Does accurately reflect salaries in your company/industry?
August 20, 2014 4:52 AM   Subscribe

According to glassdoor I am really well paid for my title and company. I'm pretty sure I am either underpaid or average, based on what I have heard from recruiters and my management. What is your experience? Does glassdoor seem to skew low?

I only have a bit of anecdata to suggest I am not incredibly well paid for what I do.

1. A recruiter told me I was underpaid for my title and function. This was before I received a significant raise. On one hand I believe the recruiter because this person knows the industry. On the other hand I assume recruiters have a vested interest in making you think the grass is greener elsewhere.

2. After my significant raise I was told I am at the "median" for people in my group/ level. Granted it's a small sample size. (Of course then I was displeased to have been clearly underpaid prior to the raise, but whatever)

My peers also complain about being underpaid all of the time, but I think that's just typical everywhere so I don't really take that into account. I talk freely with friends about salaries, but that's just a handful of data points and it's good to have others.

I am interested to hear your experiences on accuracy and skew on! (I find the other sites vastly less accurate, by the way, but let me know if there is a good site in your experience with similar data). If this is relevant I'm in a managerial position with a big range of years of experience etc. so there seems to be a large band compared to more technical or entry level roles.
posted by rainydayfilms to Work & Money (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
For at least one (non-managerial) technical position I had, glassdoor skewed low by tens of thousands of dollars. It could have really messed up my negotiating, so now I don't trust it at all. YMMV.
posted by zeek321 at 5:50 AM on August 20, 2014

Glassdoor is not a random sample, it's a sample of people willing to put in the time to enter their salary. My assumption is that glassdoor skews low simply because disgruntled employees want to tell people about being underpaid more than satisfied employees want to tell people about being satisfied.

In my own experience with glassdoor, it seems to skew slightly low but not exceptionally low for what the market actually is where I live (I am a software engineer).

It's tricky though, because compensation packages are more complicated than the salary. For example, I currently work at a place that's pretty far under market but has a spectacular 401(k) program, which effectively brings them up to about average to the market.

The other thing to take into account is that the standard deviation of salaries for most job titles is reeeeally high (higher than will ever get displayed on glassdoor), so there's almost always a higher paying job out there, if that's what you are after.
posted by mcstayinskool at 6:08 AM on August 20, 2014 [2 favorites]

Anecdata: I happen to know, from my own salary history and from the sorts of salary ranges I saw when recently looking for work, that I am well-paid but not extravagantly so. Yet when I look at the data in glassdoor, I make 15K more than their maximum for my job title and location. I would definitely say their data is skewed downward.
posted by ubiquity at 6:48 AM on August 20, 2014

The glassdoor data for my job is fairly accurate, especially when you consider that glassdoor users are people who are changing jobs. At my research-based company, a large fraction of employees have my job title, which covers anybody hired with a PhD. The stated salary range spanned $105 - $140, listing $123 as "average". As a new hire 10 years out of school, I was offered $110 and negotiated to $120.

However, a friend who finished school with me took this as her first job (i.e. also 10 years out of school but with 10 years seniority at the company instead of a new hire, but same job title), I asked for advice while I was negotiating. She seemed to think the range listed was skewed low; she didn't share her numbers, but said her current salary was "startlingly above average, I wouldn't have expected that".

So I conclude, glassdoor is probably accurate for the salaries associated with new hires. At my institution. For my job title.
posted by aimedwander at 7:04 AM on August 20, 2014

I just looked at the last two jobs I had and my salary sits (in both cases) pretty much slap bang in the middle of the pay range they give.

So, for me at least, it's reasonably accurate.
posted by mr_silver at 7:10 AM on August 20, 2014

Echoing zeek321 - I heard for my (very large) company and overall industry that these numbers skew a low.
posted by seesom at 9:06 AM on August 20, 2014

Don't just look at your job title, look at alternative versions of your job title. There can be wide gaps depending on while version of your current job that you're looking at. .
posted by blue_beetle at 11:16 AM on August 20, 2014

Bonus and equity make up a large portion of my compensation and, at least when I filled out Glassdoor, I found the interface for entering them to be either confusing or nonexistent (this was a few years ago, so I'm not sure anymore what the exact experience was). So that might lead to some confusing/skew-y results in some industries.
posted by town of cats at 11:21 AM on August 20, 2014

You might compare the results you have with glassdoor against the government's own data collection efforts at the BLS. They often provide breakdowns of wages by county / region, which is always important when considering your own pay.
posted by pwnguin at 8:07 PM on August 21, 2014

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