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Businesses The Almighty Buck

Demystifying Salary Information 184

Posted by kdawson
from the leverage dept.
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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Demystifying Salary Information

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  • my two cents (Score:5, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:44AM (#18246622) Homepage
    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.
    • 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...
      • by Joebert (946227)
        I tried that with a hooker once, but when she said $500 I completely lost my train of thought.
        • by mgblst (80109) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @07:58AM (#18248338) Homepage
          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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by CrankyFool (680025)
      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).
      • by timeOday (582209)
        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.
        • by IANAAC (692242)
          He said he got 5% more than he wanted. How could that be a disadvantage?
          • by ranton (36917)
            Maybe he could have gotten 10% more than what he wanted.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by IANAAC (692242)
              That's called "extra", not a disadvantage.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by ranton (36917)
                No, it is not extra. It is money that he seams to be worth (since the company is willing to pay it). He just doesnt realize what he is worth. If the company is willing to pay him $60k/yr, then he must be worth that to them. But if he thinks he is worth $55k/yr, and accepts a salary of $57k/yr, then he is missing out on $3k/yr. With constant 3% raises over 10 years that is $34k he is missing out on just because he spoke first. He lost out on a new Mustang GT Convertible just because he opened his mouth
                • by daeg (828071)
                  You say it like missing out on a Mustang is a bad thing. (--Prior Mustang owner-turned 350Z owner.)
                  • by cayenne8 (626475)
                    "You say it like missing out on a Mustang is a bad thing. (--Prior Mustang owner-turned 350Z owner.)"

                    There is ONE mustang that is worth having, the GT500 Mustang [ford.com] .

                    At almost 500 HP bone stock for about $40K....it is a mustang to be sad about missing out on.

                • by cayenne8 (626475)
                  "No, it is not extra. It is money that he seams to be worth (since the company is willing to pay it). He just doesnt realize what he is worth. If the company is willing to pay him $60k/yr, then he must be worth that to them. But if he thinks he is worth $55k/yr, and accepts a salary of $57k/yr..."

                  Ya'll are thinking too small. Incorporate yourself, go the contracting route, and those amount above will EASILY be $65-55/hour, not $65-55k/yr.

                  That makes is quite a bit more worth your efforts.

      • Re:my two cents (Score:5, Insightful)

        by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @02:00AM (#18246992) Homepage

        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.
        • 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: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward
          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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by freeweed (309734)
          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.
      • 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

    • 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).

    • by patio11 (857072) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @02:07AM (#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:my two cents (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SocialWorm (316263) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @02:14AM (#18247042) Homepage

      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.

      • by ensignyu (417022)
        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.
      • Re:my two cents (Score:4, Insightful)

        by senatorpjt (709879) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:59AM (#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.
      • by Rakishi (759894)
        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: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Subsound90 (992770)
        I learned it in my business classes, but it's not usually related to salary but for marketing and consumer negotiations. The correct term is anchoring, and usually it's related to the fact that most people when they set a value they will not go more then 10% in either directions in negotiating. Also, 10% is usually considered the least amount of change required to make some one switch from one vendor to another. It's less for higher priced items and stores that are closer togethor, but 10% difference is
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dan D. (10998)
        There is a book called Behavioral Game Theory, I think edited by Camerer (he's the author associated with the title, whether he wrote all the content or not...) A collection of experiments and essentially what they mean (theoretically) in various situations. Very interesting stuff.
    • Re:my two cents (Score:4, Insightful)

      by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @03:08AM (#18247276) Journal

      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.

    • Re:my two cents (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ContractualObligatio (850987) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @11:36AM (#18249930)
      Your Tip #2 is flat out wrong. There's a known effect (supported by research) called anchoring, whereby whoever goes first sets the expectations of where the conversation is going to go. If you want the highest salary you can get, you need to be know what is possible (as per Tip #1, for instance) and then ask for it, or highball to a reasonable extent to allow for negotiation. What is reasonable is dependent on any number of factors - whether there's a conversation on benefits to be had, how aggressive the expected role allows you to be, the culture of the firm you're applying for, whether you have the right personality to ask for a high number without sounding like an asshole, etc.

