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The Riley Guide

The Riley Guide: Salary Guides & Guidance

Salary & Compensation Information


Use these to find out how your current compensation rate compares with others in your area. However, be careful not to take this information as fact. Many factors combine to make up the actual pay rate offered by an employer.

General Salary Surveys and Collections

Job Listings

what
job title, keywords
where
city, state, zip
jobs by job search
JobStar Salary Surveys
...originally established for the California job seeker, this site has the largest collection of salary surveys online anywhere. Combined with lists of books to request from your local library and articles from experts like Jack Chapman, this site will lead you in the right directions for your salary search.
Salary.com
...much more than just salary resources, this site is dedicated to not only salaries but total compensation. The Salary Wizard is fast and easy to use, allowing you to search for base, median, and top-level earnings in hundreds of jobs for many occupational areas, and they have much of the data spun to your local jurisdiction. Beyond the Salary Wizard you'll find helpful articles and exercises to help you figure out things like benefits, stock options, bonuses (and how to get them) and even negotiations. Salary.com now offers you the opportunity to purchase a Personal Salary Report. This is a customized report targeted to your local market, your current level of experience, and the industry in which you work. It's also filled with tips and pointers you can use to help you with negotiations and raise requests. In the summer of 2010, Salary.com was bought by Kenexa. I will watch for any possible changes.
CareerBliss
"CareerBliss is a career community dedicated to helping you find happiness in the workplace and therefore in life." This site offers jobs, review of employers by employees, salary information for those same employers by those same employees, and the BlissFinder, their survey of your work situation designed to help you find what makes you happy (or unhappy) about your current job. This also generates the career reviews you see, so be prepared to answer questions. The nice thing is this site does not require you to register to post a review or look at most of the site. You will need to register in order to participate in the Company Q&A, which will also set you up for enewsletters and job alerts if you wish, but this does not include posting a resume, handing over your first born, etc. It's an interesting site trying to do a lot to help people figure out if they are heading into a good situation.
Job Search Intelligence
..."provides statistically defensible compensation data to Job Seekers, Employers, and persons with an interest in precise compensation values." Based in the Los Angeles area, Job Search Intelligence provides free salary data along with some information on employment trends in your region, saturation for your profession, and some other data. They pull their information from various government surveys and package it with something a little different than you find on most salary sites.
NACE Salary Calculator
...provided in partnership with Job Search Intelligence, this offers students a way to evaluate possible earnings based on occupation, location, level of education, and level of experience for free. There is also a module for employers which adds in more detail to help guide you in determining compensation for a position in your organization. Employers are charged a moderate fee for each report requested.

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Government Wage Surveys

Government Reports and Surveys
...use the Occupational Outlook Handbook and individual state Labor Market Information pages to look for prevailing compensation for various occupations.
CareerOneStop.org: Salaries and Benefits Information
All users will appreciate the easy-to-find and easy-to-understand wage and salary information found here under the Wages and Salaries title. Try the "For Occupations" search to quickly find national-level wage data for hundreds of occupations, data which can then be focused on a specific state or metropolitan region. You could also opt to search for this same data starting with a specific location by selecting either By Location or Compare Metro Wages. All of the wage data is provided by the Occupational Employment Statistics program of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, but most users will find this a much more friendly form. Other sections included in this part of CareerOneStop include discussions of Relocation, Unemployment Insurance, Pay for Education & Training (with a very nice article on how earnings improves with education), and Benefits.
Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates for over 800 occupations. These are estimates of the number of people employed in certain occupations, and estimates of the wages paid to them. Self-employed persons are not included in the estimates. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual States, and for metropolitan areas; national occupational estimates for specific industries are also available. As with much of the data produced by BLS, the various reports and datasets can be overwhelming for many users. I suggest starting with the OES Tables as these will present the most relevant data in the most readable fashion. Then if you prefer more detail, you can utilize the full database to create a customized report. The article How Jobseekers and Employers Can Use Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Data during Wage and Salary Discussions (bls.gov/oes/highlight_wage_discussions.htm) offers an excellent discussion of how location and even industry affects earnings and relevant discussions with employers.

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Other Ideas and Resources

Still not finding what you want or need? Try these resources.

Check Career and Occupational Guides
Most career and occupational guides include some broad references to expected earnings for each field or discipline discussed.
Check the various Professional and Trade Associations and Labor Unions
These organizations frequently survey their members to collect salary and wage information, and many trade associations and unions maintain standard pay rates for their locals. If you cannot find information on their web sites, contact the office or local nearest you.
Search US.Jobs (was JobCentral), Careerbuilder, or other major online recruiting sites
Search for jobs that matches your area of interest in the same location you are interested in and see what the pay offers are. Realize that many jobs may have no salaries posted or that they might even be incorrect based on the regional and industry talent market, but they are a place to start. The various specific industry or occupational sites may be even better than these general databases.

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