Salary or pay surveys seek to establish rates of pay for particular occupations within given industrial sectors. Their purpose is to allow employers to set rates of pay that are broadly in line with those offered by companies using the same types of labour. As such, salary surveys are a means of managing labour supply and avoiding recruitment and retention problems. In many cases, the results of the survey are provided only to those employers who take part in the survey, thereby encouraging participation. Salary surveys may be regular, annual events, or intermittent, designed to inform a one-off pay determination exercise. They are usually commissioned, rather than undertaken by companies themselves, and management consultants and employers' associations frequently provide this service. Companies typically use the results of surveys to decide their ‘salary posture’: where they will ‘sit’ in the external labour market. A blue-chip firm, anxious to attract high-calibre recruits, may position its salaries above the upper quartile of the range revealed by the survey. A less prominent company, in contrast, may choose to set rates of pay at or below the median.
Subjects: Human Resource Management.