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Demystifying Salary Information

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the leverage dept.

Businesses 184

Arun Jacob points us to an article in the NYTimes about online tools that can help in salary negotiations. The article concentrates on two websites — Salary.com and Payscale.com — that use different approaches to provide information on standard compensation packages for particular positions and roles. The theory is that, armed with information that was once available only to corporate HR departments, you could have an easier time negotiating your pay using a fact-based rather than a feelings-based approach.

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184 comments

my two cents (4, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246622)

you could have an easier time negotiating your pay using a fact-based rather than a feelings-based approach.

Tip #1: get salary info from friends with similar experience in a similar job before the interview Tip #2: whoever mentions a number first, loses.

Re:my two cents (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246676)

Tip #1: get salary info from friends with similar experience in a similar job before the interview Tip #2: whoever mentions a number first, loses.
 
This reminds me of selling a car. How much do you want? Make me an offer. Whats the lowest youll take? Make me an offer...

Re:my two cents (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246728)

I tried that with a hooker once, but when she said $500 I completely lost my train of thought.

Re:my two cents (4, Funny)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248338)

Remindes me:

A guys walks up to a pretty girl at a bar.

"Would you sleep with me for a million dollars?"

She looks him up and down, "Well, OK"

"Well, then, would you sleep with me for a dollar?"

"Hell no, what sort of girl do you think I am" she replies.

"I think we have already established that, now we are just working out price!"

Re:my two cents (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247514)


>This reminds me of selling a car. How much do you want? Make me an offer. Whats the lowest youll take? Make me an offer...

I had a domain name that people kept asking if I'd sell. "Make me an offer", I'd say. "How much do you want?" they'd say. I wouldn't even reply.

Finally, somebody offered to do an escrow.com trade for $10G. I went for it. Can't believe they way people won't say what they will pay for stuff. I'm not from a culture that haggles, so it's not really something I know how to do, as some people seem to have a skill, or even a passion, for. It just annoys the hell out of me, and I end up either keeping my stuff, or else walking away from purchases, all the time.

Re:my two cents (2)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248128)

Well, I'm an idiot. I had a domain name that someone asked me if I'd sell. I never got around to putting up the site that I had planned to, so I just gave it away. (drunkreport.com :)

Then again, the guy actually put up a site and keeps it updated, so I guess he put a lot more into it, than I did just by thinking of the name first.

Re:my two cents (1)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248422)

Well, I'm an idiot. I had a domain name that someone asked me if I'd sell. I never got around to putting up the site that I had planned to, so I just gave it away. (drunkreport.com :) Then again, the guy actually put up a site and keeps it updated, so I guess he put a lot more into it, than I did just by thinking of the name first.

Well if you have anymore domains youd like to give away Ill takem. No, no dont thank me.

Re:my two cents (2, Interesting)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246686)

Mentioning a number doesn't have to be to your disadvantage. I usually shy away from it, but in this current position I named a number -- about 5% more than what I actually wanted -- as the bottom of my range, and that's what I ended up getting offered (plus a 10% annual bonus). You just have to be liberal.

(And this is for work for a major staffing company).

Re:my two cents (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246886)

So how do you know mentioning a number didn't work to your disadvantage? In a negotiation getting the first deal you ask for isn't a great sign.

Re:my two cents (4, Insightful)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246992)

Mentioning a number doesn't have to be to your disadvantage. I usually shy away from it, but in this current position I named a number -- about 5% more than what I actually wanted -- as the bottom of my range, and that's what I ended up getting offered (plus a 10% annual bonus). You just have to be liberal.

(And this is for work for a major staffing company).


Ummm... I'm not sure why you suggest that this worked to your advantage. You named a number which was obviously well within their comfort zone or they would have had to decline it or negotiate it. If they had named the first number, it might have been higher since you don't know the full range of their comfort zone. It's also possible that their initial offer would have been lower, but you could still negotiate past your goal. Once you have named a number, then they know that they won't need to offer anything higher. You will never be able to negotiate higher than your first offer. Likewise, if you are offering a job, when you go first, you can never negotiate lower than your initial offer because the candidate knows you can do better.

Re:my two cents (1)

Phreakiture (547094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248840)

Let me point out one other useful tactic. If you get them to mention a number first, flinch. It's just that simple. Flinch the second they mention a number. It puts the person on the other side of the negotiation table out of their comfort zone (assuming that this person is not a total sociopath).

It doesn't just work with salary negotiations, either. It also works with buying or selling a vehicle, or any other case where the price of something is negotiated.

Re:my two cents (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18249168)

The parent poster named a salary that was higher than the minimum he or she was comfortable with. If you get the salary you want (or better), shouldn't that be sufficient? Or are people today just not happy until they make everyone else bleed?

-M

Re:my two cents (2, Insightful)

freeweed (309734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249344)

Sometimes, it's not all about nickel and diming your way to the absolute maximum possible salary. Sometimes, it's actually possible to be fairly compensated without resorting to psychological games with your employer.

If I'm happy and the employer's happy, it makes for a far more plesant salary negotiation than imagining my employment contract to be akin to haggling over a used car.

Re:my two cents (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247770)

Mentioning a number doesn't have to be to your disadvantage. I usually shy away from it, but in this current position I named a number -- about 5% more than what I actually wanted -- as the bottom of my range, and that's what I ended up getting offered (plus a 10% annual bonus). You just have to be liberal.

I really hate it when people equate the term "liberal" with being stupid or a sucker, but man you sure were a sucker.

