Searching for a Salary Report for an unusual job? The PayScale challenge

One of our most common customer questions is, "Why does PayScale not have a salary report for my job?" Please do not feel we are biased against you; we do not have a salary report for me either, a Quantitative Analysis Director from Seattle. :-)

We have over a million salary data profiles from roughly 1% of all people who work in the United States, and a signficant number from other countries as well. We don't have enough salary data to report on every possible job title, in every location, with every experience level and the dozen other critical factors that determine an employee's salary, because of the way our system works.

Our salary calculator is based on a few simple principles:

  • We search our database for people who are most like you.
  • We will look in neighboring towns to where you work, and for people with similar but not identical skills, experience, and other secondary characteristics.
  • We will not produce a salary report if we do not have sufficient data in your region for your job.
  • When we do not have enough "people like you", we say we do not have sufficient salary data instead of making up a number based on a complicated model of how pay varies by region.

With more than a million salary profiles, we do not fail very often to find a reasonable match. We do very well for jobs where the person is an employee (has a boss), works full-time on a permanent contract basis, and has access to the Internet.

For what types of jobs are we most likely to fail to produce a salary report?

  • Part-time, temporary contract and piece work, e.g., Freelance Photographer
  • Rare or unique jobs, e.g., Quantitative Analysis Directors in Seattle
  • Outdated jobs, e.g., Boilermaker
  • People whose compensation is not predominately a regular wage, e.g., Waiter / Waitresses (tips), and public company CEOs (stock)
  • Jobs in remote regions with less connectivity, e.g., Loggers
  • Owners or principals in private practices, e.g., Dentists and Farmers; they are not employees who get a wage
  • Countries where English is not a language used in the work place; we do not have versions of our salary survey in other languages.

PayScale has great coverage across the job spectrum in America. For example, 0.5% of all Teachers, 1% of all Physicians, 1% of all Registered Nurses, and 1% of all Graphic Designers have come to our site in the last year.

We are continuously collecting more salary data, at an accelerating rate: we get many times more salary profiles a week now than we did a year ago.

For example, a couple "Quantitative Analysis Directors" have come to our site in the last week. With luck, will have enough data to produce an accurate salary report for me, and everyone else, in the near future.


Dr. Al Lee


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