data and the greatest breadth of job titles.

At the end of the day, it’s important for companies to pay their workers the right amount of money. Haggling about pay could mean the loss of a good motivated worker. On the other hand, you don’t want to be overpaying your contingents. While these data sources are based on W-2 workers, in the absence of better information the data given is at least a starting point for estimating the right contingent pay, and getting pay right could mean the difference between maintaining your competitive edge—and losing out to more wage-savvy competitors.

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