It isn't about what you want -- we all want to be millionaires and have 3 playmates for girlfriends living in the house next door. It was about extracting the maximum possible - never leaving anything on the table. You picked a number and they agreed to it, they didn't even try to negotiate you down, they even threw in a 10% bonus. All those things say that your starting number was so pathetically low that you probably left tens of thousands per year on the table which they were happy to keep for themselves.

As an employee for a "major staffing company" you would do well to find out how much they bill their clients for your time. I guarantee it is 150% at the barest minimum and much more likely in the 200%-300% range. Once upon a time I had a gig in the professional services arm of a very High Priced computer vendor. I discovered that they were billing their clients more than 5x the hourly equivalent of my salary - for every $5 they billed, I only got $1. Now I work independent and I bill the exact same rate as that vendor does, but now it all goes in my pocket. If you are good at what you do, you can do the same.

Re:my two cents (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246862)

I like to go with the current market rate.
I don't want to make too much (and get laid off) and I don't like getting paid too little (I'll lay them off).

Ways to avoid having to mention a number, politely (5, Interesting)

patio11 (857072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247014)

* You're in a much better position to evaluate my worth to the company than I am. (I *love* this one.)
* I am sure we can come to something mutually satisfactory. What would you suggest?
* I will entertain any offer commesurate with my skills and experience. (I don't like this one -- concentrate on them, not you.)

Ways to counteroffer:

* That figure could be workable with a few minor modifications to the contract. Lets table it for a moment and discuss...
* I have a comparable offer in hand from another firm but would much rather work for $YOU. Does $YOU have any money in the budget to increase that offer so we can make this happen? (Note the phrasing: HR Man has an ego just like you do, and doesn't want to say "Oh no, we're poor" to justify paying you less. He works for a big, strong company for which an extra $X,000 is a drop in the bucket! Hah, take that, applicant who doubted our financial health!)
* I could quite possibly be pleased with that number, depending on the other specifics of the offer. Where does this fit into the big picture?
* I notice you have offered me a $PERK. That is not that important to me. Could we perhaps eliminate $PERK in favor of increasing my base compensation?
* I notice that you have not offered me $PERK. I am rather more interested in it than I am in my base compensation number. What level of $PERK do you think would be appropriate? (listen) That is almost what I had in mind, but keeping in mind that I am accepting a lower base compensation in return for $PERK, perhaps we could do a little better. I know $PERK is cheaper for you than increasing my base compensation because $PERK doesn't cause my total cost of employment, for example taxes, future raises, and overhead, to increase linearly like base compensation does (listen). Sounds great.

These assume that the initial offer was roughly in line with your expectations. I once got offered $30,000 and poor benefits when I was expecting a package in the neighborhood of $55,000. That calls for a firm handshake and a "Thank you for your time, we'll be in touch."

Re:Ways to avoid having to mention a number, polit (4, Funny)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247346)

You: "I notice that you have not offered me $PERK, where $PERK is an unsigned integer variable, 4 bytes long, automatically allocated on the stack.
HR: "?? WTF ??"

Another way to avoid giving a precise number (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18247424)

As a job candidate, when I am asked about the salary I expect to receive, I often respond by giving a wide range, e.g. $70,000-$95,000. This way the potential employer knows that I believe I am worth up to 95k, while this lets him know that I am ready to work for as low as 70k. The employer often give you an offer slightly above the lower end, so choose it to represent what you want. In the end, the employer feels like he hired someone worth 95k for *only* 70k :-)

Re:my two cents (5, Interesting)

SocialWorm (316263) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247042)

Tip #2: whoever mentions a number first, loses

I've heard this a lot, and I'm genuinely curious: has anyone ever actually done a study to figure out how going first affects negotiations and haggling? It shouldn't be too hard, at a minimum, to set up a small experiment in which person A has something that's worth about $5, person B actually has $5, tell them to trade, and then observe how going first or second affects the average result.

You can't always trust folk wisdom, and such an experiment, or carefully conducting a survey, seems so straightforward that I find it hard to believe no one's done it before.

Re:my two cents (1)

ensignyu (417022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247920)

I have no problem haggling with some random person over $5. I would be extremely cautious haggling with my boss over large sums of money. Your experiment might have interesting things to say about $5 negotiations but you'd have a hard time extrapolating to other amounts.

The art of salary negotiation ... (2, Insightful)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248004)

I would be extremely cautious haggling with my boss over large sums of money.

... is knowing where a "large sum" begins for the boss.

Re:my two cents (3, Insightful)

senatorpjt (709879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248140)

I've heard this a lot, and I'm genuinely curious: has anyone ever actually done a study to figure out how going first affects negotiations and haggling?

Sounds like a game called "Poker". You may have heard of it, I hear it's becoming popular.

Re:my two cents (1)

uglydog (944971) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249672)

So, are you saying going first helps or doesn't?

Being the first to bet can confer an advantage. Everyone has to at least match you to stay in the game, so you set the standard.

I don't mind naming a figure. I think I know what I'm worth. I look at what people are offering for the position and talk to people (my friends say I'm worthless). If I don't get the figure, I keep looking. I will compromise on the figure if the position is exceptionally interesting, but that's worth at most 10%, usually only 5%.

Re:my two cents (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248842)

There are likely 25+ economic theories about this and probably twice that many psychological studies (both experimental and non-experimental) on such things. If you really want to know then just look for them, starting in either a psychology or economics books to find initial references.

Re:my two cents (3, Insightful)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247276)

The salary surveys are good if you are moving from one region to another. You need to have some way to know the market rate if you are moving to a new area.

