What is a Salary Guide

Company culture, growth potential and work-life balance are all important factors to consider when job searching. Compensation, however, remains a top priority for most candidates. But salary negotiations can be intimidating, especially when you don’t know what you should be asking for. Salary guides can serve as a starting point, resulting in more informed discussions with potential employers. But what is a salary guide?

What is a Salary Guide?

A salary guide is a tool, usually used by hiring managers, to create and maintain competitive compensation packages. However, salary guides aren’t just for employers. They also serve as an excellent resource to job seekers looking to determine their market value. Typical content includes the most up-to-date information on starting salaries by years of experience or skill level. Numbers are generally based on historical averages, market trends, location and industry.

How to Use a Salary Guide

A salary guide can serve as a benchmarking tool during your job search. By comparing your current salary to those of similar positions, you’ll be able to come up with a range you’re comfortable with and identify jobs in alignment with your number. Consider pairing your research with the help of a recruiter. Recruiters can offer additional feedback on salary and provide the inside track on what their clients are offering.

What to Look for in a Salary Guide

Specificity is key. When determining your salary expectations, you’ll want to find a salary guide specific to your geographic location, role type and industry to ensure the pay is comparable to similar positions in the marketplace. You wouldn’t interview for a Graphic Designer role having reviewed questions specific to an Accounting position, would you? Similarly, you wouldn’t expect the same salary, either. Make sure your salary guide research is as targeted as possible.

Now that you can answer “what is a salary guide?” you’re ready to start benchmarking. Check out the Atrium 2019 Salary Guides to be on your way to more informed salary negotiations.

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Caitie Lowrey
Caitie Lowrey

Caitie Lowrey served as Atrium's Content Manager and a contributor to The Career Column and HR Blog. With experience as both a writer and recruiter, she offers insider tips and career advice that is both valuable and relevant to today’s job seeker and employer.