One of the most common struggles for job seekers is knowing how much they are worth on the open market. Time and time again, recruiting staffs run into this issue with their candidates they are attempting to place with employers.
From undervaluing to overvaluing and everything in between, the struggle to find out just how much a job seeker should be worth when changing jobs has been a difficult one to deal with over the years. However, thanks to the evolution of the internet into a world with more knowledge and data than anyone ever thought possible, the salary struggle is getting easier.
In this week’s “Three for Thursday,” we open up the brand new NexGoal Toolbox to provide you with three recommendations where job seekers can come up with a salary to start their negotiation process. Knowing how much you are worth as a job candidate before you get to the salary negotiation stage with a potential employer could help set the stage for finally making that positive career transition (and salary leap) you have been putting off for years.
First up in our toolbox is a resource you have likely heard of, but probably do not understand the full capability of—PayScale. As you can see in the screenshot below, PayScale is a powerful tool where job seekers can not only see if their current salary is good enough, but they can evaluate job offers they have received and even research salary for other job fields—if they are considering making a career change.
Once you select what you are looking for, you will then have to fill out a brief survey about the field you are in, how much you are currently making and years of experience in the field. You will then have to go on and enter any other skills and job requirements of your current position and other benefits you receive at your current job. In all, the survey takes about 10 minutes to complete.
After completing the survey and answering all of the questions, PayScale then provides you with a snapshot of your salary and benefits and where you rank with those similar to you based on your responses to the questions. It also provides you with a common career path based on others in the same role and where they have advanced to, so you can see the potential path you are on in terms of income potential.
Similar to PayScale, Salary Expert has the option to either check salaries as an employee or as a recruiter/hiring professional. Once you make your selection, you again (like PayScale) have to go through the process of answering questions based on your job and field.
The difference between PayScale and Salary Expert is a clearer picture at the end of what you should be making. Salary Expert tells you at the end “based on the answers you provided, you should average X.” It provides you both a regional average and a national average for the field you are in. It also breaks down what you could make in other individual cities if you decide to move there, and also how much you would need to make in another city to have an equivalent cost of living for that move.
Overall, the information seems to be streamlined a little bit more for what job seekers actually need—instead of all the “bells and whistles” provided by PayScale.
Salary.com is different than both PayScale and Salary Expert, as it focuses more on giving industry data for the jobs and less on tailoring it to survey responses. If you are looking for a quick comparison tool, Salary.com is the way to go—but it may not provide the complete scope a lot of job seekers need for in-depth negotiations.
Once you are on the results page, you can make additional selections to provide more information in an “About You” section. As you add more information about yourself, the projected salary line will move forward or backward to give you a better idea of a projected salary range.
One of the things I am not a fan of with this tool is you cannot add information to the “About the Job” section in the free version. A pop-up will come on the screen telling you industry and company size are not available through the free salary wizard.
All of the aforementioned tools have free and paid versions, but PayScale and Salary Expert provide the most “bang” for your free buck. However, if you do not have 10-15 minutes to take the surveys on that page, going to Salary.com for a quick report to use as a baseline to start your negotiations will be fine.
With this in mind, I would suggest trying out all three of the tools and comparing their results. The more information you can have when going into a salary negotiation the better prepared you will be for any counter offers or hesitation from the hiring manager.