Questions about Indeed salary estimates
October 22, 2021 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Let's say I search the on the job board Indeed for a position as a widget maker where I can make $60,000 per year. The site shows me a listing from Acme Co. that doesn't explicitly say the pay. But by returning that listing, Indeed is indicating that the salary is $60K.

How reliable are those salary estimates? How are those estimates determined? Please indicate whether your answer is speculation or you have some relevant knowledge.
posted by NotLost to Work & Money (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Speculation: when someone submits an advertisement for a role to indeed, there may be a field for the advertiser to plug in a salary or salary range, that indeed can use to help job seekers filter results although it wont show the raw number on the ad. Further speculation: indeed may run some statistical modelling where they'll estimate a plausible salary for a role based on known salaries for advertised roles in a similar market.

Tangentially: some recruitment agency websites publish guides with statistics of salary ranges for roles in the current job market, may also be an interesting source of data, although it wont tell you the budget for any particular role offered by any particular employer. Also, even if some recruitment agency statistics say a role is typically paid $a - $b it is certainly possible for some people to be doing that exact role and getting paid $c > $b. Also, in some countries some organisations (e.g. government funded ones) are required to publish salary bands for all their roles, so for roles in those organisations, you can just look 'em up.

A really good way to get an estimate of market rate salary for your particular situation is to get multiple simultaneous job offers from well-funded organisations that you'd be willing to accept working for, but that takes a bit time and energy and luck for the stars to align in your favor.
posted by are-coral-made at 10:32 PM on October 22, 2021 [1 favorite]

I would assume Indeed is making its best guess based off of the title and seniority level.
posted by Lady Li at 11:50 PM on October 22, 2021 [5 favorites]

Companies in Colorado or who hire remote workers in Colorado have to publish salary bands. I’ve found this to be incredibly helpful, even for applying to companies NOT in CO. (My current company is based in Denver, but I started working for them via an acquisition. It continues to be useful for purposes of internal moves.)
posted by supercres at 11:51 PM on October 22, 2021 [6 favorites]

Sorry meant to add in the connection to your exact question: I also wouldn’t be surprised if the company provides the band but the job board doesn’t show it to the browser except under certain circumstances, maybe location based, maybe as a result of having a salary range filter.
posted by supercres at 11:53 PM on October 22, 2021

You could test some of this by entering different salary expectations in your search, and checking whether you get different results.
posted by rd45 at 12:04 AM on October 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: rd45 -- I do get different results when I put in different salary numbers. But that doesn't tell me how reliable the results are. Such as, Indeed search results indicate Company A pays its widget makers $X, and Company B pays its widget makers $Y. That doesn't tell me how accurate Indeed is with its estimates.
posted by NotLost at 12:15 AM on October 23, 2021

If it was my search - I’d take those numbers as reliable enough to decide whether or not to apply. What you hear about salary at interview might change your mind, but TBF you always have that risk.

Have a look at the company’s listing on glassdoor too. You might be able to confirm the number there.
posted by rd45 at 1:28 AM on October 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Over the last 18 months or so this has happened to me 4 times: Indeed fed me a result from a search which included a salary filter, the resultant posting didn't specify a salary or range, I interviewed after applying and discovered that the offered salary was below the amount of my filter.

By contrast, I don't think it's ever happened to me in the same situation that the offered salary was at or above my filtered amount.

Sooo, not reliable maybe?
posted by chudmonkey at 1:47 AM on October 23, 2021 [7 favorites]

check h1b salaries, which companies are required to disclose if they hire h1b visa-holders at all. that has been accurate for my base salary, but does not reveal bonus or any other non-standard base pay.
posted by shaademaan at 4:34 AM on October 23, 2021 [2 favorites]

I've listed jobs on Indeed. There is a salary field, but if it's filled out it shows up. As far as I know there is no hidden salary field to fill out. They are likely using days modeling based on other listings.
posted by pyro979 at 5:07 AM on October 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Part of my job has been recruiting, including posting to the major job boards. Put no faith in the estimates. As far as I can tell, they’re just based on the title (which companies don’t always use consistently) and location (which isn’t always accurate if, e.g., a company has different salaries based on remote worker location instead of their company HQ address), maybe the size of the company (if known).

They can be right. One of the jobs I posted showed an estimated salary range that was something like $30k - $100k. This was….technically correct? Like, the salary was right in the middle of the numbers that LinkedIn or Indeed guessed, but that range was obviously not our actual range and was in fact so large as to be useless to a potential applicant.

Others I’ve posted were just totally off, and there’s no way to keep it from guessing unless the recruiter does enter actually salary info (which, I think every employer SHOULD, but that’s above my pay grade).
posted by moonbeam at 7:08 AM on October 23, 2021

I work in an industry that has been discussing this change extensively. Our understanding is that the Indeed Estimate (read: guess) is based on aggregated *national* data for roles with the title.

This change is part of a push to improve applicant experience. If you ask me, it’s a great way to waste applicants’ time since, as others in this Ask have indicated, the salary offered is sometimes not within the estimated range.
posted by sevensnowflakes at 7:49 AM on October 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Echoing Chudmonkey, Indeed provides a guesstimate, but it's better for Indeed's engagement numbers if the salaries air on the high side. I have posted ~$45k jobs there that Indeed has guessed at a $80k salary. Take the estimates with a large pinch of salt.
posted by matrixclown at 8:22 AM on October 23, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for your help! The first-hand info is very enlightening.
posted by NotLost at 8:58 AM on October 24, 2021

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