Are you paid what you are worth?

Are you paid what you deserve? How would you know? Online tools offer more than a hint of the salary your skills and job title should command. Knowledge is power in this case.

Comparing your salary: Wage information, sliced and diced in sometimes-bewildering detail, is available at the site of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Start at this page and choose among the options for studying national compensation data, wages by area and occupation, or earnings by demographics or industry. The geographical information should reveal, for example, which area of the country pays best for your skills. Then, the bureau’s equally exhaustive pages on inflation and prices — and the differences in living costs from place to place — can tell you whether relocating is worthwhile. www.bls.gov/bls/wages.htm

Are you above average? Forbes writer Jacquelyn Smith says that after a bit of online research into the pay range for your job, you should decide honestly if your experience, education, location, work reputation, and other factors put you above or below the average pay. Close-to-home details, such as what your co-workers earn, can be hard to come by. You have to be careful in choosing whom to talk to and in knowing what you can afford to reveal. One of Smith’s sources suggests using social media groups to ask general questions about what people in your job category are paid. http://onforb.es/TwCiWZ

Right place, right time: A thumbnail look at the likely pay for any given job category in any specific city, state or ZIP code is available at the salary-search page of the Indeed.com job site. The numbers are median pay and are extracted from job listings that tell you what employers have offered to pay in the past 12 months. You can compare the wage figures from multiple locations and tailor a search based on keywords that don’t have to conform to formal job titles. www.indeed.com/salary

Researching the salary you are likely to command is one step toward getting the pay you think you deserve. Before negotiating starting pay or a raise, check out this page on salary-negotiation tactics. The information is part of About.com’s extensive material on job hunting and employment. http://bit.ly/tCY6Fg.

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&Copy;2012 The Philadelphia Inquirer

Visit The Philadelphia Inquirer at www.philly.com

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