Because equal pay is such an important issue for women in the workplace, we’ve always crowdsourced salary data and information from women in our community to help others understand what the average salary is for a given title and department at various employers. However, sometimes you may be interested in exploring careers where a job title is unique, or you’re just trying to figure out whether your income would be positively impacted if you went elsewhere in the industry (and not to any particular, specific company).
That’s where salary calculators can come in handy.
What are the benefits of using a salary calculator?
A salary calculator can help you find out what you should be making in a given industry, at a certain company, and in a certain position. Many breakdown salaries by years of experience, geographic location and past experiences in the workplace. They are a great tool for answering questions like:
- How much should I be paid?
- What is an appropriate salary to ask for?
- Can you negotiate an entry-level salary?
- When should you enter a counter offer?
These questions and more can be answered by using a salary calculator. But with so many available on the internet today, how do you know which is the most reliable?
We took a look at five salary calculators to compare their outcomes and functionality. Almost all of these salary calculators are free to use (though most require you to sign up and to provide further information before you can get full access to all their data). When we conducted a side-by-side comparison, the actual end-result salary information for the job title “product manager,” as an example, was similar on all the sites. What did vary dramatically was the presentation and ease of use of the data; but more on that later.
Ultimately, we liked Payscale’s salary comparison calculator for those looking to understand the pay for your kind of job within a certain market geography. We liked Glassdoor’s salary data because it provided such clear-cut information about pay by employer; however, their newest wage calculator tool still seemed to lack a full dataset and was the only calculator to require you input your net salary in order to see what your market rate should be. Monster required you to pay in order to see a report, and Hired’s data was beautifully and cleanly presented — but limited to high-end tech jobs within a limited number of locations and categories.
We partnered with Payscale by embedding their basic salary calculator on our site. If you haven’t heard of Payscale before, they produce compensation benchmarking software sold to employers who want to understand how much they should pay for their employee positions. If you provide the city and state in which you work, along with your job title, Payscale’s salary calculator will give you the median salary level for that title in your location.
You can delve even more deeply into your peers’ rate of compensation if you share additional information with them, such as your years of experience in the role, and whether you earn money on an annual, hourly, full-time or part-time basis. You can even find out about things like tips, overtime pay, or commission benchmarking information.
If you fill out a detailed salary report, you will be asked to provide things ranging beyond income, including the type of employer you manage, whether you manage other people, and at what levels those direct reports work (e.g. whether they are middle-management versus entry-level employees). Your industry and employer size (and revenues) matter, too.
Beyond pay, Payscale’s data accounts for the financial value of your benefits, which includes weeks of vacation (unless you receive unlimited vacation), healthcare and retirement benefits. Your gender, age, race and educational levels are also factored into your salary computation.
Similar to Payscale, Salary.com has a calculator that begins by simply asking you your job title and location (city and state). Once you get beyond this point, you can see in visual format what the distribution of salaries is for your entered job title and location. You can see the median salary, as well as what the bottom 25% and top 75% paycheck earners with your same job title make where you work.
Finally, they also break down a pie chart of what bonus amounts and benefits are given to people with your job title and location, and the value of those benefits by type. Moreover, you can see whether changing industries or having more years of experience or people with different levels of educational attainment have better (or worse) salary levels.
Glassdoor is best known for collecting survey data from its users about how much they make. Visitors to their site can look at salary data by company and job title or location, and it’s a useful tool for those interested in searching an hourly salary, too. They also have a salary calculator tool in beta called “Know Your Worth” which gives you a salary estimate based on job market dynamics.
Unlike the rest of their crowdsourced data, Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool does not get published on their site unless you choose to give them this right. Moreover, you are asked your salary information up front — unlike the other salary calculators on this list.
As of this writing, the tool did not have salary information for certain job titles that are more unique (e.g. “Head of Product” versus “Product Manager”). Presumably this is because this tool is still in beta. However, the format and interface of the site were intuitive and easy to use and navigate.
The job site Monster also offers a salary calculator, which they call a “Salary Wizard.” You can receive a personalized salary report that they say will help you negotiate for more pay. However, first you must fill out information, starting like the other calculators do, with your location and job title.
Once you get beyond this point, you’re asked a set of by-now familiar-looking questions, such as your industry, your employer size, years of experience, gender, and educational levels attained. Some new questions compared to the other salary calculators include whether you have obtained a degree at a prestigious college and whether you believe your education and degree are relevant to your career.
Ultimately, to receive your personalized salary report, you need to pay between $30-$80 for it and create an account with Monster.
Hired is a fairly new company that helps passive job applicants in the tech industry be recruited by employers who must name their price for a role when they reach out to candidates. The company takes a percentage of a new hire’s first year salary, which incentivizes them to match employer and candidate well.
Hired’s salary calculator dataset is confined to jobs in the following categories: sales, software engineering, data science, product management and design. This reflects the fact that Hired’s passive candidate matching model tends to be in the high-growth, high-demand technology industry where these jobs are most in demand. For example, according to one report, the average salary offered on the platform is $128,000.
Moreover, the number of cities Hired seems to capture data within tend to be large technology hubs, like the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Boston, Austin, etc. Some global locations, like London and Sydney, are also included, but the total geographical reach of Hired’s salary data is more limited than the other calculators we looked at.
Moreover, Hired’s salary data reports the 50th, 70th and 90th percentile salaries for a given job title and type within one of these cities. Their numbers for salary were on the higher side of what we saw among all the calculators. Again, this may be due to the source of their data and the types of in-demand candidates on their platform.
One differentiator that makes Hired stand out, despite it’s limited data and focus on technology hiring, is that they report their data based on real interview information that is proffered by employers via their platform (as opposed to crowdsourced data or survey information of the type that presumably power Glassdoor, Payscale, and Monster’s salary calculators).
In the end, while we certainly had our favorites, we recommend taking a look at all the salary calculators here to triage the numbers that best work for you. After all, compensation is an art as much as a science. And if you’re looking for data to help you with a higher salary negotiation, you’ll want to be armed with the highest number possible to bring home the prettiest paycheck!
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