By Myles Leva
Last Updated: May 17, 2023
Are you being paid what you’re worth?
A salary comparison tool is the fastest way to get an idea of how your pay compares to the average for your occupation.
But while perfect data is hard to find, you want to make sure you have the most accurate and up-to-date information. This arms you with more confidence when you discuss your salary with your boss.
Let’s go over the best salary comparison tools and how they work.
There isn’t really any one best site to compare salaries as far as we’ve seen.
They may often borrow from each other, and they all have different methodologies. So, we will go over the unique areas where each salary comparison tool shines, as much as possible.
This is one of the best sources of occupational data in the world.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is an American institution tracking the qualifications, responsibilities, pay, and much more for all occupations in the US. It’s an incredibly well-run organization with an excellent website that is always crisp and up-to-date.
The only downside is that it’s a US government institution and doesn’t collect or provide data from any other country.
The BLS lists a lot of data, starting with a clear presentation of the most important information. That means beside every job title, they list the median salary for that occupation.
That way you can find your occupation and immediately know whether you’re in the upper or lower half of earners in your occupation.
In addition to raw, top-quality data, the BLS provides lots of useful advice about how to improve your standing in your field. If you look a bit more carefully, there is plenty of useful information on how the top earners in each occupation got there.
This well-named site is a salary calculator, primarily.
But it has many intuitive and easy-to-use tools. That’s in addition to the wealth of data on earnings, including salaries, benefits, bonuses, and retirement plans.
To use salary.com to compare your own salary to others in your occupation, just go to the homepage.
That basic service is free. But you can also use other more comprehensive reporting features for a fee. They offer salary research, reports, job listings relevant to you, and a cost of living report in case you’re considering moving to a new area for a new job.
Payscale.com provides reporting on salaries for a wide range of occupations. They also offer additional data on bonuses, benefits, and overtime.
Like salary.com, payscale.com has an easy-to-use comparison tool.
They will then ask you a more comprehensive series of questions, but it will only take a few minutes. In that time you provide a simple list of your skills, education, employer, and demographic information.
After a few minutes of typing in this basic information, you get a thorough comparison of your salary relative to others in a very similar situation to your own.
Indeed.com is a job posting and job searching site. But as a side effect of this main purpose, it has gathered a large collection of data.
You can use indeed.com to search for a specific job title within a limited area. You can also search for job postings within a specified salary range.
Glassdoor.com is a job search site that contains a large collection of data.
It has the same kind of salary information we’ve covered. But it also focuses on other aspects of job quality. You can find more information here on things like employee reviews and other “inside scoops”.
The site is a bit harder to navigate than the others on this list. You also need to sign up to access any of their site. But it can be worth the effort to access this information.
Employers usually take a comprehensive approach.
They use a mix of external and internal data to create their own benchmarks.
Big, competitive employers are always well-aware of the salary expectations for employees in their area and in similar positions.
In general, employers set their benchmarks based on a mix of:
Salary comparison sites offer salary comparison tools, normally alongside other valuable tools and features. They normally have multiple sources while also encouraging user participation to collect even more information.
User-submitted data can be controversial because it can produce a selection bias, but it can be used well to contribute to salary estimations.
In addition, these sites normally rely a lot on employers. Employer-reported data is aggregated, then analyzed for bad practices to ensure that salary benchmarks are as accurate as possible.
Algorithms and statistical analyses round everything off, providing more data for different occupational titles in different regions.
Salary estimates enable you to make more informed decisions. If you decide to quit your job, make sure you are prepared for the next steps.