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Salary Data: Where Does PayScale Get Data? How Do I Know It’s Accurate?

At PayScale, our salary data resides in the largest real-time online employee salary database in the world. The salary database was built from the millions of curious individuals who want to compare their salary data and understand the market for their skills. We create each individualized salary report by analyzing anonymous salary data collected over the last year from people with similar job titles, years experience, education, etc. This automated process includes extensive checks and statistical tests for consistency and accuracy on all salary data.

At PayScale, our salary data resides in the largest real-time online employee salary database in the world. The salary database was built from the millions of curious individuals who want to compare their salary data and understand the market for their skills.

PayScale salary map

We create each individualized salary report by analyzing anonymous salary data collected from people with similar job titles, years experience, education, etc. and in a similar labor market – location, company size, industry, etc. This automated process includes extensive checks and statistical tests for consistency and accuracy on all salary data.

The great advantage PayScale has is that the people who do the job — who know what makes them special and know why they earn what they earn — are the people answering our questions. These individuals are motivated to answer the questions with accurate salary data, so that they will in turn receive an accurate salary report.

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3 Comments on "Salary Data: Where Does PayScale Get Data? How Do I Know It’s Accurate?"

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Katie
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How exactly do you check the accuracy of each individual’s volunteered data?

Adam Spencer-Bone
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What percentage of salaries are self reported, versus collected from companies? Couldn’t there be a selection bias affecting the results? Perhaps people with higher salaries are more likely to report? Is there any data on this subject?

mm
Admin
Thanks for your question, Adam. All of the salary data on PayScale is self-reported by employees working in the jobs. None is provided by companies. We do a lot of work to ensure there is no systematic bias in the data. We’ve spent almost 15 years working on our Market Match algorithm and survey methods. And, to ensure we’re on the mark, we make regular comparisons to other salary datasets, including those compiled from companies. Our data is very highly correlated to those other datasets. What’s beneficial about how we do things is our ability to get specific — precise… Read more »
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