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What should your compensation be?
Old 07-19-2010, 12:14 PM   #1
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What should your compensation be?

Somewhat of a taboo subject at my megacorp... I wonder what you are doing to figure out what your compensation should be (or what you used to do when you were working)?

Aside from your management chain do (did) your other coworkers know about your salary, how a big a raise you got this year, how big of a bonus, etc? Do you know about theirs? How?

What other methods do you use? Any good websites (aside from salary.com)?

==========================

In my case, I have 1-2 trusted coworkers with whom I share periodically whether they or I got bonuses/options/raises during the usual time of the year. We get as far as talking percentages but not actual numbers, so I have no idea how much they are making. I also only have suspicions about how I compare to the average comparable person in our megacorp, but really don't know for sure...

For what it's worth, on every "handout" I get from management for many years now, I get a lot of praises and the standard "this year we did not have much to go around, but we were able to get you ... " line. This happens both with what I think are large and small raises, but I guess I never know for sure how large is "large" and how small is "small"... Is that x% raise really good or not really? hmm...

P.S. In my search, I came across some small county which listed 100s of its employees on the internet along with everyone's salary, benefits, etc. So, I guess it's not a taboo subject everywhere after all...

P.P.S. Well, one good method of finding out your overall compensation goal is interviewing periodically with other companies. If you do this, how often do you do this? Do you get any references from your current coworkers?
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:19 PM   #2
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My sister used to work for a county in Oregon.... all salaries, and I mean all salaries were posted online with names... so everybody knew what you made..

someone posted a link for Texas recently... it was interesting to see...
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:37 PM   #3
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I have never concerned myself much with what my co-workers are making. My main concern is whether I am happy with what I am making. I know how much I need to make in order to cover my expenses and how much I need for savings and fun money. My experience when co-workers spend too much time comparing what they make to what they think others make is that it usually leads to bad feeling and is rarely productive.

At one place I worked, a co-worker was so intent on finding out what others made in our company that she broke into the HR filing cabinet after-hours. Maaaaan did the poop hit the fan the next day when she was found out.
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Old 07-19-2010, 12:56 PM   #4
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I have never concerned myself much with what my co-workers are making. My main concern is whether I am happy with what I am making.
Exactly. I made my deal, and they made theirs.

Life Isn't Fair, so if a comparison showed some inequity, so what? You do what you can to deserve a promotion or more goodies, but don't expect total fairness.

You can accumulate more by controlling your expenses than by attempts to control your management.
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Old 07-19-2010, 02:22 PM   #5
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I know how much I need to make in order to cover my expenses and how much I need for savings and fun money.
Is there such a thing as "how much I need for savings"? I guess there is if you know you don't want to retire until you are some certain age, but for me, the sooner I reach FI, the better...

But point well taken, that not caring about whether others a making more than you performing same duties may not be a bad perspective either...

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Originally Posted by W2R View Post
so if a comparison showed some inequity, so what?
I guess for me knowing where I really stand seems like a useful bit of knowledge... If I can sell my services for higher pay, whether at the same company or not, I'd like to know about that. If am I already at the highest rate they can give me, there is not much point asking for more or discussing it, and them thinking what more can he possibly want. If I am at the low range, I can discuss options with management without being unreasonable.

Also, if you are not getting bonuses / options, then it speaks volumes of where you are as well...
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Compensation link for Texas?
Old 07-19-2010, 03:41 PM   #6
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Compensation link for Texas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
My sister used to work for a county in Oregon.... all salaries, and I mean all salaries were posted online with names... so everybody knew what you made..

someone posted a link for Texas recently... it was interesting to see...

Can you please repost the link for Texas? I searched the forums and couldn't find it. And, the county in Oregon.
Thanks.
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Old 07-19-2010, 04:28 PM   #7
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Use glassdoor.com and payscale.com to see how you compare salarywise to your own company and for similiar jobs at other companies.

It's always worth knowing in order to negotiate a higher raise.

Edit: use brightscope.com to see how your 401k compares also.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:43 PM   #8
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Many years ago, I looked at an IEEE member salary survey to see where I fared. The survey broke down the salary into regions, highest degree earned, years of experience, and job specialties. I was about the middle of the pack, if I remember correctly.

Then, someone suggested that perhaps IEEE members who took the time to fill out the survey might tend to be in the higher range already. I thought that might make sense. So, who really knows?

The only way to see what you are really worth is to go look for jobs, and to see what you get offered. One thing I am sure of is that people with a highly specialized expertise may get paid good money, but then might not have that great a mobility. There are simply fewer employers who need someone like that.
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Old 07-19-2010, 07:59 PM   #9
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Go out and interview. Look for a job that suits you. If they offer more, take it or ask your company to match it. Big raises come from two things - a new job or a promotion. Everything else is usually peanuts unless you're on a commission plan.