This is a good tip I got once, and it works for most types of negotiating: Always be willing to walk away if you don't get what you want. That means if you don't get what you want, really walk away and don't look back. If they really want you, they will follow and compromise and you win. If they don't, you won't feel bad about getting less than you want. That doesn't mean you might not haggle a bit with them. What it does mean is that you will be able to work from a position of advantage. And you won't have a look of desperation.

If you really need the job, you can always bluff, but in the end you really need the job so take what you can get. That is why it is always better to look for work while you are working. You can afford to walk away.

It's free advice. You get what you pay for.

If it's not too late already... (4, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246672)

On the other hand, if you're a well-paid administrator, you may want to add the following line to your HOSTS file:

127.0.0.1 www.salary.com
127.0.0.1 www.payscale.com

Re:If it's not too late already... (1)

Magic Fingers (1001498) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246720)

127.0.0.1 www.salary.com
127.0.0.1 www.payscale.com
Two of my employees has already left till I read your tip.

Re:If it's not too late already... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246760)

Or if you're a really well paid administrator, you may want to run a different version of www.salary.com and www.payscale.com internally by tweaking the corporate dns. If you can't figure out the technology, I hear there is someone at Best Buy that can help you.

Inflated Numbers (5, Insightful)

TheFlyingGoat (161967) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246696)

I've never found the IT salaries to be that accurate for my region. A few companies pay the amounts listed, but most of them are around $10k less than all of the salary sites. I don't think that the IT personnel are underpaid either... I think the sites are just inaccurate. It's kind of like those places that claim they can train you for an "exciting career in computers in just 6 months". Most of their ads claim that IT people with 2-3 years of experience are making $70k/year.

While it's important to have some facts when negotiating your salary, it's far more useful to bring in a list of all of the major projects you've worked on as well as some positive review/feedback letters from coworkers (not just IT staff... talk to some other staff that like you). Bringing in a printout from a website isn't going to mean beans to a manager... it's what you actually do for their company/department that matters.

Re:Inflated Numbers (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246880)

That seems true to me. I have friends at two large companies in senior positions- I'm in a senior position managing people- and none of us make close to what the second (pay...) site says people from my zip code are reporting.

I just don't know that I believe that $15,000 bonus on top of $110,000 base pay is typical for a team lead type.

Re:Inflated Numbers (1)

Quince alPillan (677281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248708)

I had a company tell me to go to Salary.com to find out what I expected (wtf?) and when I told them, the value was probably 15k off what they were expecting. (Software engineers in my area was making 40-60k, this company expected 30k). I got told later that the company rejected me without even giving me a counter offer and that was the reason.

Re:Inflated Numbers (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246892)

So I'm a CIO, I make $440K a year. Apparently way above median (well, for CIOs looking for a pay increase, anyway!)

So I get to the end of the process, and it says....

Press here to increase your earning potential with a Microsoft cert!

Hmmmm....

Re:Inflated Numbers (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249260)

I just punched myself in and I'm in the 52nd percentile.

I'm really surprised. I think I need a different line of work :-)

Re:Inflated Numbers (1)

bberens (965711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249294)

I see the exact opposite. The company I work for pays non-justgraduated developers $75-90k. According to salary.com that puts us in the 85-95 percentile. However, we are having a hard time keeping employees because they are leaving for more money. It's crazy. It's like a dream world where money fairies are dropping out of the skies dumping cash on developers in this area.

Re:Inflated Numbers (2, Insightful)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249540)

That's interesting, I found the opposite.

I took a look at the SAGE salary survey and a few other sites. The problem I ran into is that I can't hire competent people for those rates, and have to pay 50% MORE for really good people. If you want really good people, you have to lure them away from positions that they are currently happy with, so it takes a significant incentive to get them to make a move. I've NOT had good luck with people that are currently unemployed - In general, I found their skill sets to be underwhelming.

Anyone else think those numbers are high? (3, Interesting)

JPriest (547211) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246712)

I have looked up a several professions on salary.com and the numbers even for my area don't even seem to be in the ball park.

I care a lot (4, Informative)

heyyou_overhere (1070428) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246734)

What the hell is with these retarded slashdot articles- first a lot of articles that have been duped and now this. This is just blatant advertising- the first link requires you to pay and the second requires for you to pay or get a watered down report.

Re:I care a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246994)

Next you'll be complaining about how all the dating sites you frequent don't let you talk to the women until you pay.

Save your money, they won't reply.

Re:I care a lot (2, Insightful)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247062)

This is just blatant advertising

Big deal. At least it gets a discussion going. If you follow it, you might even learn something.

Personally, I think salaries shouldn't be secret. It's one of the ways "the man keeps us down" and nepotism runs rampant. A company should be able to justify the salary - higher or lower than normal - of every one of its employees.

Re:I care a lot (2, Interesting)

FirienFirien (857374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248162)

I took a look at salary.com, since payscale.com only works if you have a (US) zip code. After answering a bunch of questions, it asked me whether I wanted to pay $20 for a big pack of information, or get the free version; I sighed and clicked the free, but got a nice graph showing the percentiles of payscale that are apparently appropriate for my area.

Advertising, maybe - but I got the information I wanted, for free. If I had wanted a big pack about how to raise my salary, how to argue about it, etc etc etc, I had the option to pay for it, but it definitely wasn't compulsory.

Re:I care a lot (1)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248274)

you mean payscale - salary.com is the one requiring a US zip code.

