Monday, November 5, 2007

What are you worth?

We recently posted on the hiring trends in the direct marketing industry (it remains fairly rosy), and we've commented on how certain marketing specialists (such as data analysts) will continue to be sought after and well-paid. But, it's always interesting to see what's going on, salary-wise, in the market.

From today's NY Times: Workers Say They're Underpaid -- But Are They Right?

"According to's 2006/2007 Employee Job Satisfaction and Retention Survey, 62 percent of employees plan on looking for a new job in the next three months. Dissatisfied employees have cited a variety of reasons for their desire to leave their company, including lack of opportunity for advancement, no recognition for achievements, insufficient benefits and even boredom.

Trumping all reasons for why employees want to leave their current job is that they think they are underpaid. Nearly 50 percent of employees cited inadequate compensation as the primary reason they want to walk out the door. To determine if the employee claims were valid,'s team of Certified Compensation Professionals (CCP�) conducted extensive analysis by comparing the job title, industry, geography and company size reported by each respondent to the database of human resource (HR) reported salary data.

The results indicated that only 22 percent of the survey respondents were actually underpaid, while 15 percent may actually be overpaid (paid well above their fair market value) and 33 percent were paid reasonably close to their fair market value."

The article discusses how companies are granting titles in lieu of higher salaries in an attempt to keep their employees happy. Unfortunately, the employee then expects to be paid for that title, even if their duties remain those of a less auspicious title.

The article provides a link to a "Salary Wizard" to help readers understand if they are, indeed, underpaid.

I believe that you need to always understand your market value. Just as it's important to price products and services correctly, isn't it even more important to understand the value that your specific skills and experience bring to an organization?

And, if you have a team of people working for you, it's pretty important to understand that 62% of them may be, even today, thinking of leaving you! Perhaps it's time to match responsibilities with titles and ensure that salaries are also in-line. This will help manage employee expectations and reward people with bigger titles (and higher pay) when they deserve the promotion.

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