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Payscale’s marketing manager, Lydia Frank, responded to my article comparing Payscale.com to Kim Kardashian and Salary.com to Nicki Minaj.I agree with Ms. Frank’s reply: Payscale.com is an excellent source of salary data, and no other source comes close to providing as nuanced and detailed data.
As an economist I understand the power of large data sets, and Payscale.com is the largest and most comprehensive salary survey in the world. I value and use their data with each client I serve.
However the question asked by my initial article was not “is Payscale’s data valid?” or “who has the best data?”, but a more nuanced “which data source do employers respect the most?” I posed this question because employees should consider what data sources will have the most weight with their employers when negotiating salary.
Ms. Frank acknowledged that “not every compensation professional in the HR community understands the advantages of PayScale’s approach (yet), [but] we have a very impressive group of forward-thinking employers on our list of over 2,200 business customers.”
Payscale’s business customers account for only 1% of US businesses that have more than 50 employees (there are 5 million businesses in the US: 4% have 50 or more employees—census.gov). The vast majority of US businesses are not using Payscale’s data when doing their compensation analysis, something that should be considered when preparing for salary negotiations.
Payscale.com and Salary.com are the rockstars and dominant players in their industry. When trying to determine which real-life rockstar best served as an analogy for the two, I focused on the fundamental difference between them: the source of their data.
One comes from employers (traditional method—Salary.com), the other from employees (pioneering method—Payscale.com). What naturally followed was to choose two stars who achieved success through different methods, one traditional (Nicki Minaj) and one pioneering (Kim Kardashian).
Most people will use both of these excellent data sources when doing their salary negotiation research (and should). The intent of this comparison was not to diminish Payscale.com or Salary.com in any way, but rather to educate people, in a creative way, about where the salary data they will be using comes from. Understanding this will better enable the employee to defend their position, frame their argument, and negotiate a higher salary.
What do you think? Which celebrities best represent Payscale.com and Salary.com? Payscale.com has already come up with some very creative ideas. Leave your answers in the comments below!