How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?



  • Hi folks,

    How do you decide what is a fair salary for an IT position?

    I am finding it to be quite difficult to get an idea as many job listings that require a similar skill set often say 'salary depending on experience'. So, you cannot really get any data. Plus, I have never quite trusted the data shown on sites like PayScale. Its probably quite skewed towards data being provided by those on lower salaries anyway.

    I also expect each area varies quite drastically in salary. It doesn't feel right to judge say a Sysadmin salary for somebody working from Kings Cross or Old Street to somebody in Greenwich...

    How do you begin to decide whats fair?

    Best,
    Jim



  • @Jimmy9008

    Be friends with people and ask, I know in Canada it is frowned upon but you buy me pizza first , oh and if if you buy me pizza and dessert I would give you alot more than just information 😉



  • @Jimmy9008 Yeah you have to just talk with people, in side your organization it may be weird to talk about it (seeing as these are your coworkers) but AFAIK it's not illegal anywhere to do this.

    I talk about my salary publicly.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    How do you decide what is a fair salary for an IT position?

    No hard and fast rule other than what not to do. Don't believe job postings, Glassdoor, or people on communities. Nearly everyone has an interest in making the trend look lower than it is. Talking to lots of people in the area, working in the area, comparing what people actually earn and comparing the work that they do. That's about it.

    In many ways, what's "fair" in an area isn't relevant. What's fair for you is what matters.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    It doesn't feel right to judge say a Sysadmin salary for somebody working from Kings Cross or Old Street to somebody in Greenwich...

    That's a single commuting zone. So those are the same factors.



  • @Emad-R said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    Be friends with people and ask, I know in Canada it is frowned upon

    Only because companies promote that social pressure to make it easier to keep salaries depressed.



  • @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    How do you decide what is a fair salary for an IT position?

    No hard and fast rule other than what not to do. Don't believe job postings, Glassdoor, or people on communities. Nearly everyone has an interest in making the trend look lower than it is. Talking to lots of people in the area, working in the area, comparing what people actually earn and comparing the work that they do. That's about it.

    In many ways, what's "fair" in an area isn't relevant. What's fair for you is what matters.

    I've been asked a few times to show evidence of why a salary should be given for a position. They often require similar job postings with the target salary in question... aka, if other companies are paying it, we should.

    But, I find that most do not list a salary, or only use a subset of skills, or are in a different area where you would expect a lower salary.

    Can... "Dave from the pub said..." really be evidence to justify the salary?



  • @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    So those are the same factors

    What do you mean?



  • @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    I've been asked a few times to show evidence of why a salary should be given for a position. They often require similar job postings with the target salary in question... aka, if other companies are paying it, we should.

    That's a sign of a really bad company. Really, really bad. You evidence is "otherwise I don't take this job". You can likewise demand evidence of why they would pay less. Remember, they have no rights or power that you don't have. The negotiation is equal both ways. If they treated me like that in an interview, I'd simple turn them down for the job... and have, on Wall St.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    aka, if other companies are paying it, we should

    This is all but impossible for you to provide and certainly impossible for you to prove. So this is an outright scam. You can't trust anyone that would do this, they aren't employers with any ethics.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    So those are the same factors

    What do you mean?

    If I can commute to both places from the same house reasonably, the things that determine the pay that you get are the same. Because as a worker, I could be in the higher cost or the lower cost location.



  • @Jimmy9008 What is bringing on this question? Are you in a position you feel is paying you much less than you deserve or did you move to a new area you aren't familiar with?



  • @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    I've been asked a few times to show evidence of why a salary should be given for a position. They often require similar job postings with the target salary in question... aka, if other companies are paying it, we should.

    That's a sign of a really bad company. Really, really bad. You evidence is "otherwise I don't take this job". You can likewise demand evidence of why they would pay less. Remember, they have no rights or power that you don't have. The negotiation is equal both ways. If they treated me like that in an interview, I'd simple turn them down for the job... and have, on Wall St.

    The evidence they would show is from a site like PayScale. I believe they get salary data from people filling out a form about their own salary, which then shows the information. My thoughts on that are people looking are naturally going to be on lower salary so the data will mostly contain only low salary. So, its a useless tool... but its one I have seen used.



  • @scottalanmiller

    @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    So those are the same factors

    What do you mean?

    If I can commute to both places from the same house reasonably, the things that determine the pay that you get are the same. Because as a worker, I could be in the higher cost or the lower cost location.

    I see what you mean now. Yes, that is sort of reasonable, however, the travel cost is slightly different and the living cost is also different. For example, I can pick up a burger and beer in Greenwich at a decent pub for £10 in Greenwich, in Kings Cross, its usually hitting £15 and up for somewhere equally decent...



  • @wirestyle22 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @Jimmy9008 What is bringing on this question? Are you in a position you feel is paying you much less than you deserve or did you move to a new area you aren't familiar with?

