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Getting Paid What You Are Worth

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    Getting Paid What You Are Worth

    The question of whether or not you're getting paid the amount you deserve compared with others in your line of work seems to cross everybody's mind from time to time. In the past, this information was extremely difficult to determine. As we all well know, an employer's interest has always been to pay their employees the least amount possible while at the same time keeping them satisfied, so sharing salary information, and the power which comes along with that knowledge, has never been in the company's interest. Asking others in your career field is often awkward and provides only a thin slice of the true picture of what others in your industry are making. It also lacks the authority needed when negotiating for a higher salary. "But Bob Jones makes X amount a year," just won't cut it when you approach your boss for a raise.

    The Internet has started to level this information gap, shifting power away from companies and toward employees who know where to find the information they need. This is an important fact that many times is never broached with a financial planner since they often focus only on the money you are currently earning. Getting paid less than you're worth, however, is like giving your company a gift in the amount between what you are being paid and what you should be getting paid. The question is do you want to be giving that monetary gift to your company or to yourself?

    Before we get into some of the details, it's important to remember that money isn't everything. Your work environment, co-workers, working hour flexibility, location, as well as many other non monetary factors will be large factors in determining whether or not you are satisfied in your work. This being said, it's still well worth making every effort to get paid what you are truly worth. Now you can find out your true worth on the open market through a number of online sites. These sites can be an excellent starting point for basic compensation information about the field you're in and will give a general ballpark figure of what others in your occupation are receiving.

    More and more online sites are offering salary surveys for a wide range of careers as well as customized compensation analysis. The information varies from site to site, but in general the non fee sites offer general compensation information which will often fail to account for many of your individual specifics such as your industry, company size and any special skills you may possess. Sites such as America's Career InfoNet and Jobstar's Salary Surveys will give you an outstanding general overview of the salaries being commanded by different jobs and positions, and give you a good feel for the salary and compensation you should be shooting for in your chosen field.

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    Salary.com's Salary Wizard and WageWeb also offer quality general information on what certain job positions are commanding, but, in addition, offer more detailed analysis and numbers for a fee. For those above the middle management level, paying for comparative and detailed compensation information can be worth the cost in many cases. In Salary.com's Personal Salary Report, the data has been segmented beyond general geographic adjustments for each region in the United States to reflect pay practices specific to various regions, company sizes, and industries for a $49.95 fee. WageWeb's detailed compensation reports cost about $170. Compo Geo Online's Geographic Salary Database Research provides salary and compensation information for a fee ranging from $29 to $449 depending on the type of comparative salary details desired and in which format those details are produced. Execunet provides detailed information as well as a wealth of other membership resources for executives making $100,000 or more for fees ranging from $149 (3 months) to $399 (1 year).

    For those searching for managerial positions in the $50,000 to $200,000 a year range, you can get a detailed report for free for taking 30 minutes to an hour to fill out the questionnaire from the job recruiting firm Korn/Ferry International. In return for filling out a typical recruiting questionnaire and to have your information included in the Korn/Ferry recruiter's internal data base, they'll provide you with an excellent, no cost analysis of your individual earning profile including salary and bonus potential and a list of careers suiting your current job experience.

    Once you have the information of what salary others in your field are commanding, you've placed yourself in a much stronger position to argue for better compensation at your next performance review or when changing jobs. The searches should also give you good clues to the job skills and experience which are valued in your field and industry, so you can begin working toward attaining those skills. All in all, a few hours on the Internet will allow you to gain the knowledge to make sure that you receive the salary and compensation that you truly deserve.
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