What is a Salary Survey?Chapter Highlights
- What are Salary Surveys?
- Types of data gathered in a salary survey.
- Where can I find salary surveys?
- Choosing the right survey for you. What to look for in a survey.
- Participating in a Survey.
- Conducting in a Survey.
What are Salary Surveys?
Salary Surveys are tools used to determine the median or average compensation paid to employees in one or more jobs. Compensation data, collected from several employers, is analyzed to develop an understanding of the amount of compensation paid. Surveys may focus on one or more job titles, geographic regions, employer size, and or industries. Salary surveys may be conducted by employer associations (e.g., SHRM), survey vendors, or by individual employers.
Survey data is often time sensitive and may become out-of-date quickly. Because of the time sensitive information, surveys are often identified by by the year or quarter in which the data was collected.
The purpose of salary surveys provide a means for comparison of salaries at the company
Several salary survey demos are available at: HR-Survey
Surveys gather and summarize compensation information and provide a means for comparison of salaries at the company.
Types of data gathered in a salary survey
Salary Surveys are analyses of compensation data. This data may include quantifyable aspects of compensation such as:
- Base salaries
- Increase percentages or amounts
- Merit Increases
- Salary Ranges
- Starting Salary
- Allowances and Benefits
- Working Hours
Salary Surveys may also include non-quantifyable aspects of compensation such as:
- Educational Requirements
- Geographic Location
- Source of Hire (Internal/External)
- Working Conditions
Where can I find salary surveys?
List of on-line survey vendors available at HR-Guide
Associations conduct surveys of their members including:
- Society for Human Resource Management
- College and University Personnel Association
Surveys are also available from various government departments including:
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Occupational Compensation Survey
- State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates
Choosing the right survey for you.
How do I choose a salary survey?
What to look for in a survey.
The results of surveys conducted by third parties (e.g., associations, consultants, survey vendors) can be relatively inexpensive compared to the cost of developing the same results your self. Surveys conducted by associations and vendors are often have a large number of participants which results in a more accurate analysis. Before purchasing survey results, you should make sure the results contain:
- Appropriate Jobs
Salary Surveys collect compensation data for one or more jobs (job titles). The jobs may vary depending on industry and or size of employer. For example, some surveys for printing companies may include titles such as: Press Operator, Binding Machine Operator, or Lithographic Press Operator. Job titles specific to the banking industry include: Teller, Cashier, Account Manager, or Investment Manager. Job titles should be have little overlap and should unique titles that describe the job. For example the following job titles: Secretary A, Secretary B, and Secretary C do not adquately describe the heirarchical relationship between the three job titles.
Salary Survey results should contain a summary of the data analysis. This summary is useful for understanding trends that are occurring the labor market.
Is there a minimum number of responses needed before reporting results? Data should not be reported for too few incumbents. Need to report median salary as well as averages. The mean is the average of all numbers divided by the number of responses. The 'mean' can be affected by extreme values. The median is the midpoint with half of the responses are above that number and half fall below. Please note that in salary data, the median tends to be lower than the mean due to the fact that there is no upper limit to the rates that can be paid for a job. However, the lower limit is zero. Therefore, the distribution of salaries tends to be skewed with a few salaries at the extreme high end of the range. Fact: In salary data, the median will almost always be lower than the mean. Explanation.
At a minimum, survey results must be tabulated by Job Title. This means that the average or median salary should be reported separately for each job in the survey (assuming that there were sufficient numbers of participants to make the analysis meaningful). If the survey includes data from a large number of participants, the value of the survey results will be increased if the results can be tabulated by other employer demographics such as: funding type (public/private), industry, geographic region, size (number of employees or financial measure)
Use survey results that will match jobs at your organization within the same industry and/or geographic location.
Participating in a Survey
Have you been asked to participate
in a Salary Survey? If so, you you need to do the following things:
- Identify the response deadline.
Often a salary survey will collect data during a specific time frame so that the results will be created and published on time. Responses that are submitted late may not be accepted by the survey vendor.
- Match Jobs
Matching jobs on the survey questionnaire to your institution - Job matching should be based on several factors:
- Title - The easiest jobs to match on a survey questionnaire are those in your institution that have an identical job title. All companies have a ‘President’ and at least one Secretary. Most have a Director of Marketing, Director of Human Resources, Director of Information Systems, Director of Facilities.
- Organizational Structure - The next easiest technique for matching jobs is to find jobs in your organizational structure that match the implied (or even displayed) stucture on the survey. Often a survey will examine the salary data for jobs at several levels within a career path. For example, the jobs Accountant, Senior Accountant, Director of Accounting, Chief Financial Officer may be included in the same survey questionnaire. The structure of two or more jobs within your institution may closely match the structure of jobs on the questionnaire.
- Job Duties - The most time consuming technique for matching jobs is to match them on the basis of decriptions.
- Determining what data is needed
Lists of employees by job title with salaries
- Backup your Response
Make a photocopy of the completed questionnaire before returning
Conducting in a Survey
If you want to conduct a salary survey. Feel free to request a free customized demo to show you how HR-Survey can assist you with web based software designed specifically for this purpose. Request customized demo here