For Gold, Peace, and Freedom


Salary Benchmarking: How to Determine Your Average Job Salary

October 8th, 2009

salary-benchmarking.jpgFrom previous salary benchmarking efforts, you’ve established whether your salary is average for the organization, but is your organization average for the industry? You might be the top-paid press officer in your company, but if your company pays its press officers well below the national average, you can still justify asking for a rise. So you need to benchmark your salary within the industry as well as the company.

How do you do that? Well, it’s not that hard because there’s plenty of information out there. You just have to know where to look. So here are some ideas:

  1. Trade journals and magazines often publish surveys of salaries within the industry. Read them regularly and you might be able to get a good idea of what your profession’s average job salary is for your region.
  2. You can write for information to trade publications or trade bodies, who may well be able to point you towards information even if they don’t have it themselves.
  3. Try an Internet search. Start with a search engine and key in something like ’salary survey’ or ’salary benchmarking’ and the name of your industry. (Make sure you check that the source of the data matches your geographical location as closely as possible — you don’t want to benchmark your salary against some third-world country on the other side of the globe.)
  4. Get the closest industry match you can, but don’t expect miracles. For example, if you work for a water company you may be unable to find a survey of salaries among water company staff, but perhaps you can find a survey of utility companies generally.
  5. Look at recruitment ads in your industry, in the national press, in trade publications and on the Internet to find out what salaries are offered for posts comparable to yours.
  6. Talk to headhunters and recruitment agencies and find out what you could expect to earn elsewhere.
  7. Ask people in other organizations what they earn. They have far less reason to hide the information than your own colleagues do. Maybe you have friends at other companies, or you could talk to people on other exhibition stands at trade fairs. Swap them information about your salary and perks. By the way, it’s a lot less pushy to say ‘What does your organization pay press officers?’ rather than ‘How much do you earn?’

By the time you’ve finished this salary benchmarking process, you should be clear about how your own compensation rate fits in with your own organization, and with the wider industry. Already that tells you whether you’re getting a good rate for the job or a bad one.


Like the research you’ve just done, this is another objective salary benchmarking measure. The question you need to answer is this: how easily could this organization find another person to fill my post competently? We’ll be looking at the subjective side of this later on — whether any replacement could possibly perform as well as you — but at this stage we’re considering market forces. Is the market flooded with experienced people looking for work as press officers, or are they impossible to find? It’s going to be an important factor to your boss in deciding what you’re worth, so you need to have the facts at your fingertips.

Again, you may well glean valuable information from trade publications and recruitment organizations. Presumably you know roughly whether your sort are ten a penny or whether you’re gold dust, but back your case up with hard facts if you possibly can. If you know the average number of qualified applicants per vacancy in your field, you’ve got a good guide to your replaceability.

The fact is — unfair though it may seem — your value is largely determined by this kind of impersonal factor which takes no account of your individual merits. But forewarned is forearmed. If you can establish that there are thousands of eager and skilled people out there ready to step into your shoes, at least you know how much work you have to do to show your boss that you’re worth ten of any one of them.

So those are the two objective guides to your value that you need to establish: are you already being paid a fair wage for the job, and how easy is it to find someone else who can fill your post?

Furnish facts

Never lose sight of your boss’s point of view. If they give you a rise, they’ll have to justify it to their boss. So after you have done your salary benchmarking research, encourage them by making it easy for them. Find hard facts for them to use, for example, ‘According to a survey by so-and-so, eight out often PR managers said they had trouble finding experienced press officers’. This should increase your chances of procuring a better than average job salary.

This article was obtained as part of a compilation of private label rights articles, probably originating from authors in the UK.

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