Six Steps to Find Out If Your Company is Offering Competitive Pay

By Mariah Collins, SHRM-CP on Sep 01, 2023
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Attracting and keeping strong talent is a constant challenge, especially in today’s dynamic job market. Multiple factors affect recruiting and retention effectiveness but competitive compensation packages are among the more significant requirements for achieving this goal. 

What is competitive pay? Let’s delve into the concept, its importance and how employers can determine a competitive rate of pay to differentiate themselves in a tight labor market. 

RELATED: Building an Effective Compensation Strategy in Uncertain Times >>

What is Competitive Pay? 

Competitive pay refers to the compensation an employer offers that equals or exceeds prevailing rates within an industry and local job market. In simpler terms, it’s a compensation package as good as or better than what competitors offer for similar work. 

Competitive pay encompasses not just salary, but also benefits like bonuses, incentives, health insurance, paid time off, retirement plans and work-life balance perks. 

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Why is Competitive Pay Important?  

Competitive pay has the power to attract and retain top talent. When skilled professionals have multiple job offers, competitive compensation can sway them toward choosing the employer whose compensation demonstrates the value placed on the candidate’s experience and knowledge. Compensation is often the deciding factor when other considerations – such as title, location and growth potential – are comparable. 

Competitive pay also directly impacts employee morale, engagement and overall job satisfaction. Fair compensation can translate to respect and value. Employees who feel competitively compensated are motivated to perform better, which leads to greater productivity and success. 

Organizations that provide attractive compensation packages are more likely to stand out in the job market and draw the attention of top-tier candidates. A market-competitive salary signals a company’s commitment to employees and their growth. It positions the company as a desirable workplace and helps build a positive employer brand. 

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How to Determine Competitive Salary 

To determine what constitutes a competitive rate of pay for your business, conduct a competitive wage analysis that considers: 

  • Industry research

    Begin by researching salary data within your industry. Various resources, such as industry-specific reports and online salary databases, can provide insights into average pay ranges for different positions. 

  • Local market considerations

    Consider the cost of living and economic conditions in your local area. A competitive salary in one region might not be seen as attractive in another due to varying expenses. 

And, if you have employees working in multiple places in the country, you may need to consider varying their pay rates based on the cost of living and cost of labor in their markets, even if their job responsibilities and titles are the same. This practice, called “geographic pay differential,” has become more common post-COVID as more workers work remotely from far-flung locations. 

  • Benchmarking

    Compare your company’s compensation packages with those of your competitors for similar roles in your area. As much as possible, keep your pay structure in line with industry norms and with competitors who operate in the same general region as you do. 
  • Job responsibilities

    Evaluate the responsibilities and requirements of the position, as well as the experience and qualifications required to perform well in the role. Experienced and highly skilled candidates in jobs that demand more complex or specialized skills typically also command higher salaries. 
  • Employee feedback 

    Conduct surveys or discussions to understand how existing employees view their compensation, if they believe it’s competitive and which benefits they want most. 
  • Benefits and perks

    Remember that compensation goes beyond salary. Factor in the value of benefits, bonuses and non-monetary perks when determining overall compensation competitiveness. 

RELATED: Hiring at the Top of Your Salary Range? Here's Why It's Not a Good Idea >>

Market-competitive salaries and benefits are a cornerstone of successful talent management. When fostering a culture of excellence within an organization, it not only attracts strong candidates but also gives the best employees another reason to stay in place.  

By offering competitive compensation packages, a company elevates its reputation as a desirable employer. Small businesses that prioritize competitive pay will find themselves better equipped to secure and retain the talent that drives future growth and success.

Not sure where to start? Reach out to us today. We've been Kansas City's trusted, certified professional employer organization (PEO) since 1988, providing HR expertise and guidance to small and mid-sized business owners just like yourself. 

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