Tip #2: Do Some Market Research | 28 Days of Salary Negotiation

This February, blueprintgreen is giving you our top 28 tips - one tip per day - on how to strategically navigate a salary negotiation process #likeaboss. Follow along all month long! 


Do some market research.

Conduct some industry research to determine how your salary expectations align with the market in which you work. Most often, I recommend using websites like www.payscale.com for this research because the data provided is from employers. You can find employee reported data on www.glassdoor.com. If you are interested in non-profit work, don’t forget to review an organization’s IRS Form 990 to gather information about how they pay some of their top earners (this will help you infer pay level for other positions, even if yours is not listed).

Public sector jobs, including federal, state, and local government jobs, as well as many universities, will publicly post their salary ranges as part of a job posting.

Once you understand the pay range for a given position, you’ll need to consider if the company in question lags the market, leads the market, or falls into the mid-range when it comes to the salary they offer.

Coupling this research with an understanding of your ideal salary will provide you necessary personal insight into the following questions: 

  • Is there a gap between the salary I desire and the skills I have to perform in positions paying that salary in my field? Is there education, training, or skills I need to specifically pursue in order to close this gap?

  • Does my field pay at the salary range I am looking to achieve? If not, is it time to consider another field?

This industry research will also provide you valuable insight into whether your target market for a job is going to work for you. Consider the following questions, particularly if you are having trouble finding useful information about salary in your market.

  • Is there someone in my network who holds what I would consider to be an ideal position? Can I develop my relationship with them to the point that I can have a direct and honest conversation about salary and compensation?

  • Is there a significant lack of transparency when it comes to salary information in my field? How comfortable am I with that? How can I gain visibility into this information?

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Salary negotiation doesn't have to be complicated. It's time to be strategic and navigate this process #likeaboss!