Recently I've been involved in a number of salary surveys. Conducting this type of research introduces a unique set of challenges. Here are three such challenges and ways to deal with them.
Challenge #1 – A crucial element in completing a successful compensation and benefits survey is getting the job descriptions right. It is not sufficient to simply provide a job title and ask for the base salary. There is usually aconsiderable variation in the responsibilities of individuals with similartitles. Therefore it’s important to spend the time to develop comprehensive job descriptions.
Challenge #2 – Even with the best efforts to get the job description correct there will be occasions when the responsibilities of the individual in question will exceed or fall below the description provided. To handle this eventuality, give respondents the latitude through a scaled and open-ended question to indicate whether the individual(s) have more or less responsibility than outlined in the job description. At the analysis stage this information can be factored into the salary information. It’s also important to spend the time at the analysis stage cleaning data and looking at outliers. In some incidences it maybe necessary to re-contact respondents for clarification if there is a miss-match between salary and job description.
Challenge #3– At the reporting stage it is critical to use variety of descriptive statistics when reporting the salary information. Because mean or average salary levels can be influenced by outliers, typically results are reported using medians and quartiles.
For more information on salary surveys please drop me a note. I'd be happy to answer any of your questions.