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min read

Salary Survey: Why You Need Them & Why They Are Not Enough

Written by
David Whitfield
Salary Survey: Why You Need Them & Why They Are Not Enough

Workforce trends are ever-changing. 

With ongoing market fluctuations and a demand for new ways of working, it can be difficult for organisations to remain in the now and stay on top of job seeker demands - especially regarding salary requirements. 

So, how can you position your company as an attractive prospect for employees?

How can you ensure talent stays?

The solution? 

Salary surveys.

A simple but powerful tool to ensure businesses have the insights needed to remain competitive and attract the right people at the right price. 

But what exactly is a salary survey, and why are they important? 

From exploring key elements of salary surveys, such as the overall purpose, cost, use, and where they fall short, this post will help you easily find out how to conduct a salary survey.

Which factors should you take into account to figure out the right pay?

There are various factors to take into account when determining pay rates for a prospective employee, including:

  • Experience
  • Tenure
  • Skillset
  • Location
  • And the overall market rates.
  • How will they add value? But most importantly - external market rates. 

The market is increasingly competitive, and if businesses want to attract and retain top talent, they need to be aware of external pay levels and rewards packages when negotiating with employees and prospective employees. 

This is where salary surveys come into play.

What is a salary survey?

Simply put, salary surveys contain key information from private and public sources on pay levels, benefits packages, and more across various occupations and industries.

In other words, they help organisations realign with the market to remain an attractive workplace.

Why organisations use salary surveys

Organisations use salary surveys because they understand the importance of data to make informed decisions.

Salary surveys help Human Resources teams dictate recruitment budgets well ahead of time, helping make the hiring process smoother and more effective for everyone involved. 

But pay surveys are not just useful for recruiters. They are instrumental in retaining talent, especially when the market is uncertain and shaky

Right now, compensation surveys help design new pay and grading structures as well as progression arrangements, thus helping businesses get pay increases and bonus payouts right.

How much does a salary survey cost?

It depends.

The good news is that here in the UK, HR teams can access a significant amount of information for free

Having said that, you can also hire third-party organisations to produce tailored pay surveys. In this scenario, the cost can vary from hundreds to tens of thousands of pounds based on the complexity of your request and the exhaustivity of the data pool.

The shortcomings of salary surveys

Though valuable for organisations to keep up with market trends, salary surveys are far from perfect. 

The first shortcoming of salary surveys is time. 

With a fluctuating market that changes by the minute, by the time salary surveys are designed, collected, and analysed, the results can be deemed as outdated.

The second shortcoming of salary surveys is data itself.

With small data pools, a general hindrance to sharing financial information with the public, and shrinking data sources, salary data isn’t always wholly accurate. 

While salary surveys can be extremely helpful to get an idea of how the market is evolving, it’s also a picture from the past. And when the market moves fast, the past can mislead organisations into making the wrong calls.

What organisations actually need from salary surveys in 2023 and beyond

So, how can salary surveys be improved to benefit organisations from here on out? 

Take on a localised approach

Finding out what companies halfway across the country are paying employees isn’t going to be hugely helpful. By taking on a localised approach, businesses can find out how they compare in their area of operation. 

Get data on specific job titles

More information needs to be relayed regarding job titles and the duties involved. 

Provide real-time information

The job market changes by the day. Businesses need real-time information they can trust to make the right calls, not data from 8 months ago

Highlight market trends

As corny as it sounds, you need to know where you come from to anticipate where to go next. HR organisations need a solution that can show how the market has been evolving thus far, so that they can foresee how it’s likely to evolve next.

This is not just a wishlist.

This is a feature list.

The above (and more) is now possible through Pay Tracker Live.

Get better salary insights with Pay Tracker Live

Pay Tracker Live is the most comprehensive pay database in the entire UK at the moment. It’s designed to help HR teams take the pulse of the job market in real-time so that they can make better decisions to retain (align salaries with the market) and attract (offer actual competitive compensation) talent.

How does it work?

We pull and aggregate data from job boards, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor daily. Our database already includes 20M+ job ads to benchmark in the UK.

And we’ve put all this in an easy-to-use tool that lets you filter per job title and even per location, down to the postcode.

Sounds like something you’d like to hear more of? You can contact us anytime or try it yourself via your free Essentials account.