And I agree, the free report from payscale told me pretty much exactly what I needed to know.
Some of the questions were a bit US centric, but the profile based approach means that doesn't matter. I discovered I'm getting quite a bit above average (but still well within the range) for Canberra, and pretty much right on average for Sydney, which makes sense, as my employer is Sydney based.
It pretty much confirmed my own evaluation of my situation.

Also, not only is the free service from payscale useful, it's entirely cookie based - no need to ever give an email address or create an account.

You can't demystify the wife. (4, Funny)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246748)

Salary.com measures the salary of a stay-at-home mom. (The statisticians calculated that doing the housekeeping, cooking, babysitting, chauffeuring, administration and other jobs involved in staying at home with a preschooler in Chicago would probably take around 91 hours a week and be worth about $146,000.)

Don't tell your wife, she'll quit her job!

Re:You can't demystify the wife. (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246812)

The statisticians calculated that doing the housekeeping, cooking, babysitting, chauffeuring, administration and other jobs involved in staying at home with a preschooler in Chicago would probably take around 91 hours a week and be worth about $146,000.
Only $146K? Dang it, I knew she was ripping me off!

Re:You can't demystify the wife. (1)

Takichi (1053302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246814)

And don't get divorced, cause now she has a number when negotiating alimony.

Re:You can't demystify the wife. (3, Funny)

DataBroker (964208) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248976)

My stay-at-home Wifey tried this with me months ago. I told her that I could hire a nanny, a housekeeper, and umm... escorts... for less than she cost. She sorta snarled at me when she looked at the spreadsheet I worked up. I expect that any day now she might start talking to me again.

That's just great (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246754)

Alright, which one of you want to explain to my son why him & his friends aren't getting brand new dirt bikes this year ?

why this will be a disaster (1)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246762)

If people keep checking and let's say a programmer in Wisconsin gets $50,000 a year on average it says. People will see that, pay their programmers that much, and the site will collect more data from those new people getting paid $50,000. That will decrease the impact of someone getting paid $60,000 a year on the average before there's so many more $50,000's. So if the sites get popular and people keep using them, the salary will be frozen at that amount and no companies will pay more because that would be above average, and the $50,000 a year average would get reinforced over and over and basically be completely stuck at that amount. So yeah, baaaad idea for a site. Then again, they might adjust for inflation and job popularity or weight older wages less but of course that would be changing the wage average based on assumptions, not facts. There's really no good way to do it.

Thinly veiled advertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246764)

This article seems to be a thinly veiled advertisement prodded by a PR marketing firm for the websites mentioned, namely PayScale.com.

While the article may be in the New York Times, you have to wonder what occasion suddenly prompted the author of the article to write about it. In other words, why is this "news"? What makes it "new"?

The article states "Salary.com began revealing the results of salary surveys on its site in 1999", which is about eight years ago. This is followed by the statement "PayScale.com is now challenging it..."

But a search reveals that the PayScale.com domain name was registered in...1999. Eight years ago.

There's nothing to see here...move along...move along.

Sheesh. (1)

GregPK (991973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246838)

I think its kinda off. No channel field representative I know makes 50k a year. Probably why they all drive beater cars.

They'll just fire you (4, Interesting)

hyrdra (260687) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246876)

I don't know about you, but many corporate companies don't like people like that...people that research what they should but paid. Many HR managers think that the job market in IT (and many other fields) is so good they would rather replace you and hire someone in that will feel like they are lucky to do the job at or under your current rate. It's largely because the attitude in many companies these days is a sense of "you should be lucky you're here" or "you should be lucky we only make you work 40 hours a week". At my job, I was told when they changed our benefits structure that "you should feel lucky the company deems you important enough to give ANY benefits at all".

I have found companies would rather hire someone who is utterly incompetent but willing to do the job for pennies and doesn't complain when they get bait switched to shitty health insurance. The types of people who have these lay down and take it attitudes are naturally people who are just morons and really don't know what they are doing. My theory is they are quiet and don't stir the pot too often because they are in constant fear of getting found out. The company doesn't care that half the work is getting done because that is harder for HR to measure than a raw starting price and capability is highly subjective. If I complain about a recent HR drone hire, the finger will often get pointed at me, with such remarks as "Don't be so hard on him..." "Have you ever considered it might be you or your department??" "What are you doing to correct the situation?". I'm sorry, I am not here to teach someone 4 years of CS that they should already know. To make it worse, the HR people saying this have no idea about anything technical, they don't understand anything that we do so going to them with a valid logical argument of why the guy they just hired is a dumbass falls on deaf ears. Try to bring any of this up to higher level management and all they can see are the good numbers from HR and how much money they are saving. Meanwhile, my shit is suffering, more work is put on me, and no one understands or let alone cares.

If you think many companies are not run this way, think again. You can usually tell a company like this from job postings. Our HR department shops for people like you would shop for a vacuum cleaner at Walmart -- they try to get the most for less. They look for whizbang things on resumes for stuff we would never need experience in or stuff that isn't relevant to what we are doing. I don't really care if someone has a masters if all they have been doing with it is designing VB forms. I really don't understand who came up with the concept for an HR department anyway, because it sucks. I would rather all hiring decisions go through the person that actually manages a team and produces a product, not some "HR Technical Specialist", which is really some moron with an HR degree who has worked for a tech company before.

