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Great post Chuck! It's hard to get info ahead of CFO who plugs in U.S. numbers worldwide.

At this time surveys are only one data point. And if you believe a Mercer survey done in 2011, CEOs don't think surveys are #1 in determining salaries anymore.

Surveys covering absolute salary rates are one thing, but surveys of estimated projected future relative increase rates are something completely else. Even if the surveyor faithfully reports exactly what the compensation person gave as their recommendation, how often do those wishes come true?

What HR people propose as forward movement rates, no matter how statistically reliable, are relative, in the first place. Secondly, those inputs do not capture future reality accurately without modification to reflect what the management committee is most likely to approve under whatever conditions exist in the future.

As Chuck reminds us, CYA is CYA, so you must supply the requested factoid; but you are well advised to counsel care about drawing inferences from guesses. OTOH, if you know about the source where the predictions always come true, you will be a bit ahead of the game. Only a bit, though, mind you.

I like that cautionary note you provide about operating in the international stage where there is a relative paucity of participants, pay data, pay surveys, and consistent metholodogies. Warren Heaps addresses this in a posting here http://www.internationalhrforum.com/2012/06/11/two-surveys-are-better-than-one/. My posting in response suports the issues of great challenge when one practices in a 'Rewards Jungle' where things are limited "... relative to the availability of conveniences, access, good road maps, and optional routes..." in the matter of good quality pay surveys.

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