5 Salary Secrets Your Company Won't Tell You
by Joy Victory, special to PayScale.com
It’s normal to wonder how and why you get paid the salary you do. After all, most employers are not willing to share inside salary information and salary decision methods, without at least a little prodding. So how are wage increases determined in big companies? And how can you use that salary information to your advantage? Let’s take a look at the best kept company salary secrets.
Quiz: What's Your Money IQ?
1. For most companies, 3.9% is the average budget increase for salaries
Most “high performers” get around a five percent raise, while “low performers” often receive an annual pay raise of 2 percent or less, according to a survey from World at Work.
“When people are looking for 6 to 8 percent, well, very few people are getting it,” says Rebecca Mazin, co-founder of the HR consulting firm Recruit Right and author of The HR Answer Book: An Indispensable Guide for Managers and Human Resources Professionals.
Knowing this can make it easier to stomach a 4 percent annual pay raise – while it may not equal big money, it actually means your employer values you. Anything more is above the average pay raise, and means you’re likely considered a top performer, and anything less means you may be underperforming.
2. Your employer (or future employer) may not know the national salary range for your position
Just because a whole wealth of salary information is online these days doesn’t mean your company has any idea what the national average wages are for a person in your field and in your city. If you research the historic average wage trends and discover your salary is abnormally low, it can be a great negotiation tool when you talk to your boss about your annual pay raise – or when you’re accepting a new job offer. He or she will realize they could easily lose you since many competitors nearby are paying better than the national average wages and possibly giving a higher annual pay raise.
“You need to go in with some data behind you, you at least need to know what the going rate is,” says Dawn Rosenberg McKay, About.com Guide to Career Planning. “[That way] you’ll know if you’re being outlandish or asking for something ridiculous.”