So before you go up to your boss with salary figures in hand you should understand that a lot of times we don't have the capability to change anything. In the large corporations I've worked for, the manager never controls the salary and HR would always rather you quit or be miserable than risk having everyone pull those same figures and come to them, taking their precious monthly how-much-can-you-save bonus away. Many HR departments are running on the principal of separation of markets, where you don't know how much the market pays. If I was an HR manager I'd be scared shirtless of someone who quotes salary figures and can suddenly make my only bargaining point go away, I'd rather hire the no nothing guy that passes all the rudimentary hoops that will sit down and shut up and make me look good.

Re:They'll just fire you (1)

slazar (527381) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247100)

To make it worse, the HR people saying this have no idea about anything technical, they don't understand anything that we do so


Instead of bitching, why not offer to sit on interview panels? That would be taking initiative and you could weed out people that don't have the skills (or even just rub you the wrong way). Instead of overstretching yourself to compensate for the dumb new hire, let them fail and make them look bad. HR is grateful that I sit on interview panels and I appreciate that they understand the level of knowledge required to analyze the technical merits of a candidate. And I get to pick who I work with!

Re:They'll just fire you (1)

Yinepuhotep (821200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247324)

Instead of bitching, why not offer to sit on interview panels?
The places I've worked, if you make an offer like that, the managers start asking you why you have TIME to make an offer like that. Don't you have enough work to do to keep you busy? Why are we getting such a bad output if you have time to waste on interview panels? And so on. If you want to keep your job, you learn REAL fast that volunteering - for ANYTHING - gets that kind of management response, so you DO NOT volunteer.

Re:They'll just fire you (1)

stupid_is (716292) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249490)

Can't you turn that on its head too? The time used in selecting a good candidate for the job will result in time savings in whatever it is you do, as you don't have to hand-hold them through the early stages of employment so much (i.e. they become productive that much quicker)
Don't necessarily volounteer, maybe, but at least point out the rationale...

Re:They'll just fire you (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18247122)

This is my last week with my first (and hopefully last) fortune 500 company. All that shit you stated above about hiring practices in large corps is dead-on with what I've seen. Turnover in IT here is really startling, I've had three different bosses over me in 2.5yrs in the same dept and I'm actually the last original person on the team from when I started! 2yrs and the entire team was rebuilt, management and all. Pretty amazing.

Never again will I work for a company with over 200 employees, unless I'm consulting. At least then I should be compensated for it.

Re:They'll just fire you (1)

tqbf (59350) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249584)

I would rather all hiring decisions go through the person that actually manages a team and produces a product, not some "HR Technical Specialist", which is really some moron with an HR degree who has worked for a tech company before.

Uh, the way you would "rather" it works is the way it does work at every technical company I've been involved with or known people at. Can you give a specific example of a company where HR interviews and selects the technical candidates?

Re:They'll just fire you (2, Funny)

mrcolj (870373) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249594)

You obviously know as little about management and hiring as they know about programming. I know about programming, and I would still blackball anyone who made comments with your tone or content. In fact, I have google alerts set up on most of my employees (and their usernames and whatever), so if I were your boss I'd probably already know you posted this and be joking about it with your other bosses... My advice, look at the Myers Briggs types [personalitypage.com] (I know your type of people don't believe in that voodoo) and learn that HR people think programmers are illogical idiots as much as programmers think the same of HR people. Why? Not because one of them is right. Programmers, no matter how "management" their title is, have no more business hiring than HR people have programming. Neither HR nor management care about saving money as much as they care about making money, they just understand exactly what you just said--a new graduate probably is more excited to work there, will work for less, and won't complain or sue; and old programers have their old ways of doing things, always demand more than market forces dictate, and always end up suing. I was in one place where we had to keep the AC on full-blast at all times, AND keep a space heater (most of the time on full-blast) at every station. That's not worth it when a young punk will do 80% as good for 50% of the money, and will have ideas. And if anyone ever said "I'm not here to..." or "That isn't part of my job" within earshot of me, they'd be gone befor they finished the sentence. No exceptions.

Easy formula (4, Funny)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246938)

if ( out_of_work )
salary_request = previous_salary
else
salary_request = current_salary * 1.3

Re:Easy formula (1)

Fastball (91927) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247144)

A 30% pay hike? If you're running this program via cron, you might want to scale it back to only run every five years. Otherwise, you might crash your system.

Re:Easy formula (3, Interesting)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248042)

I don't know about you, but when looking for a new job, negotiations should really be starting at a point where you're have no compunctions about accepting. Drop down a 30% raise to do something similar, and I'm confident that I'd say 'yes'.

Less of a raise doesn't mean a 'no' but it decreases the odds, along with a load of other factors like prospects, travel times, and that kind of thing.

If you don't ask, you don't get :)

Re:Easy formula (2)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248204)

If you're running this program via cron, you might want to scale it back to only run every five years. Otherwise, you might crash your system.
I ran a C implementation of this program and was doing really well until it overflowed and I found I was paying my employer huge amounts of money to work for them.

What crap is this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18246948)

What crap is this... Sites blatant advertising junk. Or are they associating info colelcted with IP addresses.

Answered 25 questions and am stuck on "calculating"

Slash-DOT clean up the act this crap is worthless

Disgusted yet again

BAD story selection one more time

"Web Developer" (4, Insightful)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246958)

Ten steps to misery, bitterness and potential unemployment... or how to gain empathy for your manager.