    I am probably getting a promotion within the next month which will include many more duties, and I know the new salary is being 'bench-marked' to make sure its the right amount, but my current salary is already on the upper limits for what I do already, and I cannot see a single posting for what I will be doing... so, if 'bench-marked' by looking at many different job titles, the number is actually less!

    I am not sure on how I can decide what is reasonable or not for me to accept the position, or to move on if needed elsewhere...



  • It's important to remember that "location" is of little relevance to pay. You can move trivially, but a company cannot. And you can work remotely. You could work for Canary Wharf or Wall St. from where you are. Pay is primarily based on the value that you bring to the job, not location. If they require you to live somewhere expensive, then they pay you more because of unnecessary costs that they have created.

    Companies will try to use false comparisons to drive down your pay. But remember... the pay comes down to what you need for the job. They can't demand anything of you, they don't set the price range that you'll accept.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    I've been asked a few times to show evidence of why a salary should be given for a position. They often require similar job postings with the target salary in question... aka, if other companies are paying it, we should.

    That's a sign of a really bad company. Really, really bad. You evidence is "otherwise I don't take this job". You can likewise demand evidence of why they would pay less. Remember, they have no rights or power that you don't have. The negotiation is equal both ways. If they treated me like that in an interview, I'd simple turn them down for the job... and have, on Wall St.

    The evidence they would show is from a site like PayScale. I believe they get salary data from people filling out a form about their own salary, which then shows the information. My thoughts on that are people looking are naturally going to be on lower salary so the data will mostly contain only low salary. So, its a useless tool... but its one I have seen used.

    There isn't any public actual information out there like that. Take anywhere anyone I know has ever worked, check PayScale or Glassdoor and they earn more than those places report. Those are sites designed to brow beat employees into accepting less than market value. No legit company will pull that scam on you.

    Like any scam, it all gets used. But it's not real.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @scottalanmiller

    @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    So those are the same factors

    What do you mean?

    If I can commute to both places from the same house reasonably, the things that determine the pay that you get are the same. Because as a worker, I could be in the higher cost or the lower cost location.

    I see what you mean now. Yes, that is sort of reasonable, however, the travel cost is slightly different and the living cost is also different. For example, I can pick up a burger and beer in Greenwich at a decent pub for £10 in Greenwich, in Kings Cross, its usually hitting £15 and up for somewhere equally decent...

    Only slightly to a point of irrelevance. And you don't need to eat where you work, only where you live.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    I am not sure on how I can decide what is reasonable or not for me to accept the position, or to move on if needed elsewhere...

    If they are pulling that "prove your value versus other people that don't do the same job and aren't you", then it's time to look elsewhere. Clearly you've raised your value beyond their ability to handle. There's no more future with them and they know it, you know it... the promotion is already putting everyone into an awkward situation.

    Also... as this is your existing employer, no one that they are comparing you to is someone that they know. If they are offering you 50K because some random guy on a website got $49K.... that guy 1) isn't you 2) has no experience with the company 3) might not even be real 4) probably can't do your job 5) definitely can't do you job for at least a year....

    If he makes $49K, that alone shoudl show your value close to 65K just because you are already there, already proven, already trained... that you are a known, trained element itself is a 20-200% value increase over some random person on the street because only unskilled labour can be compared in that "pool of people" kind of way, and even then there is value to a known good worker over a random one.



  • @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    Clearly you've raised your value beyond their ability to handle

    I guess I need to know what salary they suggest later this year and take if from there. I'm just trying to think of what a reasonable figure could be as anywhere I look i'm not finding anything reasonable.

    Ill be managing a team in London, where I currently have no management duties, i'll also be the global IT lead for all escalation, assigning projects and direction, i'll be managing the helpdesk by working with the business to decide SLAs and ensuring tickets are assigned to agents, and escalate to other members of the team if needed, and will be the main tech on the global change board to ensure changes are relevant, sound, needed and financially sensible...

    So a lot of extra work.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    I guess I need to know what salary they suggest later this year and take if from there. I'm just trying to think of what a reasonable figure could be as anywhere I look i'm not finding anything reasonable.
    Ill be managing a team in London, where I currently have no management duties, i'll also be the global IT lead for all escalation, assigning projects and direction, i'll be managing the helpdesk by working with the business to decide SLAs and ensuring tickets are assigned to agents, and escalate to other members of the team if needed, and will be the main tech on the global change board to ensure changes are relevant, sound, needed and financially sensible...

    So that sounds like a CIO. Do a search somewhere for Fortune 500 CIOs in London. See what the ranges are. Last offer I had for that was way north of a million and that was a long time ago. So today, figure at least 600,000 pounds given the location and role.



  • Payscale is obviously BS. But even their show nearly 150K

    https://www.payscale.com/research/UK/Job=Chief_Information_Officer_(CIO)/Salary

    And that's all businesses, all of the UK.



  • Problem with places like PayScale, is they do salary by claimed title, and not by job role, industry, etc. An actual CIO is way, way higher than that. But everyone two bit, small business tech calls themselves a CIO and puts in their salary.

