How To Check Your Work Salary

13 October 2015
Do you know what your work is worth? And where can you go to find out if you’re being paid fairly?

According to the Robert Half 2015 Salary Guide, 23% of employees leaving a job do so to find a higher salary and bonuses. A recent survey of 71,000 employees by PayScale showed that whether employees are being overpaid or underpaid, we all want our employers to communicate clearly why we’re being paid at our level, and what it takes to get to the next level.

We’ve scoured the job hunting world to bring you the top 4 options for checking your pay against the industry average, and some valuable information for employers on how to find and keep amazing employees.

Top 4 salary checker options

Fair Work Ombudsman – check the award

We always recommend that people start by knowing what they are entitled to by law as an employee. The easiest way to do this is to use the Fair Work Ombudsman’s Pay Calculator. It helps you find the relevant award for your particular job or industry.

This website is also useful for workers who are still in training or not working full-time. Casual employees can use the Shift Calculator to check that payslips match the work you’ve done in a week. Apprentices and trainees can use this website to check the minimum wage that applies during your training period.

Indeed – weigh up career paths and locations

What we like about the Indeed Salary Search is that you can compare multiple careers at once. Say you want to know what you’d get paid as a journalist compared to as a copywriter. Most salary checker websites make you perform separate searches, but Indeed lets you compare two or more occupations in the one search.

You can also compare the same job in different locations using the comparison function. For example, a journalist in Melbourne could be making more money than journos in other cities.

PayScale has the largest salary profile database in the world. If you’re thinking of moving for a job, you can use PayScale to compare salaries for different regions.

You have to fill in a lengthy survey to get to the end result of comparing your salary to the rest of the industry, but it’s worth it. Their comparison shows you what percentage of people also working in your job are being paid better or worse than you are. You also get access data on other participants who have enter their information from Australia and abroad, so you can compare your salary in different parts of the world (measured in US$).

Salary guide reports

Downloadable salary guide reports (usually in PDF form) might not be as immediately useful as a search function on a website that gives you a comparison straight away. However, they often contain interesting information about the industry that goes above and beyond a dollar figure.

If you want to know why salaries are growing quickly – or not growing – or what employers are looking for when giving out pay rises, a salary guide report is a good place to look.

Reports are typically useful if you’re in a relatively standard job, but they do not cover sectors such as the creative industries well. The Hudson salary guides are the most comprehensive ones we’ve seen in downloadable PDF form. Each salary guide provide the 2015 salaries for a particular job in multiple different cities per state in Australia. The Michael Page salary report provides the salary and economic outlook for jobs in 2015-2016 in different Australian states. Robert Walters provides global reports for each country – so in theory, you can compare the country you currently live in to countries where more jobs are on offer. In reality, you only download one report at a time, so it’s difficult to compare countries. However, you can compare salaries in different cities in Australia by downloading the 2015 report for Australia here.

The Robert Half 2015 Salary Guide has a limited number of industries that it covers, but it provides a wealth of information to make up for this. They analyse everything from how the jobs economy is going, to how employees can get a pay rise and how employers can find and retain good employees.

Why you need to know what you’re worth

How much you get paid can make a huge difference to how much superannuation you have when you retire.

Our Retirement Planner calculator lets you work out how much you need to earn per year from your current age to your chosen retirement age, in order to fund the retirement of your choice. If you’re not sure how much you’d like to have each year during retirement, take a look at this article on a “modest” versus a “comfortable” retirement.

It may be stressful talking with your employer about how you are being paid for your work, but at least we’ve taken the stress out of looking for a good value super fund.

If you’re comparing Superannuation funds, the comparison table below displays some of the products currently available on Canstar’s database for Australians aged 30-39 with a balance of up to $55,000, sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by company name (alphabetical). Use Canstar’s superannuation comparison selector to view a wider range of super funds.

Fee, performance and asset allocation information shown in the table above have been determined according to the investment profile in the Canstar Superannuation Star Ratings methodology that matches the age group you selected.

The lesson for employers

Employees want to know where they stand

PayScale recently surveyed 71,000 employees in the USA to study the relationship between pay and employee engagement. The results showed that companies who communicated clearly about pay had far higher levels of employee satisfaction and far fewer employees who were currently intending to walk out the door.

According to the study, 2 out of 3 employees in the USA felt that they were being paid below market rate – even if they were being paid the market rate or higher. 60% of employees who felt they were being underpaid said they intended to leave, compared to just 39% of those who felt they were being paid above market rate.

Amazingly, the study found that being able to talk honestly and openly about pay was even more important to employees than opportunities for career advancement, expressions of appreciation from the boss, or feeling optimistic about the future of the company.

Employees across the board wanted to know:

  • How their pay is being determined
  • How pay relates to performance
  • How pay relates to responsibility
  • What it takes to get to the next pay grade
  • Where their salary sits when it comes to their comparable talent pool

What’s important for small businesses

The study showed you don’t necessarily need to bankrupt yourself to pay your employees above market average. When an employer communicated honestly about their reasons for paying lower than the market average, 82% employees were happy to stay and accept that rate of pay.

What’s important for large businesses

The study proved that overpaying someone to encourage them to stay – without talking to them about how they place in the market – will not keep them satisfied.

The bottom line for businesses is simple: in order to keep your employees happily engaged, communicate openly with them about how you are paying them compared to the market.

It’s free to do some market research and have a conversation with your staff – but the result of keeping good staff is priceless.