Is Your Salary Market Data Accurate and Valid?

by Melanie Williams on September 23, 2019

in SalaryTrends

Numbers And Finance

Where does the salary market data you are using come from? Are the companies that participate in the data comparable to your organization? Who compiled the data and audited it for accuracy? When was the data pulled? All of these and more should be questions asked when using salary market data to inform your organizational pay practices.

With the internet at our fingertips, it is easy to find free salary data. But if that is what you are using to establish your pay levels, take caution that you might not be getting the most accurate information. Internet data is most often self-reported or crowdsourced and can be quite inaccurate.

Self-reported data is usually based on job title alone and as HR professionals know, job titles and job descriptions can vary greatly. An Office Manager in one industry may have very different job duties than an Office Manager in another industry. By using a reputable salary survey source such as Salary Trends™ you will know that the job duties are aligned for the reported data. The duties can be aligned by industry, company size, as well as company revenue. With the objective third party data, you will know that the data reported is comparing apples to apples, in that the job descriptions are similar even if the job titles may differ.

Additionally, it isn’t uncommon for self-reported data to be inflated, as individuals may report a miscalculated annual base salary, omit incentives and/or bonuses, or even purposely inflate for personal reasons. With professionally sourced data you’ll know that there is no bias involved with what is reported and the data is valid and reliable. When Cascade compiles data for its surveys, it goes through a lengthy process to ensure the data is accurate, valid and reliable.

Finally, with self-reported or crowdsourced data you can’t be sure of the age of the data. When reviewing a job title from a free online source you can’t be certain that the data being provided is current. It may be that you are looking at data that is a year or more old. By using a professionally sourced salary survey source like Salary Trends™ you will know the effective date of your data and can be confident that the data is current.

It is also important to gather data from multiple reliable salary sources to ensure you are obtaining a complete picture of the market. Different surveys may report on different companies and may break down data uniquely.

When an average 70% of gross revenues is spent on employee salaries and benefit costs, being confident about how employees are being paid is imperative. Using reliable salary survey data ensures that you can be competitive in the market and stay on top of the trends. Knowing that the data you are using to set salaries and incentives is current, accurate, and reliable can bring peace of mind to your employees and bottom line.

If you are interested in obtaining our reliable salary survey data or having our Compensation Team perform a market analysis for you using multiple reliable salary sources, contact Cascade Employers Association today.

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