Understanding and Interpreting Your Compensation Data

You Bought the Compensation Analysis, Make Sure You Understand It

It is important to understand the terminology used to express the statistics presented in compensation analyses. The terminology used expresses both the nature of an employee’s pay and where the levels of pay fit within the continuum of the employee’s peer group.

Making the most of your answers can involve any of the following:

Interpreting Your Answers

  • Base(Base pay)
    The fixed portion of compensation paid for an employee’s fulfillment of a job’s essential functions. Base pay does not include differentials, premiums, overtime, benefits, or any pay element other than the base salary rate. By default, it is expressed as an annual value based on a 2,080 hour year for full-time positions and 1,000 hours for part-time positions, but can be adjusted to be expressed as an hourly value.
  • TCC(Total Cash Compensation)
    The combined value of base pay plus short-term incentives (STI) such as bonuses, incentives, and commissions, as actually paid, regardless of incentive plan eligibility. Note: The TCC figures shown include data from jobs which were not eligible for STI and data from incumbents who earned no STI (even though eligible). In these cases, the value of the STI was $0 and TCC was equal to Base pay.
  • #orgs(Number of organizations)
    The number of best-matched employer organizations whose data were used to produce the composite pay data shown. Data from additional organizations (potentially thousands of organizations) beyond the value shown were used to “cross-check” the values for reasonableness.
  • #incs (Number of incumbents)
    The number of best-matched individual jobholders whose data were used to produce the composite pay data shown. Data from additional incumbents (potentially tens of thousands) beyond the value shown were used to “cross-check” the values for reasonableness.
  • 25th%(Twenty-fifth percentile)
    The lowest quarter of salaries for this job fall below the twenty-fifth percentile. The “middle half” of people in this job have salaries that fall between the 25th and 75th percentile.
  • 50th%(Fiftieth percentile or median)
    The lower half of salaries for this job fall below the fiftieth percentile while the upper half are above it. The 50th percentile is the most widely-used measure of the “middle” of the possible pay values for a job.
  • 75th% (Seventy-fifth percentile)
    The highest quarter of salaries for this job are above the seventy-fifth percentile. The “middle half” of people in this job have salaries that fall between the 25th and 75th percentile.
  • Avg.(Average)
    The sum of all salaries divided by the number of salaries. This value is less widely-used than the 50th percentile (above), because it can be skewed higher or lower by a few unusual values.

List Manager Overview

The List Manager feature enables users to save job, industry, company size, and geography lists for easy access. Whenever a report is generated within the Salary Wizard Professional tools, the user can recall or save some or all of their chosen criteria by using a named list. The List Manager is accessible from any report page or by selecting the module from the dropdown menu on the navigation bar.

From the List Manager home page, simply identify a type of list to manage and click “Continue.” You will be able to create, delete, and modify any list on the subsequent screen. By setting a specified list as “Default,” the user may access the list information directly within the Salary Wizard Profesional workflow.

Quick Reports

Salary Wizard Professional enables the user to perform quick searches according to saved jobs, saved scopes, or both. Users may access a saved list of jobs from the “Select job title(s)” page to avoid adding multiple positions each time. Lists may also be set to “Default,” allowing the user to access the list information directly from the Salary Wizard Professional workflow.

Annual vs Hourly

By default, all pay is expressed in annual values, assuming a 2,080 hour year for full-time positions and a 1,000 hour year for part-time. To divide the annual pay by the annual hours, select “hourly” and click “Modify.” To return to annual values for the current period, click “Reset.”

Age data to (target calendar month) by an Annual aging factor

By default, all pay is expressed as of the current month. To adjust the annual pay for the passage of time and the expected or historical wage-inflation rate select a target date, an annual aging factor, and click “Modify”. To return to annual values for the current period, click “Reset.”

Job match adjustment (single-job report only)

When an employer’s actual job differs in its responsibility by +/- 5% to 20% users may apply a job match adjustment. To evaluate a job whose actual responsibilities are 5% less than those in the benchmark job, enter “-5%” in the adjustment box and click “Modify.” To return to the benchmark values, click “Reset.”

Employers typically target the center of their compensation ranges at the 50th percentile. However, there are good reasons why some employers would target other percentiles. Salary Wizard Professional lets users select the low/middle/high values most appropriate to their needs. For example, a fast-growing company with a strong stock option plan may choose to target base pay lower and might choose the 20th, 40th, and 60th percentiles. A large utility or nonprofit may choose to target pay higher.

Salary Wizard Professional permits reports to display any low/middle/high values in percentages ranging (in 5% increments) from the 10th percentile to the 90th percentile. To change the default values, select new values from the drop-down menus and click “Modify.” To return to the default values of 25th/50th/75th percentile, click “Reset.”

Reporting Options

Summary Report: Single Job

The top third of the report displays the criteria searched and the job description and alternative job titles for single position reports. The main section of the report displays the base pay and total cash compensation (TCC) for that position. The pay ranges are represented according to the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles (unless others are chosen by the user), and the average. The report displays the number of organizations and incumbents surveyed.