      Knowing what you can get can be difficult, but it pays off and for many roles and companies you can be sure there is some kind of market rate to guide your thinking.

      If you let them go first, you're giving open invitation for them to set a lower salary than you would like, and then having to fight to get back up to what you wanted. And it is likely (remember the research!) that you will feel uncomfortable being too pushy despite only trying to get a fair price. The employer might start to see you as an asshole for being pushy, when if you had simply started high yourself the perception can in fact be one of confidence.

      Never go first only really applies when you don't know enough about the situation to have a reasonable expectation of the outcome. You therefore run the risk of shooting yourself in the foot by asking for a lower salary than they were willing to offer. If you don't know what the options are, keep quiet and remember not to let a low opening offer anchor your own expectations too low.

      For a great book on the subject of negotiation, try "Bargaining for Advantage" by G. Richard Shell. He gives an example of one of his better students (a successful entrepreneur) who always made the first offer as a way to fix the negotiation range low. So be wary of falling into the same trap by letting your prospective employer name the price if there's something you're aiming for.

      Incidentally my handle is chosen to explicitly acknowledge that even in the tech game, contracts and all the bullshit that goes with them have far too much affect on our lives, but it's worth the time learning how they are negotiated and worked. A windfall courtesy of having a great offer handed to you on a plate is wonderful, yes, but it's even better if you know enough about the situation to have control, and to put yourself in the best possible position. I can remember being paid way less than what I was worth (oh, the arrogance!) and it was the most demoralising thing at work. After receiving a job offer where I confidently named a price, I re-negotiated my pay up ~38% and suddenly work was more enjoyable. Note I didn't get my asking price. So I'm fairly sure I got as much as possible, that I didn't have to be a hard ass to get it, and that I sure wouldn't have got 38% if I'd started with, "I believe I'm due a raise, what would you think is good?"
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Darktyco (621568)
      Does this also apply to when they ask you:

      "How much were/are you making at your last/current job?"
    • by Bamafan77 (565893)

      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.

      Agree with #1, but somewhat disagree with #2. Thinking about who's winning and who's losing gets things going on the wrong foot. Keep your eye on the prize - what the market is paying for someone with your skills. Everything else, including this business about "winning and losing" is just pointless garnish. If the company can't or won't match what you sho

    • by blackcoot (124938)
      or find out what other people are willing to pay for the same job, which is what i did in my case. that said, do not underestimate the value of perks like annual budgets for books, ongoing education, etc.
    • Mentioning numbers (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrVomact (726065)

      You're mostly correct. Normally, an applicant should never specify a salary or salary range during the interview process (above all, do not do it during a preliminary "phone screen"). Your objective should be to obtain an offer, and then negotiate salary. The reason for this is that before you have a firm offer, salary demands can only hurt you--the interview process exists to weed people out, and a high number can kill your chances at this point, while a low number will not help you. (Nobody wants to hire

  • by StikyPad (445176) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @12:54AM (#18246672) Homepage
    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
  • Inflated Numbers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:01AM (#18246696) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • 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.
    • by Dr. Evil (3501)

      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 :-)

    • by bberens (965711)
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by walt-sjc (145127)
      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
  • by JPriest (547211) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:02AM (#18246712) Homepage
    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 (Score:4, Informative)

    by heyyou_overhere (1070428) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:05AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dadoo (899435)
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by FirienFirien (857374)
      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 et
      • by mabinogi (74033)
        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 situat
  • by twitter (104583) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:08AM (#18246748) Homepage Journal
    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!

    • by timeOday (582209)

      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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by DataBroker (964208)
      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.
      • by pnutjam (523990)
        I expect that any day now she might start talking to me again.

