Sometimes we are asked, are the PayScale salary reports unbiased? Since PayScale does not explicitly select the people who complete our salary survey, how do we know the ~2% of employees in the US who have completed our survey are representative of the US working population as a whole?
The extent to which any aggregate statistic, like typical salary, is biased (inaccurate) depends on how it is constructed, and what question it is trying to answer. In this post, I'll look at three aspects of bias in reporting:
- All aggregate statistics lie: There is no such thing as a "true" typical answer
- The case of the civil engineer: Even well-measured typical values are wrong, simply because they are aggregates
- Sampling bias: A sample may not be suitable for the question being asked
In future posts, I will look at bias in government wage calculations, and then come back to whether PayScale data are biased for the questions we try to answer.
Is your salary biased high or low? The PayScale Salary Calculator is a quick and easy way to compare positions. But when you want powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position, be sure to build a complete profile by taking PayScale's full salary survey.