I always find it really difficult to try and determine where I am salary-wise compared to my peers in the area.

Sites like always have a wide array of job titles where many sound very similar and it's hard to tell which title really fits you and their salary ranges seem a bit inflated to me.

In the rare case when job postings actually have salary ranges on them, there seems to be a 30-40k range for the position, depending on your experience.

Recruiters sometimes have a decent idea of the current market, but some of the more untrustworthy ones will try to convince people that their market value is lower just so they can fill a position.

I was wondering if anyone had any good methods for trying to figure this out. If you know of any salary sites, please list them - maybe if I aggregated a few of them I could get some better numbers out of it.

+19  A: shows salaries listed by title and by company, which can at least give you a little more context.

Mike McMaster
Cool site!! Thanks
Interesting site, and most useful if you're looking to work in a big company in the US. Currently it's of limited use elsewhere and (for obvious reasons) with regards to small / midsize companies.
+3  A: 

Another question on the same thread

+1  A: 

I've gone to the a few different salary sites and pulled the salary for 3 similar positions/titles positions I have/had in the area/zip code I plan to work in. Then average the salaries. So far this gives a decent base line on what you should expect. Then try to get higher obviously =).

+11  A: 

The only really accurate gauge is to apply for other jobs and see what you get offered. A salary-guide is meaningless if you can't actually get such a job.

A former colleague actually applied for a job at a competitor just so he could take the information to his annual pay-review. The offer was slightly more than his then current salary, but not a huge amount more (I don't recall the figures involved). Our company wouldn't match the offer, and he changed employer...

I wouldn't have matched it either. An employee who has already interviewed with another company could bolt at any time. Why invest more time and money?
IndeedBut I guess it depends whether it's better value to pay the employee a more competitive salary or to find, employ and train a replacement. In my anecdote, the company probably made the right choice. At my current company, skills we need are hard to find - we'd fight to keep (most) developers.
@mark: Wow, maybe because they're valuable to you and training someone new costs a hell of a lot too? Maybe finding out why they're interviewing and fixing problems in your company could keep you from losing more developers? Or you could live in your fantasy where everyone loves working for you...
@Mark - An employee can leave at any time... at any time. Unless you're in the military.
He didn't say he told his employer he interviewed else where, he said he took the information he had gained. He could have phrased it in a way that would have got his point across that the industry is paying closer to this and this is what I think I'm worth.
Dustin Brooks
+6  A: 

In the UK I use - it gives a good breakdown by location and industry. I find it helpful to talk to recruiters (finding a good one can be difficult though!) and discuss your salary aspirations with them. A good agent should be able to tell you if what you're after is realistic or not.

Martin Clarke
+1  A: 

I had a chance to check out Glassdoor and while it's interesting information, it's not particularly useful because you can't filter by job title & location, which is really the information you need to figure out what your salary should be.

17 of 26
+2  A: 

In the past, I've used the Robert Half Technology 2008 Salary Guide. It's published by a recruiting firm and you have to sign up to get access to it, but it seemed pretty accurate last time I looked at it.

+1  A: 

There will be no straight-forward answer. With a big enough company or in the public sector (aka working for the government, whichever that country is for you) there will be published paygrades, but in general these will come in less than in the private sector, but perhaps with other benefits (quite often better pension schemes).

With smaller companies you might get more flexibility for the job to reward your ability, but again, get paid less with an expectation that the options package will be enough to attract the quality candidates.

Mid-range companies might then pay more, but will it be as much fun?

The only way to know is to ask actually people but, really, would you answer that question? My wife knows what I earn. My boss knows. So does my bank manager. I'd tell you a number but it's up to you if you'd believe me.

And if you're a recruiter, I'll probably tell you a different number, but that depends if I'm looking for a job or looking to employ someone.

And even when we do interview to fill a role, we are often really careful not to mention too specific a salary range. If it's too high then we get lots of chancers trying to inflate their current roles with a look to step up, but if it's too low then we don't attract the quality applicants.

There really is more to this than just a single bottom line figure.

+3  A: 

More information on this topic over at Lifehacker

From that Lifehacker article, Indeed is very easy to use and seems to be giving me some decent numbers. You just enter in a job title & zip code, and it gives you a list of closely related job titles & average salaries. It's far easier to use than

17 of 26
+6  A: 

You are asking the wrong question.

Salary is completely meaningless once you are covering the basic bills.

Quick thought experiment.

