Written Case Study: Getting and Using Compensation Information
Compensation information is now widely available. Click on the website www.salary.com. This site provides free data on jobs, including job description, annual salary by Zip Code, distribution by quartiles of salary amounts, info on benefits, etc. The basic information that an organization would get if it bought a salary survey from a consultant or conducted its own salary survey can be found here.
This site provides pay data on hundreds of jobs in cities all over the U.S. in many different industries. Identify several jobs (at least three) of interest to you, such as accountant, financial analyst, product manager, stockbroker, or manager compensation manager. Select specific cities or use the national average. Obtain the median, the 25th and 75th percentile base wage, and the total cash compensation rates for each job.
Respond to the following questions.
1. Which jobs are paid more or less? Is this what you would have expected? Why or why not? What factors could explain the differences in the salaries?
2. Do the jobs have different bonuses as a percentage of their base salaries? Why or why not? What could explain these differences?
3. Do the data include the value of the stock options? What are the implications of this?
4. Read the job descriptions. Are they accurate descriptions for jobs that you would be applying for? Why or why not? Are there jobs for which you cannot find an appropriate match? Why do you think this is the case?
5. Check out pay levels for these types of jobs in your school’s career office or other local or regional source. How does the pay for jobs advertised in your career office or other local or regional source differ from pay levels on www.salary.com? Why do you think these differences exist?
6. How do you use this information while negotiating your salary in your job after graduation or when you apply for a different job? What data would you provide to support your “asking price”? What factors will influence whether or not you get what you ask for?
7. What is the relevant labor market for these jobs? How big are the differences between salaries in different locations?
8. For each job, compare the median salary to the low and high averages. How much variation exists? What factors might explain this variation in pay rates for the same job?
9. Look for a description of how these salary data are developed. Do you think it provides enough information? Why or why not? Discuss some of the factors that might impair the accuracy of these data. What are the implications of using inaccurate salary data for individuals or companies?
10. With this information available for free, why would you bother with consultants’ surveys?
11. If you were a manager, how would you justify paying one of your employees either higher or lower than the results shown on this website?
12. In your conclusion, highlight one thing you learned that would help you in the future.
You paper should respond with one or two paragraphs for each question, and one brief paragraph each for an introduction and conclusion.
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