lets talk compensation

Compensation structures are often influenced by public information. Be in the know, so you can get your dough.


Market-based data on compensation is not a tool specific to employers. Employees can (and should) use public market data for their negotiations. Bottos and Coleman state, “Now that employees have access to market data, they are more receptive to a discussion of why their pay may vary from the market and how they can move up on the pay scale”. 


Here is an analysis of market data for six specific positions and how those jobs are benchmarked.
These data sets are from Salary.com. The salary ranges for those jobs (table 1) present each job with a specific paygrade. The figured represent the median income for each job from Salary.com as the median pay but with a 3% increase.
Table 1
Pay grade scale
Min Mid Max
Grade 1 (security team) $27,516 $33,588 $39,660
Grade 2 (customer service) $20,876 $37,977 $55,078
Grade 3 (quality assurance) $38,996 $45,985 $52,974
Grade 4 (floor supervisor) $70,840 $76,632 $82,424
Grade 5 (facilities manager) $77,101 $101,194 $125,287
Grade 6 (people operations officer) $140,236 $253,442 $366,648

The philosophy behind the 3% increase is that companies should plan to recruit strategically and aggressively, especially in our current job market. Having this market data to draw from presents a picture to the employee/potential employee that “this is what other firms are paying, but we are going to start you here.” The market data is just as available to the recruiters as it is to the recruited. 

There is enough market data available to benchmark each position. The 3% increase helps business to use benchmarking to be competitive and relevant in the job market, but also to show a sense of flexibility within its compensation strategy. Just because an agreed-upon median income is communicated within the market, does not mean that this compensation range has been successful. It can be common for organizations to use a casual benchmarking approach to compensation without analyzing organizational results of the pay structure.


Gelinas states, “It has long been recognized that organizational success depends on among other things an organization’s ability to adapt to its changing environment”. Benchmarking and the utilization of market data is another tool for compensation strategists to use, and job seekers should do the same. Salary data may be a starting place for compensation discussion, but it may not always be what is best for the firm and its employees. HR generalists should have this data readily available, regardless of the situation, because employees and potential employees are using it at an increasing rate. 

Bottos, L.M. & Coleman, B. (2002). The new salary negotiation. Compensation & Benefits Review, 34(2), 22-27. doi:10.1177/088636870203400204
Brown, D. (2008). Measuring the effectiveness of pay and rewards: The Achilles’ heel of
contemporary reward professionals. Compensation & Benefits Review, 40(5), 23-41. doi:10.1177/0886368708324365
Gelinas, P. (2006). An organizational flexibility framework for compensation and job security
negotiations. Compensation & Benefits Review, 38(3), 24-29. doi:10.1177/0886368706288211
Salary.com. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.salary.com/