While salary may not be the #1 issue for someone seeking a job, or for someone looking to improve their current situation, it is certainly an important consideration. In a world where information is power, salary negotiations have long been greatly imbalanced on the side of the employer. But the Internet is changing that, as increasing numbers of Web sites offer salary surveys, job listings with specified pay levels, and even customized compensation analyses. Armed with this data, workers can find their hands strengthened as they haggle over compensation for a new job -- or try to improve their pay at a current job.
HOWEVER, a word of caution must be sounded about "price shopping". It is difficult for an applicant to compare "apples to apples" based on salary alone. There are many other considerations that should be taken into account, including bonus, perks, job responsibility, job setting, location, and work environment. Remember that each company is unique, and will offer it's own brand of incentives, and each position will require it's own skill set. Still, it is good practice to research accepted pay levels for your position, as long as you keep an open mind and don't price yourself out of the market.
For most job seekers, cyberspace pay information merely represents a starting point. Free surveys posted online often provide pay information for a generic position but don't always take into account industry, company size, specific skills, geography -- and demand. These Web sites only tell you if you are in the ballpark, and can stop you from underbidding or overbidding yourself. Remember, though, supply and demand still works both ways, so do be cautious when considering taking a hard position on a specific salary amount unless you are sure your skills put you above the rest of the field.
We have also included links to some sites that compare cost of living and quality of life issues from city to city. Sometimes these factors can weigh heavily in a decision. Keep in mind, however, that cost of living and quality of life are broadly represented on these sites, and can vary significantly from location to location within a city.
||CareerBuilder's free salary calculator
||It's a job board, so take advice with a grain of salt.|
||ERI's Career Salary and
Cost of Living Calculators
|This web site offers a free salary potential calculator and a cost-of-living calculator for over 7,200 U.S., Canadian and international cities.|
||Links to 150 salary surveys
available on the Web.
|Some data are 1996|
or limited to California.
||Cost of living comparison, school reports, moving calculator, other services.
||Some data may be outdated, and cost of living within a city can vary widely.
||Salary calculator based on location; lots of other salary information.
||Take the advice with a grain of salt - Hotjobs is a job listing site, and may not be impartial.
||Tons of information on moving, city profile reports, cost of living, etc.
||City selection can be limited.
||Average salaries for more than 150 clerical, professional and managerial jobs.
||Charge for breakdowns by industry, geography, etc.
||Salary, bonus and options for about 650 management posts.
||Charge for job details.
||Salary calculator depending on location and job title.
||Basic reports free, charge for details, must endure ads.
||Salary calculator, cost of living.
||Basic reports free, charge for details.
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