You are fresh out of school and have a choice of 2 jobs:

Job #1: You clean toilets. 5 days a week. Salary: $150,000

Job #2: You work directly with Sergey Brin and get direct exposure to the upper workings of Google. Salary: $50,000

Based on salary -- Job #1 is the better choice.

A better question: Is the next year of 'experience' at your current job going to be the same as the last?

You should change jobs any time you are not learning 50% new things every single month.

Regardless of your current salary, even if it means a pay cut --- change jobs.

[Update: since SO doesn't allow commenting on your own answer unless u r l33t] :

@Till -- my example was for illustration-only --> substitute any deadend job you want.

@JasonMichael -- WTF? You completely missed the point being made, which is one is a completely dead-end job that happens to pay high. The other is a job that provides lots of experience that will be used later in life.

150k for cleaning toilets? Woah. Must reconsider what I do.
I doubt you'd get 150k cleaning toilets, unless it was earned by bulk... and at that rate, and that many cleanings, you'd probably be dead far sooner than the guy doing job #2, who would live 30 years making 50-60k, averaging 1.65 million dollars whereas you'd only live 2 years making 300k total
This is a classic case of a strawman. You can't start off a thought experiment with a nonsensical supposition.It's like, "Suppose an entire team of college cheerleaders wanted you biblically and gave you $1M for the privilege, would you cheat on your wife?" Not really a useful experiment.
It's strawman and assumes everyone is motivated and behaves in exactly the same way.
Arthur Thomas
u can if ur cleaning toilet in the middle of a warzone and the armymen really really need their toilet cleans..
Hey, some bus drivers here in Ottawa make over $100,000. Gotta love unions and overtime.
Its not a strawman. I am pointing out there are other considerations other than salary. "Cleaning toilets" could easily be "Maintaining COBOL code."Clueless.
A bit awkwardly phrased, but the point is well made - I've been in the position of turning down a (dead-end) management position, even though doing so cost me a pay cut(Turned out to be a great decision). I think the "50%" new is a bit harsh, but satisfaction is key. Now about those cheerleaders...
Steve B.

In that 30-40K range, just consider how much experience or how strong are the skills that the company wants. For example, if a company states the salary range as $80K-110K for a position with 5 to 10 years experience, then you could set $80K = 5 years, $110K = 10 years with a linear scale between them, so 7.5 years is halfway between the extremes and so it is worth $95K.

Alternatively, consider if they want a beginner, intermediate or expert in some technologies. Some places want a senior developer to know their stuff inside out and backwards in some cases and so if you can show that then you could say that you'd want something near the top of that range.

Last but not least is to consider the side benefits of working at company X: Is there flex-time? Lax dress code? Working on cool technologies? Using cutting-edge development methodologies? Profit-sharing?

JB King
+1  A: 

Here's another useful (or well, at least interesting) site for IT salary benchmarking:


To use it, you must register and enter your own info. Then you can see salary stats grouped by country / job function / experience. For example, according to the site, someone in "software engineer" role with 3-5 years of experience gets paid on average 43,000€ in Germany, £33,000 in the UK, and C$56,000 in Canada. To me, it seems to have a decent amount of data for most (developed) countries (though surprisingly few users from the US).

But other than that (points 2 & 3 assuming you are currently employed):

  1. If you have friends who work in the same or similar industry, talk with them.
  2. Why not talk about it with peers in your current team (some of them, the ones you know better), if you really want to know. (In Finland we seem to have a "best practice" of bringing this kind of stuff up when you are drunk off your face in the late hours of some recreational team event. Your mileage may vary. :-)
  3. Ask yourself this: are you happy with your current salary, considering your role in the team, how much responsibility you take, and so on? If you are, well... be happy - and don't waste too much of your life pondering over it. If not, take the issue up with your superior, and try to reach some kind of mutual understanding.

Personally, with a combination of all 3 of the above, really, and a little browsing on, I think I have a good enough idea of where I stand.

Regarding point 2: For some of us (at least in the U.S.), sharing salary information - especially with co-workers - is against company policy and could lead to being fired.
Hmm, interesting (I'm pretty sure it's different for us - haven't heard of such a policy in my company or elsewhere). So technically you shouldn't even share that info (anonymously) on sites like ActiveTechPros? (Could that partially explain the relatively low number of US users?)
Actually ActiveTechPros is pretty crappy e.g. if interested in London salary levels. For UK I find much better and for US