How To Find Out How Much a Job Pays
When you’re applying for jobs, finding out how much you could earn can be really helpful. You can use online tools to learn how much a job pays and decide whether to apply, negotiate a job offer, or look for more money.
It can be a challenge to learn the starting pay for a job because of the factors that impact it. The hourly rate or annual salary can vary significantly between companies and industries unless you’re applying for a union or government job.
Federal and state minimum wage rates vary, and employers may have set salary scales—or they may not. Large companies are more likely to have set pay rates than smaller employers where salaries may be flexible.
Where you work makes a difference too. For example, ZipRecruiter lists the salary range for a computer programmer in New York City as $74,000-$110,000. In Nebraska, it’s $27,000-$68,000. For a remote position, the average is about $88,000.
When you’re researching salaries, the job location can impact what’s disclosed. Some cities and states have pay transparency laws that require employers to list a salary range when they post a job. Others don’t, but employers may choose to include a salary range in the job posting.
It can take time, but it’s worth researching salaries before you apply and when you’re in contention for a job and hoping for an offer. The more information you have, the better position you’ll be in to negotiate a job offer.
Here are the best options to find out how much a job is going to pay.
7 Ways To Learn How Much a Job Pays
Before you start researching salaries, it’s important to be aware that there are different ways a company can share salary information with applicants. Sometimes, an employer will list a salary range—for example, $60,000-$90,000 per year, depending on experience. The job offer to the successful candidate will fall somewhere within that range.
Other employers may list a set wage for a job—for example, $20 per hour. When the rate is set in advance, prospective employees will most likely be unable to negotiate a higher wage.
If you can’t find an actual wage for a job, you may be able to find a range or an estimate of what you can expect to earn.
Here’s information on the different ways you can learn how much a job pays:
1. Review Pay Transparency Laws
If you live in a location where employers are legally required to list salary, it will be easy to get a salary range for the position. However, you may need to request it. As of March 2023, eight states have enacted salary transparency laws, and 15 others are considering it. In addition, some cities have legislation requiring employers to disclose salary ranges to employees and prospective employees.
What must be disclosed depends upon the state. Some require a salary range to be listed in job postings. Some require disclosure after an interview, as part of a job offer, or you may have to request the information.
Check with the state labor department for the rules in your location.
2. Check the Job Posting
The easiest way to find out how much a job pays is to check the details in the job posting. Even if the law doesn’t require it, some companies post salary information in their job advertisements. That’s because they want to be fair and transparent when recruiting and because it can help narrow down the applicant pool to candidates comfortable with the advertised range.
Check job postings (the information may be at the bottom of the description) to see if the employer has listed a salary range for the job.
3. Visit the Company Website
Some employers list salary information in the “Careers” or “Jobs” section of their company website even if they don’t post it in jobs they list on job boards or elsewhere online.
If you find a job you’re interested in online, check the company website to see if you can learn more about the job and how much it pays.
Tip: Consider applying on the company’s website while you’re there. Your application will go directly into the employer’s applicant tracking system, and you may be able to fast-track the hiring process.
4. Try Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is another way to learn about how much a job pays. I asked ChatGPT, Bard, and Bing how much a computer programmer in New York City earned, and I got detailed responses:
- Bard: The average salary for a computer programmer in New York City is $85,450 per year. This is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other sources. The salary range for computer programmers in New York City is typically between $48,440 and $140,500.
- Bing: According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a computer programmer in New York City is $82,126 per year. However, this number can vary depending on factors such as experience level, industry, and company.
- ChatGPT: The salary of a computer programmer in NYC can vary depending on factors such as their experience, skills, industry, and company size. According to data from Glassdoor, the average base pay for a computer programmer in New York City is around $89,000 per year. However, this can range from around $64,000 to over $130,000 per year depending on the factors mentioned above.
You can also AI ask about jobs and salaries at the employers you are interested in working for. For example, I asked about Amazon warehouse jobs in Texas. Bard, Bing, and ChatGTP reported that the average hourly wage for an Amazon warehouse worker in Texas is around $15 to $16 per hour. They all noted that average pay can vary depending on the position, location, and level of experience. Searching Amazon’s jobs website, I learned that fulfillment center warehouse jobs pay up to $16.10 an hour.
It was quicker to ask a tool than it was to search through job listings. So, try AI tools to get a general idea of what you could earn, but remember that AI isn’t always accurate.
Note: ChatGPT added this important disclaimer, which applies to all the salary information you find online that isn’t listed directly by an employer: “It’s important to note that these figures are just estimates and that actual salaries can vary significantly based on individual circumstances.”
5. Review Salary Transparency Websites
Gergely Orosz’s Pragmatic Engineer Newsletter has information on new salary transparency websites that pull online salary information from job postings.
- Comprehensive.io tracks and publishes salary ranges for jobs posted by tech companies.
- Levels.fyi Jobs lists the advertised salary range and then estimates the total compensation package.
6. Check Salary Websites
There are many websites that provide salary information for occupations, industries, locations, and other factors to get salary estimates for jobs of interest.
Here’s a selection of sites to check out:
Comparably: Search by industry (tech or other), department, job title, and zip code to generate salary information. You can also browse categories such as highest paying jobs, jobs with the highest bonuses, recent salaries by company, and more.
Indeed: Use Indeed to search for salary information by job title, skills, certifications, benefits, and keywords.
Glassdoor: Enter your current or desired job title, location, and current or desired employer to calculate what you could be making.
Occupational Outlook Handbook: Learn about salaries for hundreds of occupations, the highest-paid jobs, the fastest-growing occupations, and the occupations that are expected to have the most new jobs.
Payscale: Get a free salary report based on whether you want information for your current role or you are evaluating a job offer, your job title, skills, education, and location.
Salary.com: In addition to providing a free personalized salary report, you can browse jobs by industry, income, and other factors.
ZipRecruiter: Search by job title, keyword, and location to get salary estimates. You can also review related job ads.
7. Tap Your Connections
If you have connections at a company you’d love to work for, don’t be afraid to ask them about salary for positions you’re interested in. Even if they can’t disclose specifics, they may be able to give you a general idea of what a job pays.
Check your LinkedIn network, college alumni network, professional contacts, and your friends and family to see if anyone can assist.
Calculate Take-Home Pay and Overtime
Once you’ve estimated what you could be earning, it can be helpful to figure out the bottom line. If you were to earn an hourly wage of $18, for example, or an annual salary of $50,000, how much would your net pay be? How about overtime pay if you’re paid on an hourly basis?
There are free tools you can use to calculate the bottom line and how much extra you’ll earn if you get overtime:
Use these online paycheck calculators to estimate how much your take-home pay will be. They are free, simple, and easy to use. Enter a salary or an hourly wage, and the tool will let you know how much you’ll take home in your paycheck.
Estimate your potential overtime (OT) earnings with these online overtime calculators. Enter the regular rate of pay and, if you know it, an estimate of the extra hours you’ll work to get your hourly OT rate and wages.