Summary Report: Multiple Jobs

This report displays the selected scope and a quick overview of the base pay and total cash compensation for the selected positions. The pay ranges are presented according to the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles (unless others are chosen by the user), and the average. The report displays the number of organizations and incumbents surveyed. A single-job report can be displayed by clicking on any job title in a multiple job report.

The jobs (or a single job and its description) selected and reported in the summary report) will be carried through to the optional reports described below, along with any modifications made while viewing the summary report, such as selecting hourly values or different report percentiles.

Full-Page Summary report

A reformatted summary report where the right-hand menu bar is removed to permit an expanded format for the main section of the report. Industry comparison. This report compares the compensation information from the summary report across any of the industries to which the user subscribes.

Size Comparison

This report compares the compensation information from the summary report across the two FTE size ranges (< 100 FTEs and 100-200 FTEs) but only where the user has subscribed to both.

Geographic Comparison

This report compares the compensation information for the selected job within different geographic areas and locations. The pay ranges are presented according to the 25th, 50th, and 75th percentiles, and the average. The report displays the number of organizations and incumbents surveyed.

Job description report

This straightforward report displays the benchmark job description for all of the positions appearing in the summary report.

Hybrid Job Reports

The Hybrid Job Report allows users to blend compensation data from two or more benchmark jobs in order to create a unique market price for a hybrid job. To create a hybrid job, begin by selecting the jobs that are related to the job that you need to hybridize—including jobs which supervise or are supervised by the potential hybrid.

Once the related jobs have been selected and a summary report has been produced, click on “Hybrid Job Report” from the list titled “View Optional Reports.” The Hybrid Job Report has the following elements:

  • Hybrid Job Title
    While not required to create a preview report, each final hybrid job report requires that users create a title for their hybrid job.
  • Comments
    Each final Hybrid Job Report requires comments. Suggested topics for comments include a user’s process for creating and using a given hybrid job.
  • Include Checkbox
    Basic salary information for any checked job will be included in the final Hybrid Job Report, even if its weighting in the hybrid is zero. Salary.com recommends that users err on the side of including the jobs they considered in their final Hybrid Job Report. Even “rejected” jobs not included in the final hybrid can often help put the final hybrid into context.
  • Benchmark Jobs
    Benchmarked jobs are standardized jobs prepared by Salary.com and selected by the user for their relevance to an actual job. It is sometimes helpful to look not only at a hybrid’s components but also at the jobs which will be immediately above or below the hybrid job in an organization’s reporting structure or job-worth hierarchy. In this way, a complete picture of the hybrid and its relative value to an employer can be formed.
  • Prem/Discount Adjustment (Job match discount or premium)
    This is a job-match adjustment. Even within a hybrid, it is possible that the component jobs are somewhat over- or under-matched to their corresponding part in the actual job. Salary.com recommends that adjustments, if any, be limited to +/- 5% to 20%. If a job’s match needs to be adjusted more than 20%, then it cannot really be said to be a “match” and should not be used directly (but may be used to provide context).
  • Weight
    The weight applied to a particular when averaging its salary together with the other components of the composite. Jobs selected for reference should be given no weight. The weight may be thought of as a percentage “50-50” or as a ratio “1 to 1.”
  • Preview Summary
    This selection creates a mathematically-complete composite in a popup window, without requiring that the hybrid job title or comments be completed.
  • Get Report
    After selecting jobs for inclusion, adjusting for their job match and assigning a weight (if any), and after entering a hybrid job title and comments, the Hybrid Job Report is ready for generation

Printing Reports

While most Salary Wizard Professional pages will print easily for most users, for best results, you may use the “Print-ready report” button at the top of any report page to pop-up a window containing a version (that removes Java images and drop-down selections) that will print correctly on virtually any printer. If the print-ready version fails to load properly, check to see if your browser has a popup stopper. Popup stoppers can usually be overridden by holding Shift or Ctrl when clicking.

Emailing Reports

Simply click on the “Email report” button to pop-up a dialog box containing everything you need to send an HTML-formatted version of a report to any person having a valid email address.

Exporting to Spreadsheets

All Salary Wizard Professional reports can be exported to a spreadsheet. Click “Export” on the menu bar of any report page to save or view the report in a spreadsheet reader. You will be asked either to open or save the file after you click “Export.”

Opening the file will display the spreadsheet in your browser window. You will need to select “File” and then “Save as” from the menu options to save the report. Saving the file will save a copy of the report directly to your computer. Enter a report name and ensure that spreadsheet editing software option is selected when saving.

Some companies utilize a firewall that prevents employees from downloading files from the Internet. When you export a report in Salary Wizard Professional, you are downloading a file from Salary.com or secure.salary.com. If you are unable to export a report, please contact a Salary Wizard Professional representative. You may do so by emailing prosupport@salary.com.

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