    But since a London system admin would be double that salary at least, being the CIO which is a few steps over them (their manager's manager at least), you can imagine how much higher the salary is.

    I had a hedge fund call me just the other day for salary info on hiring people. And we talked about how $300K - $450K was the salary range for system admins (non-manager) in the NYC area, and London is even more expensive. So use that as a guide. If you are managing people who should be making that price range, it gives you an idea of where to start.



  • @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    Problem with places like PayScale, is they do salary by claimed title, and not by job role, industry, etc. An actual CIO is way, way higher than that. But everyone two bit, small business tech calls themselves a CIO and puts in their salary.

    But since a London system admin would be double that salary at least, being the CIO which is a few steps over them (their manager's manager at least), you can imagine how much higher the salary is.

    I had a hedge fund call me just the other day for salary info on hiring people. And we talked about how $300K - $450K was the salary range for system admins (non-manager) in the NYC area, and London is even more expensive. So use that as a guide. If you are managing people who should be making that price range, it gives you an idea of where to start.

    The job title wont be CIO, probably more like Global IT Lead, and I report to the CIO. What would be similar to that?



  • You never now what something is actually worth until you try to sell it.

    Brush up your resume, talk to recruiters and send it out. See what bites you get and what pay ranges are for those roles. You arent obligated to take any of them.



  • @IRJ said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    You never now what something is actually worth until you try to sell it.

    Brush up your resume, talk to recruiters and send it out. See what bites you get and what pay ranges are for those roles. You arent obligated to take any of them.

    That sounds like a good idea.



  • @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    @IRJ said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    You never now what something is actually worth until you try to sell it.

    Brush up your resume, talk to recruiters and send it out. See what bites you get and what pay ranges are for those roles. You arent obligated to take any of them.

    That sounds like a good idea.

    But you likely WILL want to take them. And why?

    1. They will likely pay better.
    2. They will pay better without making you "prove value" in a pointless way.
    3. It is your current employer forcing you to do this to prove your value to them because they don't value you themselves.

  • Vendor

    @Jimmy9008 said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    Hi folks,
    How do you decide what is a fair salary for an IT position?

    As a hiring manager It was:
    Look at the skills, identify skills that align with the job (IE it's cool if you were an oracle RAC admin but If I didn't need that I didn't care). If I see a good alignment (Your skills mostly are skills I saw value in) I'd assign $$ modifiers to the skills (Say someone who can do BGP/MPLS work was worth an extra 20K over another admin who couldn't), sum them up and if the value > the cost to hire you and you had the best value of any candidates at the time you got hired!

    I am finding it to be quite difficult to get an idea as many job listings that require a similar skill set often say 'salary depending on experience'. So, you cannot really get any data.

    Working for a large company there's stuff like GlassDoor to get an idea of what a company has previously paid a given title but even then that can get iffy, especially in consulting where everyone might get the same title but have wildly different skillsets and value. If it's a company who has H1B's you can look up the salary data on that (I think our average H1B makes 120K but you could align specific jobs to specific visa's and guess based on that). For software companies trying to figure out what the pay bands and level's corresponding between companies (Say for titles like MTS) https://www.levels.fyi/ isn't horrible. If you want to pseudo-anonymously ask people internally at a given company https://www.teamblind.com/articles/Topics works for larger companies.
    There's also just go drinking with people and ask.

    Salary != Compensation. Say it with me...
    . Once you add up, RSU's ESPP, weird 401K benefits (Post tax rollover maximums and supporting reverse rollovers), HSA pre-paid match, health benefits, unlimited vacation, variable bonus tied to my MBOs, training and T&E costs It could be argued I've had years where 50% (or more) of my compensation wasn't my base salary.

    https://thenicholson.com/thinking-taking-offer-need-know/

    Plus, I have never quite trusted the data shown on sites like PayScale. Its probably quite skewed towards data being provided by those on lower salaries anyway.

    It's just a data point. Just because you don't like that data point doesn't mean it's not data. it just might not be relevant data.

    I also expect each area varies quite drastically in salary. It doesn't feel right to judge say a Sysadmin salary for somebody working from Kings Cross or Old Street to somebody in Greenwich...

    Once you get above helpdesk fodder this shouldn't matter as work remote jobs (or jobs where you can office out of a remote office).

    How do you begin to decide whats fair?

    Who gives a @#%@ what's fair? It's about you trying to provide the most recognized value and extract the most value back in compensation as possible. Seriously, Rules of Acquisition should guide you in compensation negotiations.


  • Vendor


  • Vendor

    @scottalanmiller said in How do you know what a fair salary is for the area you work?:

    I've been asked a few times to show evidence of why a salary should be given for a position. They often require similar job postings with the target salary in question... aka, if other companies are paying it, we should.

    Most companies don't post the salary they are hiring at. The best jobs also don't go through recruiters (We don't pay/work with outside recruiters) so our payscales would be invisible in this case.


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