Are Glassdoor Salaries Accurate? Yes, but Be Very Careful
Glassdoor provides an enormous amount of employee-generated information about companies. For example, company culture and the interview process.
But arguably the most debated piece of data are employee salaries. That, of course, leads to one common question: are Glassdoor salaries accurate?
The answer: yes, they can be. But all too often, job seekers make the mistake of simply searching for their specific job title without considering other crucial factors that sway Glassdoor salaries.
In this post, we’ll review a handful of factors to consider when you are determining your worth on Glassdoor.
Factors that Influence Glassdoor Salaries
1. Within the same job title, salaries can vary broadly
Peers may have the same role on paper, but that doesn’t mean that they actually have the same job. Companies may adopt common terms such as “marketing manager” or “senior marketing strategist”, but their hierarchies can apply different seniority to these titles.
Conversely, companies may refer to the same job with complete titles. One company’s “sales manager” may be another’s “senior salesperson”, even though they have identical responsibilities and pay.
Increased responsibility also changes salaries between individuals with the same title. As employees earn promotions, their duties tend to become diverse. Therefore it’s not uncommon to see executives, directors, and managers with the same role earn vastly different salaries. The same concept can also apply to entry or mid-level roles if a company’s culture or expectations are particularly rigorous (assuming their employees are fairly compensated in return).
2. Salary data is not as accurate for senior positions
Because there are more entry-level and mid-level jobs in the workforce, more of these workers share their salaries with Glassdoor. Thus, it’s these types of jobs that tend to have the most accurate salary data.
It’s when roles become more advanced that data becomes less reliable. The higher end “tails” tend to vary much more as a result.
3. Company size influences salary
Large and enormously profitable companies such as Google will simply have more resources to compensate their employees in comparison to start-ups or small companies. Even with the same amount of responsibility and skill, it’s important to compare salary ranges with companies that match in size and growth.
4. The number of responses may not reveal reliable data
If only 2 or 3 employees have contributed salary information for a specific company you’re interested in, there is a greater potential for bias. Or if your job title is unique and not likely to publicly share their pay information, you’ll also be referencing a small sample size that can easily be manipulated by outliers.
5. Location, location, location
Simply put: large cities tend to offer higher salaries. This correlates with the amount of bigger companies that exist within them, but also the average cost of living. This is important to consider when researching salaries for a particular city. Try comparing salaries to other local competitors first, and then against companies in similarly sized cities. For example, Los Angeles and New York are comparable while Bend, OR may offer lower salaries on average.
6. Older information can become outdated.
Finally, keep in mind that some salary data may be too old to compare to. If a company has grown exponentially since the salary info was submitted or the economy has risen, you can expect that same position to earn a higher pay. Or conversely, a salary may have been posted during an industry boom that has since fallen or before a company downsizes.
What You Need to Know About Glassdoor Salaries
With a methodical search (and some patience), Glassdoor salary data can give you a very good sense of your unique market value.
Be sure to utilize resources such as Payscale.com and Indeed Salaries. You can also search current job opportunities on LinkedIn and Indeed that list their offered salaries to get a true sense of what companies are willing to pay their employees.
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