EMInfo Reader: I get an occasional inquiry from candidates about the going salaries for their occupational specialty? Where might I refer them?
Dr. Burtnett: While salaries can be influenced by a variety of factors (i.e., location, work experience, etc.), my “go to” source is the National of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Located at the USDL website (https://www.bls.gov/ncs/), the National Compensation Survey provides current and historical information on salary trends across the country, broken down into career fields and occupations. BLS statisticians and economists regularly contribute data and report to this website that employers can use in setting salaries and candidate and students can examine to determining the competitiveness of specific job offers.
Much of this information is formatted as easy-to-use NCS Fact Sheets that are available at their website. Following the government information thread, a number of labor departments at the state level collect and disseminate salary information to help job seekers and changers. Google them at your state capital.
In addition, should candidates be members of their occupational or trade organization, they will often find that these organizations provide salary studies and similar information for their discipline. Copies of the Encyclopedia of Associations: National Organizations in the US, published by Gale Research, are often in found in larger community and college libraries and contain information on more than 23,000 occupational and business, and trade organizations.
Finally, sometimes that best and most current salary information and trends can be garnered from personal and professional interaction with full-fledged members of the workforce and by monitoring job site listings, social media and other electronic libraries.
Keep your ears open and your human antenna extended!