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  • Writer's pictureGrace Simpson

Are you being paid fairly?

Legislation changes and new online tools are making it easier than ever for you to answer this question.


Where we have been...

How do you know if you are being paid fairly? Job titles these days rarely give you an accurate indication of the pay range of a role. A Director-level role at a small company could equate to a mid-level manager at a much larger company (i.e. A Sr. Manager role at Amazon, is a Director-level role at many other smaller organizations). As a job seeker or an employee, it has been difficult in the past to understand if you are getting compensated fairly. Just try being a job seeker skirting around a point blank question from a recruiter about your salary expectations. And discussing your salary with your peers and family is often even a more taboo subject than your political opinions.

A Director-level role at a small company could equate to a mid-level manager at a much larger company.

Websites like Glassdoor, Payscale and Indeed have been used to help job seekers and employees get an idea of the going rate for a job and/or industry but the information has been less than reliable. This is because these sites are basically using a 'best guest' method - a combination of self-reported data and market data to provide information. Don't get me wrong, this is super helpful, but not as good as accurate data from the company itself.


Also, even if it you get an idea of the market compensation for you role, companies will target compensation at different market percentiles. So one company may target to compensate at the 50% percentile (average market rate for the role) while another company may target higher or lower. Keep in mind, the same company may target a higher market percentile for more in-demand roles (like in tech) and a lower market percentile for less in-demand roles (like admin). So, this has made getting accurate information about the specific wage/salary for a role at a specific company next to impossible.


In Canada, most wages/salaries for publicly funded roles are available to employees and job seekers. And in Ontario, 'The Sunshine List' compiles and posts names and roles for government employees who earn over $100,000 annually. But, these roles are not always the best benchmarks for the private sector since the overall compensation package including pension, benefits and time off can look quite different and the types of roles/work can be hard to compare against similar private sector positions.


Where we are going!

Pay transparency has been a hot topic in the United States for quite some time. In California as of Jan 2023 and in New York as of November 2022, new legislation requires all companies to post the pay scale in any open advertisement. Similar legislation was also enacted in Washington and Colorado. This applies to salaried and hourly employees as well as all roles that may be filled remotely. THIS IS A BIG DEAL! This is a very big deal, for a few reasons:

  • Provides all people with valuable information about their compensation and allows them to negotiate better wages

  • Promotes pay equity and ensures employees receive equal pay for equal work

  • Helps reduce the gender and racial pay gaps that have long plagued the American workforce

  • Sets an example for others, makes it easier for companies to benchmark against each other and encourages other companies to share similar information to attract and retain top talent

While the new law is a step in the right direction, it still remains to be seen how effective it will be in closing the pay gap. However, it is a positive move towards creating a more equitable and transparent workplace for all employees.


The law only impacts companies hiring in in the states mentioned, but regardless of where you are working, you now have access to this information. So, this means you can benchmark any job posting against a similar posting to a similar role/industry. And remember, this information is not based on approximated data, this is true wage/salary information.


And what you can do about it

As a job seeker and employee, it is important to understand how pay transparency is changing and to know where to find the best resources to ensure you are getting paid fairly. And that is where new online tools can really help you speed up your research!


Introducing Comprehensive - a website that tracks and publishes salary ranges daily. Let's look at an example for a Senior Software Engineer. On the home page (first image), you can select your job title from a drop down list. You will then see a list of companies with active job postings matching your title selection. Then, you can click on an individual company and dig into the details (second image). If your job title is not listed yet, find something similar or check back - the tool is continuing to add more data as more companies comply with the legislation.


Home Page

On the home page, you can select your job title from a drop down list. You will then see a list of companies with active job postings matching your title selection.

Details Page

When you click on a company name, you will see more information about the market range, sample side and links to active job postings.

They say money cannot buy happiness right? While that may or may not be true, just remember, that compensation is only one piece of a very large puzzle that keeps you content in a role and company. There are factors beyond salary, such as benefits, bonuses, equity, and especially company culture (including pace of work, remote work and flexible work options) that may matter just as much (if not more sometimes!). These perks can vary widely between companies and can have a significant impact on your overall satisfaction in your life. If you are a job seeker, be sure to ask about these benefits during the interview process and to carefully review your job offer to ensure you are getting the best possible deal.

There are factors beyond salary, such as benefits, bonuses, equity, and especially company culture (including pace of work, remote work and flexible work options) that may matter just as much (if not more sometimes!)

Looking Ahead!

Pay transparency is changing the way we think about compensation and promoting fairness and equality in the workplace and IT IS ABOUT TIME! So, the next time you have an annual compensation conversation or are negotiating a job offer, take some time to dig into the data first. While comprehensive.io is one great tool out there, AI is certainly going to mean more access to better information for everyone regarding fair pay in the future. Do your research and use your voice!


As always, if you are looking for support through a challenging talent situation at work and want a fresh perspective or someone to talk to, reach out! I would LOVE to chat! Connect with me here, shoot me a DM on Instagram or check me out on LinkedIn!


Note: The basis of the article was generated by ChatGPT and then revised and supplemented by me!

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