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08/22/2016

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Agree Chuck. I have a "Jacque law" I always follow: Never use just one data point to make a decision. That goes for using. "big data" as well. If not thinking big data is the holy grail makes me a dinosaur---I think I'd like to be a tregasaurus.

This is crazy. We all know that the job pays $132,756 in base pay. That's what the survey said was the 5th percentile, so that's obviously the answer.

(insert sarcastic tone and read it again)


Don't get me started on anything more complex than base pay.

I have had individuals send me "pay data" from sources such as articles with grammatical errors, adjacent to ads such as “What Brenda Walsh Looks Like Now Is Truly Insane!” and “21 Stunning Stars You Didn’t Know Were Single”

You would think some folk so skeptical of our analysis would be the first skeptics of information found on the internet.

Chuck, on job matching and survey data prep, you nailed it. In fact, the problem is bigger than you even have stated.

Salary survey providers are an interesting lot (note: my company, Birches Group, is a survey provider as well). Most providers, when you sign up for a survey, give you two things right away -- an invoice and a homework assignment! Wait a minute -- didn't I just agree to PAY THE PROVIDER for the survey -- why do I have to fill out this complex form and learn all your terminology?

The process is backwards. The consultants know their methods better than clients do. Clients know their jobs (except for the interns) and should be able to speak to the consultant and together figure out the right matching. Instead, folks just use what was done in prior years, and for the most part the errors simply continue year after year.

Birches Group surveys use data gathering interviews and consultant job matching in order to improve quality. When will the others see the light?

The dearth of resources (men/women, money, methods, machines, materials, moment/time, motivation, motion/movement/energy-to-do-due-diligence, mindfulness, .....) marks the death of value of salary survey data and practices.

In many 'frontier' zones (read anywhere where HR and Reward functions are non-existent, cheaply resourced, poorly staffed, afterthoughts, and / or .... etc.) there is regrettably short supply of resources for passably professional planning, and execution of salary survey and pay structure programs. The horror stories, could fill a book or two.

My recent posts on LinkedIn highlight some risky frontier practices [see 'Some Risky Salary Survey And Salary Structure Practices Happening Near(er) You Than You Imagined': https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/some-risky-salary-survey-structure-practices-nearer-e-k-?trk=mp-author-card ]

The dearth of resources (men/women, money, methods, machines, materials, moment/time, motivation, motion/movement/energy-to-do-due-diligence, mindfulness, .....) marks the death of value of salary survey data and practices.

In many 'frontier' zones (read anywhere where HR and Reward functions are non-existent, cheaply resourced, poorly staffed, afterthoughts, and / or .... etc.) there is regrettably short supply of resources for passably professional planning, and execution of salary survey and pay structure programs. The horror stories, could fill a book or two.

Thanks again, Chuck.

Interesting question. As a compensation consultant, I and my colleagues went the distance to make sure data were valid, from job match to years' experience, to multiple reviews of the numbers. When we did custom surveys for industry-specific engagements, we listed the reported numbers, when we could.

I know these are days when we question nearly everything around us. I feel so good about the integrity of the organizations I worked with and the surveys they produced and continue to produce. I worked for several global consultancies and I can say that their focus was on producing accurate, quality surveys, from descriptions to data. By contrast, of the data we, ourselves, bought or researched, the least reliable, weirdest surveys were from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS information always provided outliers and the least assurance of job match.

Just want to offer a message of reassurance in a troubled world. The large consultancies really put a great deal of effort into producing valid information.

The important question is “What should we be paying Bill/Betty?” Data from even the best sources, and optimal job matching, is only one of the inputs to arriving at a solid answer. What the external market is paying must be combined with what the employee brings to the table, plus issues like internal equity, before a decision is made as to what to pay Bill/Betty.

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