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Thank you for posting this commentary! I think the shrinkage of the HR functions and outsourcing some of them makes it tough to participate. For example, I was working with an organization that outsourced its compensation administration function. We discovered through the process of outsourcing that in addition to paying for survey results we had to pay the outsourcing firm to complete these surveys. The fees to complete the surveys were several times more than the price we paid to purchase the results! This might be one of the reasons why not many companies are participating and as a result it is becoming more difficult for survey companies to make money in this business.

Ouch! That's a double-whammy. First, you lose the internal comp function. Then you also pay the outside service a lot more than what the internal employee got, in addition to paying the survey provider for access to the results. You gave us all important proofs that retaining compensation professionals costs less than the outsourced alternatives. Thanks very much, Saado, because your lesson is a valuable one.

"Enterprising web marketing firms offer hearsay guesses undistinguishable from cocktail party gossip or messages etched on restroom walls."

OMG, I'm totally in love with this statement. It's been a long day and it really gave me a chuckle, thank you!

You’re absolutely right. The consolidation and reduction of survey providers has me concerned too. There are survey sources I admire and use daily, and others that I don’t use too often, but turn to in a moment of need. And there are others still that I can’t bring myself to use or recommend because they’re lacking in transparency. (How can I tell my executives that so-and-so is the right resource for our market when I can’t even confirm the list of participants???)

Thank you for writing this article! Quality data is a critical component for success in this line of work.

Too bad. Looks like we are in for the same type of consolidation that is happening to the benefit consulting firms. In these cases I say ---- the fewer the not merrier! More is better!

Gartner has a decent IT survey.

Yes, Kelly, and that is why they were placed on the list. Someone else suggested the CUPA-HR surveys, but they seem to be very tightly focused on only junior colleges and universities, and that's a very narrow subsector of education.

Oops, I almost forgot, Kelly. Gartner says it is no longer doing the IT survey itself and has turned it over to Mercer. Apparently the 2011 IT survey will be co-branded by Mercer and Gartner; not sure about thereafter. Suspect they no longer belong on my list of independent employer salary surveyors; but they are still doing consulting, of course.

Compensation Resources has a few salary surveys at the moment and plan on adding new ones. They currently have a private company, nfp, and Christian Organization survey along with severance, board, college grad and merit increase.

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