Salary Wizard help topics

Throughout this section, terms in italics are defined in the compensation glossary.

Using the Salary Wizard

Selecting a job category
Entering postal code/metropolitan area
Selecting a job title and generating a report
Doing an advanced job title search
Choosing a search term
Comparing jobs

 
Frequently asked questions

How can both employers and employees use these results?
Where does the data in the Salary Wizard come from?
How do I know if a job title is appropriate or accurately reflects my job responsibilities?
Can adjustments be made for some specific skills I have?
What do levels I, II, and III mean?
Why can't I find my job in the Salary Wizard?
What is the difference between median and average?
Why is the result from the Salary Wizard so much higher/lower than I expected?
How many job titles does the Salary Wizard contain?

 
Compensation glossary

System requirements

The use of this data


Using the Salary Wizard


Selecting a job category

Select the appropriate job category by clicking on the selection in the drop-down box. Your choice of job category will determine which job titles and related resources are returned for you choose from in the next step. The use of job categories makes it easier to navigate among the hundreds of job titles listed in the Salary Wizard. The Salary Wizard defaults to the first job category if none is selected. [return to top]

Choosing a location

You can narrow your salary search to a geographic area by typing in a postal code or by selecting the metropolitan area from a menu. If you enter both, the postal code will take precedence. The Salary Wizard will default to the Canadian national average if you make no selection. [return to top]

Selecting a job title and generating a report

Select the job title for which you would like to generate a salary report, then click on the button that says “Create Salary Report.” The Salary Wizard defaults to the first job in the category if none is selected. [return to top]

Doing an advanced job title search

The advanced job title search lets you search on all job titles in the database and on the alternative names associated with the job titles. If you can’t find a job that you think should be in the database, you can type in a word or a part of a word and the Salary Wizard will return all matching job titles. [return to top]

Choosing a search term

The search function performs a wildcard search through all the job titles and alternative job titles in all job categories. For example, if you type in “senior,” you will see all job titles and alternative job titles with the word “senior” in them. The same job will show up multiple times, since there are many alternative names for each job title. The best way to use the search is to type in the fewest characters that contain meaningful information for the search. [return to top]

Comparing jobs

The Salary Wizard lets you compare a job title and location to other jobs in three ways. You can compare the current data to the Canadian national average for the same job; to the same job in a different metropolitan area; or to a related job (that is, another job in the same job category) in the same location. The comparison will use the current setting - either base salary or total compensation. [return to top]

Frequently asked questions

Question. How can both employers and employees use these results?

Answer. The goal of the Salary Wizard is to provide timely, reliable, useful compensation data. The Salary Wizard offers information on a spectrum of job titles in Canada, from entry-level to CEO. The Salary Wizard allows you to compare your salary against the market competitive rate of pay for your job. Use this information to develop an accurate picture of what your experience and skills are worth, in monetary terms, in or outside your company. All salaries are expressed in Canadian dollars.

The role of a human resources (HR) professional is to attract, motivate, and retain competent employees. To be successful, an HR representative relies on available market data to determine appropriate pay levels for the jobs in his or her company. So when you apply for a job or go after a promotion, the HR professional goes out into the market place to benchmark your job to one commonly found outside the company.

A benchmark job tells your HR representative what the market is willing to pay for certain skill sets. Normally, a company will pay you the competitive market rate reflected in a benchmark job if you have all the necessary skills to perform the job. If your salary is above the median value, your company is probably pursuing an aggressive competitive pay practice. However, most companies tend to pay their employees at the median or slightly below it. One way to determine how competitive your salary is relative to the market is to divide your salary by the median salary in the Salary Wizard.

 
Employee Current Salary The Salary Wizard's Median Salary Market-Competitive Ratio
Employee 1 $10,000 $10,100 0.99
Employee 2 $20,000 $20,000 1.00
Employee 3 $15,000 $17,000 0.88
Employee 4 $30,000 $40,000 0.75

The table indicates that employee 2’s salary is the most competitive salary, while employee 4 has the least competitive salary. [return to top]

Question. Where does the data in the Salary Wizard come from?

Answer.The Salary Wizard is an interactive database of compensation information. It includes data on approximately 345 job titles. The data it includes is intended to provide a reasonable range for typical cash compensation earned by the typical person working in that job - the data used to develop the pay levels shown in the Salary Wizard are based on the pay practices of companies of all industries, companies of all sizes, and companies from across Canada.

