Salary Surveys And The Challenge Of Change

Although some might say that interpreting the value of salary surveys is like pinning the tail on a runaway donkey, they do have real value if the survey methodology is accurate and statistically sound.    In other words, salary surveys can provide astonishingly useful data for both in-house HR professionals and consultancies where like-for-like sector comparisons are made year-on-year. It’s worth bearing in mind, however, that HR is an organic entity where so many external variables can impact on even the most meticulously scientific survey.   To name but a few: we have changes in local and national economic conditions; overseas’ competition; technological developments and structural shifts within sectors and industries.  All of these may skew the comparative results and demand an element of caution in their interpretation. What the results show  Assuming that the salary survey findings are based on statistically significant sample sizes, the results can have sector-wide significance that can be extrapolated in various ways.  The data can certainly form a basis for qualitative analysis from which meaningful conclusions can be drawn. In many cases, the findings will be unremarkable and reflect very little year-on-year change.  The usefulness of salary surveys can be to provide empirical (as opposed to anecdotal) evidence of real change, especially with regard to salary inflation and skills shortages in specific sectors. This data can forewarn HR professionals of future sector changes or confirm a trend which was beginning to emerge in localised data.  Most importantly, the findings of salary surveys will draw attention to where and why salary inflation is occurring, and what can be done to effect a market correction by going some... Read more...