  1. Go to salary.com [salary.com]
  2. Search for a really common job. Let's use, "Web Developer"
  3. Fail to find that job. Instead get offered variants of "Web Software Developer" that appears to describe a web application engineer rather than a general web developer.
  4. Look at the salary range for a job that's markedly different to what you do.
  5. Take offense at how unfairly you now feel you're paid.
  6. Go to manager and demand a raise that you think is only fair.
  7. Feel horribly taken advantage of when the manager, fairly legitimately, claims you're already pretty well compensated for the job you actually do vs. the significantly different job you found on the web.
  8. Fester about the injustice.
  9. Bitch about how the company you used to love is now terrible and evil.
  10. Wonder why your manager who used to love you now sees you as a morale leech and someone they need to deal with.
Now see if you can guess the real reason a lot of managers get irritated by sites like this. Hint: It's nothing about being forced to pay what's fair.

Most sensible managers will want to pay a fair salary for the job they're having done simply because it attracts good applicants and a basis of fairness improves morale and hence productivity. Granted, not all managers are good or sensible but, honestly, most do try to be. Unfortunately, sites like salary.com, through their inherrent generalizations, often give thoroughly skewed impressions of what's fair and can cause all kinds of problems once someone that is fairly treated gets the impression they're being taken advantage of.

The flip side works against employees too... The last thing an employee wants is an ignorant manager finding a far less skilled job that kind of sounds similar and deciding 20% pay cuts or terminations and new hires are merrited.

Sure, they're a useful tool - but be seriously careful about building assumptions off over generalized data.

Re:"Web Developer" (2, Insightful)

Dadoo (899435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247176)

Most sensible managers will want to pay a fair salary for the job they're having done

Except that, as someone above mentioned, most managers aren't in control of the purse strings. My manager is always complaining about how he'd like to pay more, because he's having an incredibly hard time finding applicants who'll work for what we're willing to pay. Unfortunately, his manager won't let him. Now, I suppose that could be an act, but as far as I can tell, he's not that kind of a guy.

Re:"Web Developer" (2, Insightful)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247218)

If he claims his manager wont let him, it's very likely true -and- an act all at the same time. for whatever reason he is scared to push his manager for what he is telling you deserve. so either he's lying to his manager that he can run his deparment on a low budget, or he's lying to you about how much he thinks you are worth.

But dont let him get away with the "my hands are tied" argument. as your manager, if he is the one who can talk about your salary with you, then his hands are not tied. if he claims that his boss wont let him, then his boss is the one you should be talking to with merely a written review or reccomendation from your manager.

dont go over his head though, that will just cause animosity. what you should do is respectfully (and this part isnt easy, so dont kid yourself) request that you have a meeting with both your manager AND his boss. Again though, be careful, dont make it about him just say that you believe him but since rent is tough, or some other reason, you would like to take a crack at talking with the boss yourself.

Re:"Web Developer" (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247422)


>Except that, as someone above mentioned, most managers aren't in control of the purse strings.

But, *someone* is, and you need to find out what *they* need, and interview for *that* job instead.
Maybe they need a manager who is capable of controlling purse strings ;-)

Re:"Web Developer" (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247818)

Except that, as someone above mentioned, most managers aren't in control of the purse strings. My manager is always complaining about how he'd like to pay more, because he's having an incredibly hard time finding applicants who'll work for what we're willing to pay. Unfortunately, his manager won't let him.
That is HR's job. Don't be fooled, HR's #1 job in any company of any size is to reduce labor costs. The bigger the company, the stronger HR's ability to enforce salary caps. In some companies HR will turn away exceptional talent rather than pay a commensurate salary because it "sets a bad precedent. HR is *never* an employee's friend.

or how to be a sucker (1)

node 3 (115640) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247544)

Most sensible managers will want to pay a fair salary for the job they're having done simply because it attracts good applicants and a basis of fairness improves morale and hence productivity.
Yeah, better to not take your destiny into your own hands. Better to not look out for your best interests yourself, because your manager is clearly more capable of looking out for your own best interests for you and is just as concerned, if not more so, as you are that you are paid well.

Don't rock the boat, Mr. Anderson. The Matrix values the contribution of each and every one of its many batteries...

Or better yet, how about I give you the finger, and take charge of my destiny as best I can.

You only live once. If your boss has shown he/she can be relied upon to look out for your own best interests, by all means, grant them your trust. Otherwise, you have to make a choice. Are you going to take control of your life, or leave that up to the whims of others?

Re:"Web Developer" (1)

Danny Rathjens (8471) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247578)

a lot of managers...
Most sensible managers...
be seriously careful about building assumptions off over generalized data.

Re:"Web Developer" (2, Interesting)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248146)

sensible managers

So we're talking about roughly 20% of managers here, right?

I've seen a lot in my industry (software development) which seems to contradict your "enlighted manager" theory:
  • Most companies state that their employees are in the top 10% of their industry. Since this is a mathematical impossibility, it indicates either a high level of self delusion or a lot of bullshiting
  • Many managers bring in "good enough" people because "we need more people but we don't have the budget". I work as a freelancer nowadays and often end up cleaning up the mess made by these "good enough" programmers
  • As many senior developers around here can attest, many managers proclaim that they value experience and quality but in practice aren't willing to pay for it. When you reach a certain level of expertise you find that in many companies there is a ceiling to what a technical person can earn - those are the companies whose salary scales (especially at the top of the technical career) look bad by comparisson to those that are willing to pay for the added value of experience
  • A very common situation is somebody that has entered a company as a junior "whatever", gained experience and expertise and some years later finds himself/herself a medior/senior "whatever" but still on a junior salary. A widespred practice out there is to increase salaries faster than inflation but slower than the increase in value of an employee, especially in the beginning of one's career


The truth is, salary negotiations are business decisions. Salaries are not raised because managers are highly sensitive, enlightened, moral beings which based their decisions on concepts such as "fairness" - they are raised because an employee who brings more value to the company than what he/she is being payed is unhappy about his/her compensation and will probably leave if that isn't addressed.