Every job in the Salary Wizard has been thoroughly researched and validated by Salary.com's team of compensation consultants who have combined experience of over 80 years in the compensation and statistical analysis fields. Select salary data is analyzed and benchmarked by extracting and reporting the market salary data for each position. To ensure jobs are appropriately matched, our analysts benchmark the jobs based on job content, not job title. Note, all data used in researching salary levels for the Salary Wizard has been reported by human resource professionals. Salary.com does not use or collect any salary information from individual site users, placement agencies, job postings, nor any other unreliable sources.

Most jobs in the Salary Wizard are based on 100 or more incumbent salaries.

The salary data is presented in two pieces: base pay and total cash compensation (base pay plus annual incentives). The market pay level is based on the median, or 50th percentile, of all salaries reported for a given job. This represents the midpoint of the competitive market rate for that job. To provide perspective of scope and distribution of pay amounts, the Salary Wizard also shows the range around the median that includes the half of the people in that job who are paid closest to the market median - excludes the lowest 25 percent and the highest 25 percent by pay.

Results for each piece are displayed in a graph to show visually this "inter-quartile range." The minimum of the range is the 25th percentile, which means only 25 percent of salaries reported for a particular job fall below this level; the maximum of the range is the 75th percentile, which means that 75 percent of all salaries reported for that job fall below this amount (i.e., 25 percent fall above this amount).

Although the data sources are the most recent available (2000-2001), the numbers are modified by applying an aging factor to adjust the data to a common date and to accommodate the movement of salaries over time. Not all salaries move at the same rate. For instance, in the last few years, salaries in the information technology field have increased much faster than salaries in other jobs (5 to 15 percent for IT versus 2 to 5 percent in general). Therefore, IT salaries are adjusted at a higher rate than non-IT jobs. The date of the data is the common date to which all data has been aged.

The Salary Wizard calculates the total cash compensation for every job in its database. The distribution of the data is presented in the same way as base pay. Total compensation includes all bonuses, incentives, and commissions.

 
Base Compensation
25th Percentile Median 75th Percentile
$42,905 $48,297 $55,968
Total Cash Compensation
25th Percentile Median 75th Percentile
$43,217 $49,285 $57,234

The median base compensation for an Accountant I is $48,297, while total compensation is $49,285. From the data one might infer that the average bonus for an Accountant I is $988, approximately 2 percent of base pay. This result suggests that someone working at this level is less likely to receive substantial compensation beyond base pay. [return to top]

Question. How do I know if a job title is appropriate or accurately reflects my job responsibilities?

Answer. A job title is a quick way of describing a collection of tasks, responsibilities, and duties. Normally, a job title is not the most constructive way to determine the actual responsibilities of that job. It’s always best to read the job description, which covers the skills, experience, and knowledge needed to perform the job. Nevertheless, there are situations when a job title alone may be sufficient to determine your pay level. For instance, the title Accountant I implies that it’s an entry-level job, which means the incumbent may have little or no experience in accounting. [return to top]

Question. Can adjustments be made for some specific skills I have?

Answer. Currently, the trend in HR is to pay for performance, or rather pay for competencies used to perform a job. Several years ago, employers typically rewarded employees for longevity and not for how well they actually did their job. Today, companies are willing to pay a premium for scarce skill sets. This is most evident in the information technology industry, where the difficulty in finding people with certain sets of skills has led to enormous increases in salaries. In most cases, years of experience is becoming less important than competency.

Similarly, having an advanced degree such as an MBA does not guarantee an increase to your salary. Employers are only willing to pay you more money for a degree if it gives you additional skills and knowledge that make you more competent in your job. Consequently, the data in the Salary Wizard has not been adjusted to accommodate advanced education, unless it is a requirement of the job. [return to top]

Question. What do levels I, II, III, IV, and V mean?

Answer. The Salary Wizard uses up to five levels to distinguish the level of skill, knowledge, and responsibility needed to perform a job within a given job family. These levels may differ according to discipline or functional area. [return to top]

Question. Why can't I find my job in the Salary Wizard?

Answer. Salary.com is continually adding new jobs to the Salary Wizard. If you can't find your job title, simply drop us a line and we will make sure the most popular jobs get to the top of the list. [return to top]

Question. What is the difference between median and average?

Answer. Both the average (also known as mean) and the median are measures of central tendency. The median discounts extreme data points and measures only by the middle value. Consequently, the Salary Wizard uses the median salary, because it describes the typical pay for a given job. [return to top]

Question. Why is the result from the Salary Wizard so much higher/lower than I expected?

