How can I determine the average salary rate for my position?
There are a few ways to analyze this:
Use salary websites such as Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com or bls.gov (for jobs in the USA). Salary websites will usually take into account your job title, years of experience, and location.
Keep in mind that they will sometimes lump benefits in with the salary figure shown, so the dollar amount presented may be larger than what you should ask for depending on what benefits the company offers.
Surveying people (colleagues/recruiters) in the same locality or even company. To avoid asking someone their salary directly (because that is not polite), you can ask them what range someone with their skillset/experience would typically get.
Interviewing and actually getting offers. This would be before you negotiate with them; if you have multiple written offers, it is easy to compare.
What statistics affect the sort of salary I can ask for?
Location: This is one of the biggest things that affects the sort of salary you can ask for. Some factors that play a role include:
- Supply/Demand - A place that has a high demand and a low supply will obviously pay more than a location with a low demand and a high supply.
- Cost of Living - Some cities have a very high cost of living, so many jobs there will pay a higher salary than a place with a low cost of living.
- Taxes - A company is likely to pay you a lower rate in a location that has lower taxes. For example, in the US there are 7 states where you don't pay state taxes, or if you are working as an expatriate in some countries, you may not have to pay taxes at all.
Experience: Someone with a lot of experience is in higher demand than someone with no experience, so they can ask for a higher salary since multiple companies are usually competing for their skills.
Education: Your degree does not entitle you to have a higher salary rate, however the degree is supposed to be proof that you have the knowledge and skills typically required for a job. As with experience, someone with a degree is usually in higher demand than someone without a degree, and it can often be used to negotiate a higher salary.
Skill Set: Companies want someone with skills to match the job they're hiring for, so if you have the exact skills they're looking for, you might be able to ask for a higher rate than if you only had related skills.
In addition, some skills are rarer to find than others, so if you have a rare language on your resume, then you may be able to ask for more than if you had a common one.
Telecommuting: You may get less money since some companies factor in cost-of-living/travel expenses into the salary
Company Size: Larger corporations and government agencies, especially ones with unions, tend to have the best benefits packages although this usually comes with a lower salary.
Smaller companies will tend to offer fewer benefits but will often compensate for this with higher pay or other perks
Do employment benefits play a role in the salary amount I should ask for?
Absolutely. Here are some common benefits which often affect the dollar amount of your salary
- In some countries, healthcare is provided by the government, so that can affect your salary
- If you work as an independent contractor, you may get more money since the company is not paying for your healthcare.
- Some companies pay more for health benefits than other companies so you may have to pay more out of pocket even if you have a higher salary
401k matching/stock options
- Not every company provides these benefits
Earned Time off/Vacation
- For contractors or people with no ETO, there is a dollar amount attached to each time you take a day off
- If you have more time off available, this can be factored into the salary since you are, in a sense, being paid to not work.
- A small number of employers offer Defined Benefit pensions (pension is calculated on number of years of service x a multiplier)
- Some countries enforce pension contributions - which impacts your take home pay