        Well we know those calculations are off.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mrcolj (870373)
      You know that's an urban legend [snopes.com], right? I remember hearing exactly that story 20 years ago, long before salary.com existed. As one commenter put it, "Find me a CEO with two employees, no revenue, and $200,000 in assets who makes $146,000 a year." If I do delivery for a pizza place, I do not get the combined salaries of a chauffer, a uniform tailor, a public relations consultant, a salesperson, and a french chef. Moms are basically like the best nannies, and those make $40K. My wife deserves millions, b
      • As one commenter put it, "Find me a CEO with two employees, no revenue, and $200,000 in assets who makes $146,000 a year."

        The $150,000 in created value is not a revenue. ... Moms are basically like the best nannies, and those make $40K. My wife deserves millions, but not in a free market.

        Not to knock the nanny, but they don't do all of the things the wife does and that's how they measured the substitution cost. People who don't grasp this concept run businesses into the ground because they don't have

        • by jb.hl.com (782137)
          Not to knock the nanny, but they don't do all of the things the wife does and that's how they measured the substitution cost. People who don't grasp this concept run businesses into the ground because they don't have a real grasp on what their employees actually do for company.

          And the people who do grasp it pay lots of people $146,000 a year and run their businesses into the ground that way.
  • Alright, which one of you want to explain to my son why him & his friends aren't getting brand new dirt bikes this year ?
  • by hyrdra (260687) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:32AM (#18246876) Homepage Journal
    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.
    • by tqbf (59350)

      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: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mrcolj (870373)
      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) an
      • by Danga (307709) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @04:37PM (#18254448)
        Programmers, no matter how "management" their title is, have no more business hiring than HR people have programming.

        I notice you are going for an MBA and it cracks me up when people with MBA's think they are the God's of management when a lot of them (yes you) could really learn something by listening to the people you manage. I also think you are on a power trip if you think a programmer with a management position has no business hiring/managing, is that only reserved for the God's with MBA's? If you sincerely believe your above sentence then I hope I never work at a company you work at. Being able to be apart of the interview process for my potential co-workers is extremely important because I can evaluate the skills of a fellow developer much better than the typical HR drone. If someone has a million buzzwords on their resume it usually makes a HR person go nuts thinking they gotta get that person while I actually can figure out if they can back it up with actual knowledge. Unless the HR person or whoever is giving the interview truly understands the position in question and the technology that goes along with it then not having someone "from the trenches" be apart of the interviewing is plain stupid.

        From the flip side if I was going to an interview at a company and none of my potential co-workers were apart of the interview I would be offended and I most likely would not take the job. I want to be able to ask the really technical questions about the position and get answers straight from someone who actually knows them.

        Neither HR nor management care about saving money as much as they care about making money

        These are the same thing in the end, if you can't save money then it eats away at the money you made and vice versa, any manager I know would be concerned about both equally.

        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.

        Of course a new graduate will work for less, that is true of any profession but I doubt ANY new graduate will be able to do 80% of the work at the same speed as a veteran programmer. That 50% money savings is not worth it when it takes them 4 times as long to accomplish the same thing and they can't do 20% of the things a veteran programmer can do. Now if the job truly is for an entry level programmer then hell yeah it would be a waste to hire the more expensive veteran. Find a person suitable for the position but don't bitch about a veteran programmer costing more when the job at hand requires that level of experience.

        You crack me up saying they won't complain or sue, what do you want mindless drones working for you? I would rather have people working for me with a backbone who stand up for what they believe (within reason). If a person has a valid complaint why you rather have them be silent rather than speak out about it?

        By the way what is your beef with "old programmers"? I am sure some of them are a pain in the ass but you just broadly group all of them together as overpaid complainers who have a little more knowledge but would never be worth any extra money. Is experience not worth anything to you?

        That's not worth it when a young punk will do 80% as good for 50% of the money, and will have ideas.

        There you go making yourself sound big and bad again since you have are going to have the MBA and think you are better than the "young punk" with a CS degree which is harder to get than your MBA (yes, I know this is true from the amount of friends I have who have gone to get MBA's). I don't get why you make it sound like old programmers won't have ideas. All of the "old programmers" I have met had great ideas, to tell you the truth they had some of the best ideas I have ever heard.

