Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Salary Survey De-mystified

There are many global and local companies who do salary surveys for companies, industry and country/region.

I have used Hewitt, Mercer, Vencon and some others for surveys for companies I worked for.
While all of these collect data from primary market, you will not find any difference in what they mention as P50/Median or range within a title. Reason is simple, they go to the same market, either directly or through third party companies"Outsourced-foot soldiers" and collect primary data. The other way is, they already have done that survey in past years and this year, they will do a few tweaking here and there. The other reason for finding similarity in data is , that they all read other survey company reports and do not want to be/dare to be different or outrageous or simply insightful. They know simple recipes sell better. And if more insightful they make the report, how will the poor C&B guy or his old boss read that?

The silliest thing that I have noticed is that, while doing salary survey/mapping/plotting, these companies go by job families and "level descriptors", which are so generic and may have from 70% to 150% of variance in definition of the job, it's vertical and horizontal spread in terms of quality and quantity or magnitude and magnificence of responsibilities and accountability. Every Java Manager/PM does not have the same KRAs and KPIs and challenges, limitations and constraints and expectations and competencies, from large Indian IT services company to principal product companies, who work in R&D space to product innovations.

When I asked some of these salary survey companies to do a proper (in-depth) talent and skills/competencies and expectations (what employer expects from them) mapping, they never came back to me.I suspect they do serious comparative analysis of tasks, role, KRAs, KPIs, per title and role in specified job boundary.

I still believe, you learn more by researching your hiring and attrition dynamics, that have serious connotation to "what people expect and get in terms of salary and role". Besides, the above, I heavily use Job Boards salary date. They are primary market data for me.

I did not find salary meter of salary.com or payscale.com, useful. Despite them asking for quite a lot of valuable details, the output is discouraging. Largely the reason could be that they do not have sufficiently large sample size.

Naukri.com churns out much reliable data, if data cleansing is done well as they do for data warehousing before doing BI. Again, here the reliability is more because of huge sample size.

Companies ask for fresh salary survey data but they themselves mis-implement it to create disparity, as in an anxiety and desperation to get the appraisal cycle done (along with market correction), they create their own fractured grades and bands. And the winner is that average "B and C player".

I was at SiliconIndia's Strategic HR Summit and Mr.Mahalingam, ex-Head HR at Symphony India, made a satirical yet, so true comment, when he asked, Do you know, who is C&B Manager today?, and he answered after a silence that he observed, "It is someone who known Microsoft Excel and some functions, like V lookup, H lookup, Pivot table and as/if formula."  So unfortunate but that is what CEOs and Global Colonial HR heads and C&B heads expect the C&B guys to be like. They are like accountants who draft letters based on circular (annual salary survey reports).

Long live HR!
 

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