How To Read Your Salary Report

You already know that is the place to go to quickly generate a personalized Salary Report that tells you exactly how your total compensation compares to people like you. (And if you don’t know that, go complete your Salary Report right now.) You probably have even spent some time poking around and looking at the array of charts and lists contained on the report. But today we’re going to show you how to get the most out of that information.

Your Pay Snapshot

Pay Snapshot

Your Pay Snapshot is probably the first thing you see when you look at your Salary Report. You see your total pay (your salary plus any monetary benefits, like bonuses, overtime pay and more), and what percentile that total compensation puts you at. In the example above, the user ranks in the 63rd percentile, meaning that he or she makes more than 63% of people who do the same job, have similar education, experience and live in places where the cost of living is comparable.

By the way, it’s important to note that we measure median salaries, not “mean” salaries. We know, it’s a confusing topic- not everybody has a crack team of data scientists they can refer to help figure this stuff out. By focusing on medians, we eliminate outliers that would throw off the data. You can read more about median versus mean in this blog post.

Want a more detailed breakdown? Click on “Go to your full Pay and Benefits Report” to see how all those different bits of your total compensation compare individually. Here you can compare salary, bonuses, medical benefits, vacation time and more.


Pay snapshot expanded
This view shows how this person's bonus is what makes them a high earner


Total Cash Reports

But wait, there’s more! If you’re a PayScale Premium user, you can click on “Show all Total Cash reports” and you will see even more nitty-gritty data. (We really love data here. So should you.)

Total pay data

Overwhelmed? Don’t be. To put it simply, this is where you can look up what people report earning, on average, based on specific demographics like Employer Type, Experience, Skills, City and Gender. It’s a lot of information, but it makes it easy for you to identify actions you can take to up your earning potential. Best of all, it’s customized for different types of jobs and different industries. Notice how the example above is for a teacher – if this was a Salary Report for a registered nurse, you wouldn’t see “Average Total Cash by Subject Taught.”

If you see that your peers who have a certain skill that you might be lacking in make significantly more than you, that may be something you want to learn. If you see that earning power would be higher if you moved to another city, then it might be time to reconsider your place of residence.

Local Companies That Hire People in Your Profession

Thinking about switching companies without moving across the country? Your Salary Report can show you local companies that you could work for and how much they pay people with your skills, experience and education to do your job. 

Local companies that hire in your area


You should note that we can only show you this if you’ve included the name of your employer in your PayScale Salary Report. If you haven’t, go back and update your Salary Report so that you can get this valuable information.

Median Salary by Degree/Major Subject

Finally, if education is on your mind, click through to the next report and get a projection of how much you would make in your current area if you had a different educational background on your resume. Again, if you fill out a complete Salary Report that includes your job title, which industry you work in, your degree(s) and which school(s) you attended, we can also show you links to even more useful related charts based on all that information.

Salary by education

Hmmm… maybe it’s time to go back to school?

So hopefully now you see that your PayScale Salary Report does a whole lot more than just tell you how much money you make- it tells you how you compare to your peers and gives you hints on how to make more in the future. Knowing how to read your Salary Report will help you plan for the future and ensure that you are earning what you’re worth.

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