Survey Methodology

The survey is designed to be easy to use and to provide the most accurate and valid results possible. The survey methodology details the special attention given to the way in which survey data is collected and audited, and how the survey results are calculated, analyzed and presented.

Collection of Data

Survey data is collected from participants annually and may be submitted to the survey via the Internet web site at any time during the calendar year.

Participants are required to report accurate and actual rates of pay to the survey. A key factor for ensuring the collection of valid survey data is the requirement that participants calculate and submit the actual average rates of pay for all employees in a position as well as the highest and lowest rate of pay. Estimates are not acceptable.

At the end of each data collection period, survey data that has been collected during that quarter is compiled for reporting purposes. It takes approximately three months to audit, calculate and validate the survey data. The results for that collection period are available on the web site in the first month of the calendar quarter (January, April, July and October) following the audit process.

Quality Match Rating

A rating scale is used to identify job matching errors and reveal discrepancies in position responsibilities and functions. Participants are asked to rate, by percentage of accuracy, how well their position matches the survey job description (75%, 85%, 95% and 100% accuracy). Participants should only report data for a particular position in the survey if they feel their position matches the survey job description with an accuracy of least 75%.

Auditing

Since data is submitted to the survey directly by the participants, it is assumed that the participants have completed the survey in an accurate and thorough manner. However, occasionally errors in input may occur. Once survey data has been collected, it is reviewed by the Synergy staff and a thorough statistical analysis and auditing process is performed to identify any discrepancies in the data. Individual participants may also be contacted to verify the accuracy of their data.

Aging the Data

New survey data is compiled quarterly and combined with previously collected data to calculate the results for each quarter of the year. An aging factor is applied to previously collected data to adjust for the movement of salaries through the year. For example, assume that the aging factor is calculated at 4% for the current year. All data previously collected during the first quarter of the year would be increased by 1% before it is combined with the data collected in the second quarter of the year.

The aging factor is proprietary to Synergy. It is derived from a combination of statistical metrics, including the Consumer Price Index (CPI) as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), BLS-reported annual changes in national salary data, actual reported survey salary data trends and other economic parameters.

This aging process provides participants with a much more accurate picture of the market's current level of pay, thus resolving the 'stale' data problem that occurs with most surveys.

Calculating the Results

WageAccess' state-of-the-art Internet-based reporting feature allows participants to create custom reports from current and historical survey data. Users may select and filter data by using any combination for the following factors:

After executing the query, the names and locations of the corresponding companies are displayed to allow users to validate their selection. For confidentiality and statistical accuracy reasons, if the selection yields fewer than companies, the data will not be made available and the user must broaden the selection.

Based on the user's selections, a variety statistical calculations are available, as described in the section below.

General Survey Results

The survey results allow participants to view selected and filtered survey data through a number of commonly used descriptive statistics.

Mean

The mean is the calculated average of pay for a position as reported by the selected group of companies. This calculation is obtained by dividing the sum of the average rates of pay for the selected position from each company by the number of companies. The mean is generally the preferred measure of central tendency in that each company is treated with equal weight and it reflects the value of each average rate of pay in the sample.

Median

The median is the midpoint or center rate in a series of average of rates of pay as reported by the selected group of companies after they have been organized from the lowest to highest rate. The median is also a good representative of central tendency, however, it is not affected by extremely high and low rates of pay for a position.

Weighted Average

The weighted average is another type of calculated average of pay for a position as reported by the selected group of companies. The weighted average is obtained by first multiplying the number of incumbents in the position by the average rate of pay at that company and then dividing the sum of that product by the total number of incumbents at all selected companies. This measure is useful in that it provides a higher weighting to larger companies employing larger numbers of employees in a position.

Average Lowest Rate of Pay

The average lowest rate of pay is the calculated average of lowest pay for a position as reported by the selected group of companies. The calculation is obtained by dividing the sum of the lowest rates of pay for the selected position from each company by the number of companies.

Average Highest Rate of Pay

The average highest rate of pay is the calculated average of highest pay for a position as reported by the selected group of companies. The calculation is obtained by dividing the sum of the highest rates of pay for the selected position from each company by the number of companies.

Average Start Rate

The average start rate is the calculated average starting rate of pay for a position as reported by the selected group of companies. The calculation is obtained by dividing the sum of the starting rates of pay for the selected position from each company by the number of companies.

Average Rate Range Min

The average rate range minimum is the calculated average minimum rate of pay in a structured pay grade system for a position as reported by the selected group of companies. The calculation is obtained by dividing the sum of the minimum rates of pay for the selected position from each company by the number of companies.

Average Rate Range Mid

The average rate range midpoint is the calculated average midpoint rate of pay in a structured pay grade system for a position as reported by the selected group of companies. The calculation is obtained by dividing the sum of the midpoint rates of pay for the selected position from each company by the number of companies.

Average Rate Range Max

The average rate range maximum is the calculated average maximum rate of pay in a structured pay grade system for a position as reported by the selected group of companies. The calculation is obtained by dividing the sum of the maximum rates of pay for the selected position from each company by the number of companies.

Job Data Parameters

Job data parameters are reported as the percentage of the selected companies whose employees in this position normally match the following parameters:

Quartile Analysis

The quartile analysis allows users to make a direct comparison of their own data to the survey results, including a detailed report of their company's percentile ranking in the selected market.

Percentile

The percentile is the value, on a scale of one hundred, that indicates the percent of average rates of pay that fall below it.

In a series of average of rates of pay for a given position that have been organized from lowest to highest rate, the 25th percentile indicates that 25% of the reported average rates of pay fall below this number and 75% fall above this number.

Based on the selection criteria, the quartile analysis will show average rates of pay for each position at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles.

Market Analysis

The market analysis section allows users to compare their own methods of compensating employees through a formal pay grade system to the methods used by other survey participants in the selected group of companies.

Compa-ratio

The compa-ratio is a tool that is used to compare a participant's average rate of pay for each position with the average midpoint of rate range data reported by the survey for that same position.

A score of 1.0 indicates that the average rate of pay for this position is equal to the midpoint of the rate range. A score that is greater than or less than 1.0 indicates the average rate of pay exceeds or is less than the midpoint of the rate range. Likewise, a score of less than 1.0 indicates the average rate of pay is lower than the midpoint of the rate range.

Rate Range Comparison

These results offer a direct comparison of the participant's own pay grade Start Rates, Minimum, Midpoint and Maximum rates to the pay grade levels reported in the survey results.