Do you know what you’re worth?

Ken Pelczarski | TLT Career Coach September 2017

It's the critical piece of information you need to negotiate a job offer from strength.

© Can Stock Photo / fizkes

WE HAVE ALL HEARD THE SAYING that an item is only worth what somebody will pay for it. The same rule applies when you interview for a position. You are only worth what an employer will pay for your talents. Fortunately, you have the power to negotiate a great offer for yourself.

It starts with knowing what you are worth.

Job offers are generally based upon years of relevant experience as well as the level and type of position. Ultimately the salary you are offered will be determined specifically by the following factors that play out during the interview process:

1) The level of success you have achieved
2) Your attitude and motivation
3) Long-term fit with the company and position
4) Your salary-negotiation skills.

The purpose of this article is not to focus on salary negotiation tips but, instead, to provide ideas and resources for determining your worth in the industry. You will be negotiating your job offer based upon factors such as drive, accomplishments and long-term fit, but it all begins with knowing what you’re worth. This information will be especially helpful if you are successful and underpaid since your goal is to receive an offer based upon the benefit you bring instead of upon your current salary.

Listed below are 16 resources to utilize when researching salaries in your field.

1. This is one of the most visited Websites related to salary research. The site contains useful information on compensation for free as well as reports that are individually priced or by subscription. You can search for average salaries for specific job titles by location, although it may be difficult to find a salary range for your exact job title. You also can search for the equivalent salary to your current one in a new city. Other options on the site include downloading white papers and registering for on-demand webinars.

2. This Website enables you to search by numerous criteria to compare your current salary or a job offer salary figure with average compensation for your background and type of position. Start by entering your job title and location and then narrow job title down even further. You will then enter your education level, field of study, current employer, schools attended, certifications, skill set, years of experience, size of company and industry type. The final report will provide you with an average salary and bonus figure for your location as well as other geographical areas.

3. This Website claims to have the largest salary profile database in the world, comprising 54 million people and 16,000 job titles. Learn what you are worth by researching salary information for your current job or a job offer with a prospective employer. The site enables you to search on more variables than I have seen on any other site. Find the average pay range for your background and position type by searching on criteria such as job title, years of experience, location, required skills, certifications, supervisory responsibility, position reporting structure, employer type, product line, company size, education level, school attended, field of study, age, gender and ethnicity.

4. Lubes’N’Greases Magazine. This magazine publishes an in-depth three-part salary survey every two years for its readers in the lubricants industry. There is no other compensation resource available that is more lubricant industry specific. During a period of three consecutive months every other year, there is a monthly feature dedicated to compensation for each of the following functions: (1.) sales/marketing, (2.) laboratory/technical management and (3.) plant management. Salaries are studied relative to various criteria such as age, years of experience, number of people supervised, tenure in current position, employer size and geographical region. Bonuses and other incentives and perks are included to give a good picture of average overall compensation. 

5. American Chemical Society. The American Chemical Society publishes a weekly magazine, Chemical & Engineering News, which features an in-depth annual salary survey for chemists and chemical engineers. Although the study is not lubricant industry specific, the salary information translates well to most industries including lubricants. Salaries are studied according to many variables such as years of experience, education level, age, gender, ethnicity, academia/industry/government sectors, industry category and location. Click here to select 2016 salary data.

6. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Visit the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Wage and Salary Data Website page here and you will be able to examine in-depth studies displaying precise figures for median hourly wages, mean hourly wages and annual mean wages for over 800 occupations and about 400 industries. You also can view wage data by occupation and gender as well as by state and metropolitan area.

7. Staffing Industry Analysts. Staffing Industry Analysts is a global advisor for staffing and workplace solutions. Visit to search articles and salary surveys and to sign up to receive regular emails, including daily news articles. This resource provides worthwhile compensation information, including salary surveys and trends for new graduates and experienced professionals across a variety of industries and functions.

8. You will find this Website to be a highly informative job board with many diverse job postings, most of which include estimated average salary ranges. By clicking on salaries on the main Website page, you can view average salaries as well as specific examples of individual salaries by job title and location. You also can click on a know your worth icon on the main page, which will assist you in evaluating your current worth to see if you are being paid fairly. Simply create an account with your email address and receive a free personalized salary estimate. In addition, you can receive free unlimited Website access for 12 months by sharing an anonymous review on a current or former employer related either to salary, job interview or the company.

9. LinkedIn. This is by far the biggest social media Website for professional networking. There is valuable salary information on this site, although it is not industry specific. Visit and click on the work icon and then salary. You will get a general idea of average compensation for your position by typing in a job title and location. You also can click on the learning icon to view numerous articles on salaries.

10. Monster and CareerBuilder. Two of the largest job boards, and, offer a wide range of career resources, including numerous articles and surveys on industry salaries. When visiting the Monster Website, click on career resources, then career advice and browse articles under salary & benefits. For CareerBuilder, click on search resources, then look at salaries under article topics.

11. Ladders is a comprehensive career resource founded in 2003 that connects job seekers and employers, particularly at the $100k+ level. Visit the Website, click on news and advice and then advice by topic to find a wide range of articles on salaries. Sign up to receive their emails and receive regular updates with information on salary levels for dozens of recently placed professionals along with their corresponding job titles.

12. Industry job postings. Most job postings do not list salary ranges for open positions. There are many postings, however, that do list salary ranges. These postings are an excellent source for learning average compensation for the exact type of position you are targeting. You are likely to find several ads with listed salary ranges by searching on sites such as (STLE Career Center),,,,, and

13. This is my favorite Website for researching cities to which an individual is considering relocation. There is an abundance of valuable demographic information to review for even the smallest cities. In addition, the site will calculate what salary in your destination city would be equivalent to the salary you earn in your current city of residence. This is extremely helpful information to possess when negotiating a job offer with an out-of-town employer.

14. Recruiters. Recruiters can be an outstanding source of compensation information. Be sure to speak with a recruiter who has a good industry overview through years of experience, knowledge and specialization in your field and daily contact with the kinds of companies that would employ you. You should be able to obtain valuable feedback on average range of compensation for your background, especially from recruiters with whom you have established a close relationship. Many recruiters also will have information available from salary studies they have done for specific clients.

15. Colleagues, competitors and co-workers. Although these sources of compensation information may not provide you with precise average salary figures, they likely give you the best idea of how your salary compares to industry peers. It can be awkward to discuss exact salaries with most peers. However, you can learn a lot from peers just by discussing each other’s opinion on average salaries for different types and levels of positions in the lubricants industry. If you can speak with a cross-section of colleagues, competitors and co-workers, you will gain a reliable consensus on what compensation you should be earning.

16. Google. There is much more information available online regarding compensation besides resources listed above. When you Google salary research, salary surveys, average salaries or similar phrases, you will find endless information that could help you analyze where your current salary ranks within your field.

Although researching salaries is not an exact science, you should obtain an excellent feel for your worth by utilizing resources listed above. You will learn a wide range of average compensation (e.g., $80,000-$120,000) that your experience level is worth for a specific type of position. If you have been a top performer in your field, you should be able to negotiate a salary toward the top of that range. 

Be sure to take time to research average salaries for your background. Arming yourself with knowledge of what you are worth is the foundation for negotiating from strength for your best possible salary with a current or prospective employer.

Ken Pelczarski is owner and founder of Pelichem Associates, a Chicago-based search firm established in 1985 and specializing in the lubricants industry. You can reach Ken at (630) 960-1940 or at