Answer. The key to using Salary Wizard is to match your position correctly to one of its jobs. The Salary Wizard displays the data from minimum to maximum. Your salary will between those two points based on your level of experience and your performance on the job. Since people's performance levels and proficiency differ, the Salary Wizard does not adjust its data based on experience levels or presumed performance. However, the less experience you have in a job, the more likely your salary is to fall between the minimum and the median. If you have had many years of experience in a particular job, and your performance has either met or exceeded your company's expectations, you are more likely to find your salary at or above the median. The Salary Wizard is a representation of a typical person in a given job. Your actual pay might be different for any of a variety of reasons. For example, the size of the company you work for might contribute to this. For a more detailed discussion, please review our methodology section. [return to top]

Question. How many job titles does Salary Wizard contain?

Answer. As of April 2002, the Salary Wizard lists salaries for more than 250 job titles in Canada. More jobs are being added every month. [return to top]

Compensation glossary
The following terms relate to the Salary.com Salary Wizard. A more comprehensive glossary of business and HR terms that apply to individual employees is also available at Salary.com.

25th percentile. In the Salary Wizard, the 25th percentile represents the range of data points less than or equal to 25 percent of the salary data distribution, and is synonymous with the minimum. [return to top]

75th percentile. In the Salary Wizard, the 75th percentile represents the range of data points less than or equal to 75 percent of the salary data distribution, and is synonymous with the maximum. [return to top]

Aging factor. A percentage that represents the adjustment for pay increases for a specific period of time. [return to top]

Average. The sum of a list of data points divided by the number of data points. [return to top]

Base salary. The fixed pay an employee receives that does not change due to performance or results achieved. [return to top]

Benchmark. An internal job matched to an external job of similar content. [return to top]

Bonus. A payment or reward given to an employee, a team, a division, or an entire company, because of performance. Bonuses can be paid as cash, but also as stock options, shares, or other valuable things. [return to top]

Central tendency. A statistical term that describes data clustering around a central value in a distribution, usually determined by the mean, mode, or median. [return to top]

Commission. An amount paid to a salesperson for a sale, usually expressed in terms of percentage of sales. [return to top]

Date of the data. The date to which the data in the Salary Wizard is aged. See also aging factor. [return to top]

Discretionary bonus. A reward given out at the employer’s discretion, often as a result of skipping or ignoring the process of setting goals, monitoring performance against them, etc. [return to top]

External job. A job outside the employing organization. [return to top]

Geographic differential. A number used to pinpoint the difference in salary levels for two regions or cities. The Canadian national average typically has a value of 100.0, as it is usually the point of comparison. For example, at a salary of $35,000, Charlottetown, PE, has a geographic differential of 90.0, which means this salary is 90 percent of the national average. [return to top]

HR. Human resources. The personnel department. [return to top]

Human resources. HR. The personnel department. [return to top]

Incentive. This is more or less a synonym for bonus, commission, or other pay that depends on performance. [return to top]

Incumbent. A person doing a job; the employee. [return to top]

Instant incentive. A reward (bonus) on the spot for a particular achievement. [return to top]

Internal job. A job within the employing organization. See also external job. [return to top]

Job category. A collection of similar jobs that can be found in a variety of industries. An accountant, for instance, can be found in accounting, banking, or financial services. Within each job category are a number of job titles. [return to top]

Market competitive ratio. A person’s salary divided by the Salary Wizard’s median salary. [return to top]

Maximum. In the Salary Wizard, the highest salary level for a particular job; synonymous with the 75th percentile. [return to top]

Mean. The simple arithmetic average from a set of numbers. [return to top]

Median. The item in the middle when a set of data points is ranked from the lowest to the highest, so that there is an equal number of data points below and above it. [return to top]

Minimum. In the Salary Wizard, the lowest salary level for a particular job; synonymous with the 25th percentile. [return to top]

National average. In the Salary Wizard, an average of all salaries encompassing Canada for certain jobs. Also the point of comparison for geographic differentials used to determine a specific salary for a particular city and/or region. [return to top]

Total cash compensation. The overall cash payments made to an employee for his or her services during a given year. [return to top]

 

System requirements

For the best results we recommend you use Microsoft I.E. 4.0 or above or Netscape Communicator 4.7 or above.

 

The use of this data
Salary.com accepts no liability for any loss or inconvenience arising from the use of the Salary Wizard. The Salary Wizard is provided at no cost to the user, and is for informational purposes only. Salary.com reserves the right to revise the data without notice.

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