        Get over yourself, you seem to have invented some hatred of "old programmers" just to validate your choice to hire
    • by jafac (1449)
      Another thing large companies tend to do - is that if they need people, operationally, they lay the burden on their existing employees to get more work done. That's the "resting state". At the corporate level, they'll typically only ramp-up hiring if it's strategic: (ie. if their competitor just made an acquisition, and therefore, on paper, looks "bigger" and therefore, their stock is going up). In cases where there is a strategic hiring decision, market value of labor doesn't matter. They'll fucking hi
    • The one thing missing from what you wrote is the hiring manager.

      HR alone cannot write what technical skills and responsibilities the position requires.

      They have to rely on the hiring manager writing that up for them. The interview process will have to be at least two interviews, or one with two people present: the hiring manager, and the HR person. Neither of them can veto the other or force a candidate down their throat. In most places the hiring manager has the upper hand, and the HR person is there to en
  • by michaelmalak (91262) <michael@michaelmalak.com> on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:50AM (#18246938) Homepage

    if ( out_of_work )
    salary_request = previous_salary
    else
    salary_request = current_salary * 1.3
    • by Fastball (91927)
      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: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sobrique (543255)
        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 :)

      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        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.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by walt-sjc (145127)
        Here is the deal... Once you are employed, it's a LOT harder to get good raises - they are typically going to be 0 - 5%. Your big salary jumps are when you change jobs. 1.3X is QUITE reasonable. Even if you change positions vertically within a company, you are unlikely to get a large salary boost. If you are job hopping, obviously that formula isn't going to work, but it should work every 2-3 years. Remember, you have more experience after several years at a job too, and experience matters.
  • "Web Developer" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nick_davison (217681) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @01:54AM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dadoo (899435)
      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by beakerMeep (716990)

        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 clai

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510)

        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 t

    • Can I skip all that complicated stuff and just "Fester about the injustice." ?
    • 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 o

    • a lot of managers...
      Most sensible managers...
      be seriously careful about building assumptions off over generalized data.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Aceticon (140883)

      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
    • What you said:

      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 generalizati

    • You assume that people using the site are idiots, that the questions the site asks won't accurately fit you into a job category that matches your experience, and that everyone using the site will take it as gospel. Never mind the fact that any HR department worth its salt already has this data, so your last point is moot.

      This whole post comes across as a poorly disguised attempt to keep us plebes in our place. You want this data for yourself, but you don't want the people you negotiate with to have it. You
  • Similar article (Score:2, Informative)

    by ejd3 (963550)
    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.
  • 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".

    • 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?
      • 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 f
  • http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/ [itjobswatch.co.uk] It gives similar information. Of course anything like this should be taken with a large grain of salt.
  • by isorox (205688) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @06:38AM (#18248076) Homepage Journal
    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.

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      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?
      • 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 wo

  • Where they just dictate your bonus and salary which generally varies in the 0 - 3% range.
  • 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 you
  • by Bright Apollo (988736) on Tuesday March 06, 2007 @09:55AM (#18248954) Journal
    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

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Aqua_boy17 (962670)

      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.

      Or, they do nothing which I think is much more likely to happen in a not-for-profit (where I work) or in government. It's been my experience that it's very rare for these types of organizations to ever actually reduce someone's salary.

      As to being paid relative to your peers, you're right about sal

  • 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 t
  • If you check the site out, you'll see it's similar, but offers a bit more information, and a lot more individual info instead of aggregate. You get to see not only compensation, but benefits, and hours works/tasks responsible for. Additionally it's got a peer review/rating/commenting system.
  • While it's easy finding mean salaries, there's another important piece of information that I feel is missing - standard deviation. When I choose to accept an organization's offer, I usually have an idea of where my skills fall in the organization in the sense of a percentile of other people with my title. It's nice that I can see the 25th, 75th, and 90th percentiles on some sites (and thus estimate the SD if I had to), but with the SD, I could calculate any percentile I liked, assuming that salaries are nor

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