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When you try to decide if a new job offer seems fair or if your existing job is paying you what you deserve, it can be tough to figure out what a fair salary for a specific job should be. Fair salaries depend upon the cost of living in your local area, required skills, the size of the employer, and the scarcity of local talent.
The right answer may be rather subjective. For example, your definition of a fair salary may be one that provides you with a large enough income for a comfortable lifestyle and the opportunity to save some money. On the other hand, you can certainly find plenty of objective salary surveys for salaries paid to similar professionals in your local area.
In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides salary statistics by occupation. If you can relocate, you can search for national averages. But you can also find information for regions of the country, states, and large cities. Some recruiting companies and job boards also publish competitive salary surveys from time to time.
You might get good answers by contacting local recruiters who specialize in placing people in your occupation. A successful employment recruiter is likely to have her finger on the pulse of your area, industry, and specific job.
However, even two very similar jobs might offer different salaries. For example, some computer programming jobs might require a couple different skills, while others may require dozens. The only real way to figure out a fair salary might be to put yourself on the market and compare competitive offers from different companies.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|