From the point of view of any manager (sensible or not), the ideal employee is the one that gets payed a low salary and is happy with working there.

Employers that don't know they're being payed shit compared to the rest of the industry will stay content and not ask for a salary raise.

Employers that do know they're being payed shit compared to the rest of the industry will become unhappy at the unfainess of their situation and demand a salary raise.

Naturally, from the point of view of the bottom line (keeping costs down and margins up) it's beter for a manager that employees don't know the real value that the industry is willing to pay for their work - this is why this kind of site is bad for any manager: it impacts their bottom line.

Similar article (2, Informative)

ejd3 (963550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18246984)

Just by chance I was looking into similar information just hours earlier today and happened upon similar solutions offered by the WSJ [careerjournal.com]. The most useful site in my option was payscale. It offered really detailed information about many interesting things, like salaries of recent graduates of my college in a variety of fields (assuming that these students are telling the truth, and gave me pretty good insight into what the career I am heading into should pay.

Salary information (1)

timtiptoes (1072262) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247022)

There are books where you can deconstruct the salary structure. A typical rule is that the median of 'bands' are 15% apart and bands are abou 20% wide. Further companies like most employees to sit at the median of a pay band. As a real crude estimate, you could fetch the salaries of the senior executives off of their SEC-filed docs and work down the salary structure. Be sure to not use the CEO as they aren't part of the structure. Also only look at the salary portion of the compensation because bonuses and equity don't count. Usually companies have no idea what's competitive, so they just purchase compensation guidelines for their industry. Take a look at this: http://www.culpepper.com/eBulletin/2006/NovemberPa yTrends.asp [culpepper.com] You spend years getting education, months looking for an interview, weeks or days preparing and then when it comes down to salary you go "okay, works for me." Nonsense, get educated on the topic. Good luck and help drive up all of our compensation. timtiptoes

After your first payroll (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247118)

And when you've deftly negotiated that salary, be sure to check our first payroll!

At one job, I had on paper that huge payments were made in a retirement fund. After nine months, I figured out this wasn't the case at all. When I confronted management about this, they just said "it was a mistake, it was the old retirement plan. And we will generously offer our apologies". And then got angry and said: "you should've said earlier".

Re:After your first payroll (1)

grimJester (890090) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248048)

At one job, I had on paper that huge payments were made in a retirement fund. After nine months, I figured out this wasn't the case at all. When I confronted management about this, they just said "it was a mistake, it was the old retirement plan. And we will generously offer our apologies"

This is fraud. Did anything actually happen beyond "correcting" your contract?

Re:After your first payroll (1)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248112)

Nope... they said they made the offer when the old retirement plan was still in place... I said they would've known that the new (not so good) one was starting, and they basically didn't give me an answer. And well, at the time the company was getting into financial heavy weather. Little things like my complaint weren't important at all. I went looking around and moved on to a very appealing job, and left it at that. I talked with my gf about the situation, and we decided I could use my energy better than fighting the Man.

The easy life... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18247146)

If you are smart enough, you can make quite a decent living via felonious activity.

Tax, free too.

Just stay away from intoxicating substances and loose-lipped partners.

Got to go, my pilot says the runway is clear...

The Canadian version? (1)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247178)

Anybody know of any Canadian versions of these websites out there? It's about freggin time somebody came out with this (obvious) idea! THANK YOU!

I've managed to negotiate my way into a substancial salary about 4 years ago, that I'm even comfortable with today without a single raise; however, I can't keep this up much longer, and the 'Secret HR books' (essentially a compliation of all company jobs of supposedly similar 500 to 1000 companies within my province), cost several hundred dollars each, and are not available for regular employees to peek at, possibly not even available for a non-large company to purchase.

So where is a Canadian employee to go these days for accurate information? I've found that most job-hunting websites out there do not reveal actual salary ranges until you get to some interview stage.

Thanks,
Adeptus

I've been working for over twenty years.... (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18247906)

...with less than two months of slack time (no paying work) in that period (not including holidays, of course).

My experience in watching both permies, and contractors (of which I am one) negotiate pay raises is that it is a waste of time. If you want a significant raise, change job (move to a different company), otherwise you will almost invariably be stuck banging your head against the HR pricks.

Those of you promised a bigger bonus or raise 'next year', or given the excuse that 'this years results weren't very good' for your paltry inflation + 1% raise have only yourselves to blame for your lack of upward mobility.

Companies - whole economies - rely upon relatively constant wage costs, and they really can't afford to deviate much for any individual worker.

I'm not bitter, just telling it like I see it.

Only the Executive/Director level gets large wage increases and respectable bonuses, and that's because companies are for their benefit - hint, hint ***not the shareholder*** - despite what you are told in school.

The shareholders job is to accept risk in the hopes for a high reward. The Executives job contains almost no risk, requires little true skill - other than perhaps political nous - and yields huge rewards.

crap! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18247970)

I'm getting paid like 20k$ too much... oh well, at least I've got this awesome list of tips to negotiate a fairer salary.

Re:crap! (2, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248236)

I'm getting paid like 20k$ too much... oh well, at least I've got this awesome list of tips to negotiate a fairer salary.
Have you ever noticed that when a child yells "It's not fair!" it's never because they've been given *more* chocolate (or whatever) than someone else?