I agree with the other posters. Comparing your salary to anyone else in your org is meaningless. Most Megacorps have a salary range for each job type. Ask HR for it or look on your intranet. Typically, the lower you are in the range, the higher your raise for the same performance rating.
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:03 PM   #10
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Throughout my career my coworkers (programmer, engineers, and later managers) and I shared salary, bonus and raise info freely (although management told us we should not). It seemed ridiculous not to, given the usefulness of it. There were some interesting surprises at times.
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:17 AM   #11
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I think it's very important to know what your market value as an employee is. The employer has a large information advantage (since they know everybody's salary at the company) and they may have access external data feeds with salary data. This puts an employee at a big disadvantage during salary negotiations. To the extent that there is a gap between the minimum that you will accept and the maximum that the company is willing to pay, a lack of information may mean leaving money on the table.

One colleage of mine recently received several job offers for significantly more than his current pay (+30%). At his pay level (probably on the order 100k) a 30% pay raise might mean being able retire 1 year earlier for every year worked at his new salary level. In my view, this is very significant.

I've found it very difficult to get good salary information and websites are often too generic. I briefly checked payscale and the salaries quoted didn't seem very accurate. I suspect the IEEE salary data is probably pretty good (but I haven't been a member for years) and you need to pay to access it which I am too cheap to do right now .

Many people are naturally hesitant to share this information and it is generally considered taboo to even ask. However, one thing that might be useful is working with a recruiter and finding out from them the general ranges.
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:04 AM   #12
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If I'm working my a$$ off, I want to get paid appropriately. Absent other factors (see below), an extra 5% in total compensation a year will add up to a lot of extra savings (even after tax) and will enable you to retire sooner should you wish to do so. Knowledge is power.

Of course there will be exceptions. Experience is more important than money in the early stages of some careers. if you work for a non-profit organisation money is most likely a secondary factor. Probably others.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:44 AM   #13
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It seems likely that you are paid what you are worth to your employer. If you disagree, the safest path is to go out interviewing as others have suggested. If you are brave, you can bring this issue up with your boss. He has a couple of ways he can surprise you.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:10 AM   #14
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When I was still wor*ing, everybody knew about what everybody else made in the non-executive salary area, since our titles were tied to a salary range (as determined by Hays points). Of course, the senior executives had their indivudial contracts and the only way you knew their ranges were through the annual reports, along with possible performance bonus pay/options.

That being the case, you could easily determine what the next wage progression would be, for any posted opening in the lower ranks.

In practice, discussion of salary was cause for dismissal. Their company, their rules (don't like it, you have two options; the front door or the back door )....
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:08 AM   #15
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I agree that you have to make your own deal, and then work to be deserving of your compensation.

In my experience, you don't get a raise unless you ask for it. In one case, I asked for a raise, was told I deserved it, but they "just didn't work that way". That was an extremely valuable discussion, because I learned I was working for the wrong company (for me).

However, it's always interesting to know what other people make, so here's a link to what all public employees in Utah make:

Utah's Right To Know

Search or browse by City, University, School, School District, etc. You should be able to find someone with your job (Lawyer, Engineer, Teacher, Software Engineer, Doctor, etc.).

Hours of fun for everyone!
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:45 AM   #16
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Try Salary.com. If your profession isn't shown, then you need to go to your professional society to see what their members report.

HR managers often compare local salaries for like jobs to set the salary ranges. If you know someone in HR who works with comp, you can also ask and see if they'll tell you a range.

-- Rita

PS Don't ask anyone in HR in your own company.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:53 PM   #17
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Exactly. I made my deal, and they made theirs.
I agree.

It used to be, if I was keeping up with the new grads (U of Michigan annual report), I was happy.

Now I am a contractor. We talk to each other and our agents. We can even ask what range a company is interested in paying. I like making twice what my chained-to-the-company peeps make.
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:14 AM   #18
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My comp is published in a European version of a Proxy statement, as is that of my peers in megacorp. I feel I am more or less fairly paid vs others in our megacorp and competitively compensated compared to similar levels at other megacorps.

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Old 07-21-2010, 07:55 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by CyclingInvestor View Post
Throughout my career my coworkers (programmer, engineers, and later managers) and I shared salary, bonus and raise info freely (although management told us we should not). It seemed ridiculous not to, given the usefulness of it. There were some interesting surprises at times.
Sharing info on compensation can be good or bad. The neutral thing is that you know where you stand relative to others. The good thing is that you are well or fairly compensated. On the contrary, the bad thing is that you are making less than others. It would be very difficult, if not impossible, to ask for more unless you are willing to jump ship.
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:59 AM   #20
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P.P.S. Well, one good method of finding out your overall compensation goal is interviewing periodically with other companies.
That will not be useful since they will not disclose the actual compensation unless they actually make you an offer.
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