Mystical? Pah (3, Funny)

isorox (205688) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248076)

There's nothing mystical about my salary.

I get paid a basic salary, plus London weighting, about 5-6% of that is deducted for pension, which they then match. I get paid 10% extra pre-pension for unpredictable hours, then 3/70 of my pre-pension weekly wage for every hour of overtime I work. Any hours between midnight as 4 attract about $15 an hour bonus, and between 4 and 6 attracts an extra $30 an hour. I then have Income tax deducted (post pension), the first $10K tax free, the next $4K at 10%, the next $70K at 22%, and the rest at 40%. On top of that I have 11% of another part of my monthly salary for national insurance (pre-pension) on every pound of my salary >$800/month, and 1% of my monthly salary over $5000 a month. However that reduces somewheat (I have no idea how much) because of my pension. I then finally have money deducted (pre-tax, post-pension) for my student loan (10% > $30K) perks like taxi journeys home > 40 miles when public transport isn't working (40 miles is free, but I used to live 55 miles away), membership of the work club. The occasional work-paid do has tax deducted (although not all). Fortunatly there's no tax on company mobiles any more, and as I work in Central London there's no need or desire for a company car, which save more tax.

Easy as pie. My next salary negotiation will involve me coming off one set of terms (with the hourly overtime) and onto a set of terms that will pay me a fixed rate for working an extra day, but no hourly extras, however my basic pay (and therefore company pension contribution) will increase accordingly.

My role has increased in responsibility over the last 6 months too (hence the renegotiation rather than the standard 2.5% yearly increase). I've taken over someone on a much higher basic salary, but with more experience, and on non-overtime conditions.

So working out my next required wage and conditions is a walk in the park.

Re:Mystical? Pah (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248222)

I get paid a basic salary, plus London weighting
In your experience, how much is the typical "London weighting" (are you referring to government jobs or just the phenomenon in general) and does it actually cover the vastly inflated costs of living in London?

Re:Mystical? Pah (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248620)

Let me preface this reply by saying that I've never personally chosen to work in London, so this is based only on the offers I've personally had but declined, and things I know friends have taken.

The short answer is that for high-tech jobs, the salaries in London can be anywhere from 30% to 100% higher than outside. Of course there are some that fall below that, and a few (mainly around the City) that pay significantly more. For example, a reasonably senior developer job worth £50k outside London would probably pull £70-80k in London.

But direct comparisons of salaries in the UK can be quite misleading, because some places pay salary and let you choose how to spend it, while others pay lower salaries but have genuinely compensating perks. And of course, the kind of business that's based in London and pays an extra £25k tends to believe your soul is included in the price. ;-)

For what it's worth, no, that kind of difference doesn't really pay the cost of London living, at least not in any of the nicer areas where house prices are astronomical these days. It does, however, easily cover the costs of a season ticket to commute in by train from one of the nice surrounding counties, as long as you're prepared to give up 1-2 hours of your life every day on top of the typical London working hours.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18248520)

Or you could go to the http://www.bls.gov/bls/blswage.htm [bls.gov] and check out their data which I'm sure is far more accurate than that given by the other sites.

How to find out how much money colleague makes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18248556)

To find out how much money your colleague makes is quite easy in Finland. Just send an SMS with text "vero firstname lastname city" to number 16400 and you will receive full tax info of a said person (vero = tax). Reply includes person's total taxable income and assets from last year. That info may give you a rough estimate of a person's true income. Are there similar tools available in other countries?

Or you could work for IBM (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248614)

Where they just dictate your bonus and salary which generally varies in the 0 - 3% range.

Not all that (1)

s31523 (926314) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248798)

I tried that site, payscale.com, and it was sort of lame. The spread of salary for my "type" of job was over 30K. My organization, which is not uncommon, has 6 levels of various engineers and has reasonable salary ranges for each one, maybe like 20K or so spread. This site seems like it could screw you as well as help you, i.e. tell you your high-end salary is X when your currently make X+20k. The bottom line, you know what your worth and you should always go into a new position higher than you left your old position.

Information Hoarding. (2, Interesting)

Bright Apollo (988736) | more than 7 years ago | (#18248954)

The one reply I hadn't seen involves what may be more common in your workplace: being paid relative to your immediate peers.

Let's imagine what would happen if everyone's salary information suddenly appeared on their office door or cubicle wall. The uprising that would follow would be interesting and justified. The company doesn't want you to know that you're paid less than the other guy, who's slack you've been picking up for the last two years. The company figures it's a wash anyway: they probably don't like overpaying for mediocre performance either, but they have you so it averages out *to them*.

Suddenly informed, you now have the advantage of knowing that you're underpaid just within the company, apples to apples, by 25%. The company can no longer average it out: it has to cut the loser's pay or bump yours, if it chooses to continue averaging it out.

If the loser doesn't like the pay cut, separation makes it easier to average it out. And the playing field is truly level.

-BA

Negotiate Pay???? (1)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18249502)

Please! The only "negotiations" most of us non-executives have for pay go soemthing like this:

PHB: "You did a good job last year. You could use some improvement. We're giving you a 6% raise as a reward."

Employee: "I met all of my improvment criteria from last year. Is that the most I can get?"

PHB: "Don't tell any of the other employees, but you are getting the highest raise in the section."

Employee: "Uh, thanks?"

Of course there's always the alternative which is "Don't let the door hit you in the *ss on the way out."

while ($have_job) {
    MUMBLE ("I love my job.");
}
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